Dining out: The Snooty Fox, Lowick
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In my 30 years on this planet I’ve eaten a lot of Sunday roasts. Some have been terrible (not yours, mum), some have been just okay and some have been pretty decent.
None have been mind-blowing – until now.
I took my wife and young daughter to The Snooty Fox in Lowick expecting it to be good – it was crowned dining venue of the year at Northamptonshire’s food and drink awards after all. What I didn’t expect was to be served arguably the best roast I have ever had.
We arrived just after midday to find the car park already busy and many already tucking in. It’s the first time we’d been to the Main Street pub since it was re-opened by the Greedy Gordons group a year ago.
Owners Richard Gordon and Sonya Harvey have done a brilliant job in retaining its rustic features such as beams and wooden floors, while giving it a bit of a modern touch with its mirrors and lighting, and it feels very welcoming.
Our waiter showed us to our table and ran us through the different menu options before taking our drinks orders. The gastropub has a beer wall with multiple taps – too many for someone as indecisive as me to choose from – so I asked the waiter for his recommendation. The pint from Digfield Ales, in nearby Barnwell, was the perfect roast beverage.
We opted against the three-course set lunch, priced at £34.95, and skipped starters to dive straight into the main event. Starter options, for those interested, included chicken liver parfait, a smoked haddock scotch egg and a Northamptonshire blue cheese souffle.
The roast meat options were beef, pork or lamb, with a fish of the day – stone bass when we were there – and vegetarian dishes including a wild mushroom risotto.
I chose the beef and words cannot do the quality of the sirloin justice. It was a far cry from the tough slices you need a hacksaw for that we’ve all had in the past – a generous hunk of dry-aged, grass-fed meat which was perfectly pink and beautifully rested, sat on top of a little mound of rich, sticky braised beef.
My wife had the pork and it was incredibly tender and juicy, with a delicious sage and apricot stuffing and crackling that had a satisfying crunch but didn’t pose a risk of a large dentistry bill.
Both came with a roast carrot, Yorkshire pudding and a sharing cauliflower cheese that was like no other cauliflower cheese we had ever had, topped with a mustardy, mature cheddar rarebit.
There were also duck fat roast potatoes – which in our opinion were five minutes away from the perfect crisp – seasonal vegetables in a separate bowl and a delicious gravy.
Needless to say we couldn’t finish it all but magically found some space for dessert.
I opted for the sticky toffee pudding and had absolutely no regrets, with a light sponge drenched in a hot toffee sauce and topped with velvety ice cream and crunchy honeycomb.
My wife asked for just a scoop of raspberry sorbet – pulling the classic ‘I’ll say I’ll have a spoon of your dessert but actually eat half of it’ trick – and did have regrets as in hindsight she wanted her own sticky toffee portion.
Now, it’s impossible to review a meal without mentioning the price and there’s no getting away from it – The Snooty Fox is at the more expensive end.
Walk into most pubs and you can get a roast for £15 or less, which make the Lowick venue’s prices (£24.95 for the beef and £21.95 for the pork) appear steep from the outside, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis where cheaper options are appealing.
But is it worth it in our opinion? Absolutely. If you’re looking for a real treat, want to support a local venue and take delight in eating some of Northamptonshire’s best produce, we’d recommend giving The Snooty Fox a visit.