Some pubs seem to be immune to the economic downturn and general belt tightening that is affecting many others.
If our visit was anything to go by, The Fox and Hounds, in Lower Harlestone, is one such place. My sister and her husband, Paul, joined Ade and I on a Saturday night and it was bursting at the seams with diners and drinkers.
Judging by how well the staff coped with the huge numbers of people, it was a situation they are very used to, and we were soon served with a pre-dinner drink before being shown to our table.
There was plenty to choose from on the menu, with a range of nibbles, starters, sharers, pizzas, pasta and an interesting selection of mains as well as a few specials.
While we were deciding on our meals, we shared a bowl of olives (£2.25) and some chilli nuts (£1.85), which were just enough to whet our appetites.
Paul and Wendy had been to The Fox and Hounds before and, knowing how much I like prawns, they recommended I start with the gambas garlic.
At £8.45 they are perhaps a bit expensive for a starter ,but I was served with a generous portion of gloriously juicy prawns, that had just enough garlic butter to complement but not overpower them, as well as some bread and a bowl of garlic mayonnaise.
Ade and Paul both opted for the lamb koftas (£6.95) which were nicely herby but perhaps not man-sized portions.
Wendy chose the mushroom brioche (£6.95) and was slightly disappointed, commenting that the bread was more like toast than brioche. She was also underwhelmed by her ribeye steak and chips (£17.95) and thought it wasn’t as tasty as some she had previously eaten. She also wished she had ordered a side dish of some sort to go with it as she wanted more vegetables to accompany the meal.
I went for the salmon fishcakes with dill, coarsegrain mustard and orange, fennel and rocket salad (£9.95). I’m not a huge fan of fennel but it combined beautifully with the rest of the salad and was a lovely fresh accompaniment.
Paul selected the pork belly braised in marmalade and Szechuan pepper with pomme puree and green beans (£13.95). He polished off his meal and enjoyed the meat, but said there wasn’t enough “crackle” in the crackling for his taste.
The undoubted star of the main courses was Ade’s duck breast (£18.95) from the list of specials. He was served a beautifully-cooked piece of duck served on a bed of beetroot risotto, a dish he said tasted as good as it looked.
Ending the meal on a high, Wendy chose the apple and blackcurrant crumble and custard (£5.25) while Ade decided to try the French lemon curd and almond sponge with Italian gelati (£5.45). They both enjoyed their desserts, however, the highlight of the meal was still undoubtedly that duck.
To sum up, The Fox and Hounds serves good, and some excellent, food.
We were also pleased to see that it has friendly staff and a really great atmosphere, so it is very easy to see why it is so popular to diners.
The Fox and Hounds
Northampton, NN7 4EW.
FOOD: Generally good, some very good
DISABLED ACCESS: Yes
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £132.20 (including wine and coffees)
Janet’s star rating: 8/10