It’s not all about London, y’all…
A couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to Leamington Spa to see some friends (hi, Mike!). We had a fab time playing games – girls are infinitely better at Articulate, it turns out – drinking lots of wine, and stuffing our faces. There were several face-stuffing sessions, but the one I thought I’d share was our trip to The Tame Hare. What a great find.
It’s a neighbourhood-style space, all fresh and clean and bright, with an open kitchen at the back, a couple of tables for two and four, and great big banquet setups for groups. The lights are chrome and the bathrooms give good tiles, so decor-wise I was pretty much sold at first sight.
The evening menu is pretty straightforward and focuses on British seasonal food, breaking its offering down into four different star ingredients per course.
To get us started we had warm crusty bread, slathered with a generous amount of butter (shaped like a rabbit!), pork head and cheek terrine – which contrasted beautifully with the tart pickled pineapple and strong, crumbly black pudding it came with – vegetable salad with goat’s cheese mousse and radishes, and smoked haddock, leek and potato soup with CAVIAR. The Tame Hare’s accompaniments are pretty stellar, and the portion sizes spot on.
For my main course, I plumped for the beef – predictable, I know – as did our two friends. Served rather pink and supremely juicy, it was just how I like my steak and the thick cut really made it feel like a hearty meal rather than something to swirl sauces and puree around. It was the deep-fried ox cheek that stole the show for me, though. Inside, the meat was succulent and rich, shredded and compacted, and encased in a light crispy breadcrumb coat. A bed of diced mushrooms and a few florets of cheesy cauliflower broke up the meatiness of the main components and the unctuous sauce (more of that, please!), but the random slithers of raw mushroom were a bit weird.
Alex went for the chicken – which neither of us usually would since chicken features so often on our own weekly roster – and was glad he did. The giant breast and leg were both crisp and moreish, delivered on a mini mountain of beans laced with ample tarragon. I think this was probably the most filling of the mains.
With another bottle of wine to drink, it seemed only right to indulge in dessert. I had malted milk parfait with puff pastry, and wait for it, PARSNIP. Who knew? I don’t think I would have immediately guessed the rooty veg was involved if I didn’t already know. It was super sweet and quite caramel-y, and served as a great base for the parfait. Other options included cheese with a with a spiced Eccles cake and a deliciously decadent dollop of chocolate and muscovado cheesecake wrapped in rhubarb.
For four people – enjoying 3 courses each and sharing 2 bottles of wine – you’ll pay around £200, which we were pretty happy with. If you find yourself in lovely Leamington Spa, I strongly suggest you book a table at The Tame Hare. They do lunch and a rather tempting Tasting Menu too.
The Tame Hare, 97 Warwick St, Leamington Spa CV32 4RJ