Samuel Fox, Bradwell

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CHEFS HAVE LEFT THE SAMUEL FOX – BUT ALL IS NOT LOST AND I’LL BE TRYING THEIR NEW PLACE SOON!

I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new to try.  I have my favourites, but it’s always good to try and add a few to the list.  One good place to pick up the latest about the local restaurant scene is Twitter.  There are plenty of us food bloggers twittering about our latest foodie escapades and of course many of the restaurants themselves are on there doing some self-promotion.

But a few of these accounts are run by third party social media experts and the feel of the place doesn’t come through in the tweets.  For me, the best people to follow are those at the coal face (frying pan); the chefs.  And, if you manage to follow a Twitter loving chef you’ll get updates on any new menus and daily specials, along with pictures of their dishes to drool over.  And if you’re really lucky, you’ll follow a friendly chef who will happily answer questions regarding the ingredients and techniques they use.  Marvellous!
I only started to follow the chefs at Samuel Fox recently and it will have been their pictures that first caught my eye as both head chef Charlie and sous chef Adam like to share what they do.  And why not?  It is purely on the basis of these pictures that I developed an interest in this place.
A sudden change in plans meant that we were free one Saturday night.  I think Gav’d had enough of listening to me banging on about the Sam Fox and he suggested that we give it a try.
Although there were tales of ice on the roads chef Adam assured me that everything was clear around Bradwell and he was right.  It did take us about 40 minutes to drive there from town, but we were on main roads all the way so it was a nice and easy drive.
We entered through the pub and were welcomed by a friendly waitress who soon seated us in the restaurant section off to one side.  The restaurant is comfortable, homely, with soft carpet underfoot.  There were a few people in there, but it wasn’t packed out. 
We ordered drinks; a large sauvignon blanc for me and a half of Kelham Island Best and coke for Gav (he was driving).  My wine came in a big fat glass and I was told that they don’t mess about with the glasses here.  That’s always gotta be good to hear hasn’t it?  Puny glasses don’t cut it for me.  I like to swirl my wine, look for the legs and pretend I know what I’m doing.
Shortly after ordering, a selection of breads arrived along with some rather fancy butters, including a smoked butter which was served with its smoke in a clear glass dome.  For maximum effect this was lifted at the very last second.  It was a bit of fun and it got a bit of a ‘wow’ from Gav and I. 

Bread and Butter*

There was a sourdough bread and poppy seed bread and both tasted good and had good texture.  At this point I impressed Gav with the power that is Twitter as I explained that I’d watched the sourdough being made from its starter.  Butters were interesting, Gav wasn’t too keen on the smoked version, but I quite liked it.  There was a standard salted along with our favourite; a balsamic butter.

To start I went for the special of homemade black pudding with caramelised apple, apple and thyme chutney and apple reduction.  Again I’d seen this dish via Twitter and couldn’t really say no to it, and I am so glad I didn’t. 
It was a smart looking dish of slices of black pudding and apple garnished with chutney and apple reduction.  I didn’t really know where to start and ended up having to dismantle the dish in order to tuck in.  The apple was raw and deliciously crisp and the black pudding was tasty.  Of course the dish was based on a pretty obvious flavour combination but the caramelising of the apple meant that this was far from run of the mill stuff.  It really made the dish, adding to both the taste and texture of the components.  I thoroughly enjoyed.

Black Pudding*

Gav went for the rabbit steamed suet pudding with red cabbage and cauliflower puree.  He’s a big fan of rabbit and certainly wasn’t let down here.  He was served a mini suet pudding stuffed with beautifully tender rabbit.  Unfortunately that is about all I can say as I was far too busy enjoying my starter to care too much about his.  In fact each of us loved our own dishes so much we ate in silence and, once scoffed, proceeded to argue about whose dish had been the best. 



Rabbit*

Phew!  I had been a little concerned that I’d built this place up too much, that I would be severely disappointed and had just set myself up for a fall (wasting my time and money on bad meals really upsets me).  Given the quality of the starters, I knew I needn’t have worried.

For mains, we both went for lighter options.  I had red mullet fillets served with wild mushroom and chestnuts ravioli and kale.  There were two nice sized fillets and they were perfectly cooked, to the point that they just fell apart at any touch from my fork.  The mushrooms were wild, as promised, and there was also a good pile of kale.  The ravioli was a nice touch and as soon as I opened up the parcel of pasta the deeply delicious stench of mushroom hit me.  I personally wasn’t bothered about the chestnuts, but that’s just because I don’t really like them.
Mullet
The dish was light, but filling; just what I was after.  Gav went one step further than me and chose the vegetarian option!  Admittedly, the twice baked aubergine soufflé with lentils, spinach and a 3 cheese and red pepper spring roll did sound interesting, but with all the delicious meat and fish dishes on the menu there is no way that I would have picked it.
Having said that, it looked pretty impressive and the soufflé was perfectly formed and light and fluffy.  The lentils had been cooked in spices and I think I remember there being cumin in there.  The spring roll was the absolute highlight although the cheese with sweet pepper filling meant that it was a far cry from anything you would find in the local Chinese restaurant.

Aubergine

We’d ordered sides of chips and cauliflower cheese too.  They really weren’t needed, but I’m glad we did as the chips were spot on.  Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside; I thought they deserved a photo too….

Purely for the purpose of the blog (does anyone believe me when I say that?), we had desserts.  I went for the mulled pear with a honey and almond cone.  It was a light way to round off the meal and, in all fairness, I probably convinced myself that it was actually good for me.  The cone was a good reminder of the fact that this was a dessert as it was filled with a flavoured cream. 
Pear*
Gav definitely got the better deal.  His lemon meringue with white chocolate custard and raspberry sorbet was amazing.  He had a ball of meringue stuffed with a lemon filling.  He claims it wasn’t lemony enough for him, but I thought it was fine.  In all, I was quite jealous and it might be one that I will try next time.

Lemon

And yes, there will be a next time.  The food was excellent; good flavour combinations and nothing too wacky.  This place has style AND substance and I would go as far to say that it’s easily in my top 20 meals.  Ever. 

Reading the menu, there is not one dish I would turn my nose up to (bar the veggie main that it).  Duck, mackerel, goats cheese, rabbit, venison, lamb, beef and rib-eye steak are all on there and each one is shouting out to me!  And I know that they’ll be good too; A) because I liked the look of every other dish I saw floating past me that night and B) because every other table audibly praised their food.

It wasn’t just the food that deserved our praise, the service was equally as good.  The waitresses were friendly and knowledgeable (I overheard one explain how the chefs cooked the lamb dish) and there had been just the right amount of time between courses.  We felt looked after, which is how I always want to feel when I’m paying good money (well, any money really) to eat out.
The bill came to about £75 and that included a couple of glasses of wine, a half of bitter, a coke, a dessert wine and an espresso.  So it’s not cheap, but it’s well priced given the quality of the food.
*Thanks Adam for letting me use some of his pictures.
Have you been?  Will you go?  Let me know what you think here….
Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Samuel Fox, Bradwell

  1. Glad you liked it – I went there for lunch with a friend who lives locally and was blown away by the food. Keep meaning to go back but haven't as yet. Your review makes me think it's about time I did so

  2. I think £75 for your meal and drinks is virtually unbelievable given the quality of the food – it looks amazing I can't believe I've missed it and will be heading there pronto!!

  3. Anonymous – I hope you do manage to go back. It's so easy to find a good restaurant and then, for some reason or another, not venture back.

    Natalie & Lorna – I would happily pay £75 for that meal again and I've certainly paid more for food of a lower standard!! Do go. You'll love it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s