Reviewed by Kate Chaundy
We were given the opportunity to visit the newly refurbished Knife and Cleaver restaurant in the village of Houghton Conquest, just outside of Bedford. Recently refurbished, with nine individually designed comfortable bedrooms also on offer, we were keen to head along to try out the new menu.
With two menus to choose from; an a la carte and a specials menu, we were spoilt for choice on what to go for – everything really did look very appetising. For starters, we chose the ham hock and mushroom terrine and the sweet potato gnocchi with bacon crisps and smoked garlic puree – both beautifully presented and an array of colours and textures more aligned with a fine dining restaurant than a village pub. Both portions were just right – enough to tease the palette without running the risk of being too filling.
For mains we tried the Taste of English pork – tenderloin, pulled shoulder, black pudding croquettes, cider braised turnip, quince puree and Jerusalem artichoke crisps, again off the special menu. Not what we were expecting – again more an artistic offering than traditional pub grub but delicious all the same. We would recommend adding a vegetable side dish for variation. However, the steak and London stout pie, root vegetable mash, kale and gravy was exactly as expected and provided the warming, delicious village pub meal that we know and love. Both beautifully presented and full of flavour. It certainly well down well with the complimenting Cabernet Sauvignon.
We couldn’t leave without trying out a couple of the mouth-watering desserts on offer; the Bitter Chocolate Tart with Orange Chantilly and Cocoa Tuile which was more than enough for one person, and the Autumn Berry and Pear Eton Mess, which was deconstructed on the plate for a more modern variation than the traditional. The flavours were fantastic and a refreshing alternative to the heavier chocolate option.
The restaurant was quite empty which was a shame as the refurbishment is beautifully designed with striking mustard yellow tiling with trendy industrial lighting – but still keeping the cosy, relaxed pub restaurant environment. If you’re looking for somewhere new to try, pop along to test out the new menu and tweet us with how you get on.
Book your reservation at theknifeandcleaver.com | Tel: 01234 930789
The Grove, Houghton Conquest MK45 3LA