16th July 2019

A BRAND NEW look for the Fox & Hounds, Harlestone

[AD - Gifted] I was invited to the preview night for the Fox & Hounds in exchange for an honest review.

The Fox and Hounds has undergone a massive luxurious transformation which includes a brand-new menu and total makeover and I was kindly invited to go and see this new country pub experience for myself along with my family - which was especially nice as it was 2 days before my 25th birthday, marking it as a very special pre-birthday meal. 

The pub group Mitchells and Butler, who own Premium Country Pubs across the country are behind the transformation of The Fox and Hounds, who want to deliver a newly refurbed and unique pub for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Amen to that! 

Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates

Once upon a time, the Fox and Hounds used to be a place I’d go to regularly for lunch-time and after work drinks when working in Digital Marketing. Fun fact: I also went here once on a Tinder date (which obviously didn’t work out) I always remember the pub being nice, but that was it. Just another nice pub situated in the country that served nice food and had nice decor…

Now it’s had it’s makeover and offers a fully versatile and scrumptious menu, it is definitely more than ‘just nice’ and quite honestly, the Fox and Hounds has managed to turn the heads of everyone who has stepped in for the first time; regardless of whether they have been before or not, for all the right reasons… 

Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates

The preview night

On the preview night, the team pulled out all the bells and whistles to ensure their preview night was a success. From a fully functioning gin station with every garnish, gin and tonic you could think of, to a very instagrammable flower wall, you knew the staff were wanting to leave a very lasting impression on all of us. 

We were offered a selection of canapes upon arrival and although we had a 7:30pm booking for our table, the staff reassured us that we could take as much time as we wanted, to fully settle in and ensure we had a good look around the pub and restaurant, making the first impression a very relaxed one. 

The manager greeted us and talked us through some of the changes as we anticipated for what was going to be a night to remember… 

Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates
Fox & Hounds | Nicole Navigates

The makeover

The Fox and Hounds could easily be missed, if passing through the village of Harlestone, but I can assure you, it’s certainly not something you should miss, should you ever be passing by and are seeking for your next country pub dinner. With an easily accessible car park on the right hand side and a wide open pub garden at the front, there is no excuse not to visit now. 

As mentioned, the whole reason behind the preview event for The Fox and Hounds was so that they could show off their massive renovation. Those who were familiar with the previous Fox and Hounds, will remember it had a very scandanavian vibe, which although mentioned as ‘nice’, lacked individuality and character. 

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Now the Fox and Hounds has had it’s uplift, it has literally uplifted the whole pub to become one of the most charismatic pubs I’ve visited. 

Every room had a different story to tell as we wandered around; there was not one room the same, which means The Fox and Hounds can offer a different scene and vibe for everyone that walks in; whether you’re out for a family dinner, a spot of Brunch, a romantic date night and much more. 

The glam golden and purple colours of the soft interior seating, mixed with the dark walnut table tops, floral sofas and interesting antiques displayed in the front lobby, which really does make the perfect first impression. 

An artistic choice of Old English black and white flooring with earthy green and floral wallpaper in the hallways, to a jungle-esque, teal colour palette in the conservatory seating area with plant vines hanging across the ceiling - there’s nothing that doesn’t capture your eye here. There’s even a beautifully vintage log fire, which will be perfect when it comes to capturing the cosiness of the restaurant come winter. 

Overall, the interior really impressed me and my family - in fact, I would go as far as saying it’s #interiorgoals. Plus, it’s still dog-friendly! Bonus! 

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The new menu

Not only have the Fox and Hounds come back with a bang with new interior, but they have a newly improved menu too which will make you glance for hours deciding what to have. Literally. The menu was jam-packed with a huge variety, from selections whilst you ponder the menu, sharing platters, Western Country Steaks finished with a sauce of choice, to mouth-watering desserts which we couldn’t WAIT to try! 

The menus themselves were well-presented and easy to navigate and the waitress’ were happy to answer any questions we had about it. The Fox and Hounds have thought of everything which will appeal to everyone and for any occasion. 

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The wine menu was extensive too and the staff at the Fox and Hounds were very happy to let myself and my family know of the best wine choices to go with our meals. We opted for a Pinot Grigio White Wine, which suited the majority of our mains we chose. 

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you will be pleased to know that there is a dedicated menu filled with veggie and vegan choices, rather than just once section of the menu. 

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Starters

My family and I chose a variety of starters, so we could each have a nibble of each others and also they know the importance of having different dishes for the purpose of reviewing!

On the starters menu, you could opt for a single starter, or there was the option of a sharing starter which upon first glance, looked hefty! But we all decided to get individual starters so we could all try each others - family goals!

My dad went for a very well presented Seared Wild Atlantic Scallops, whilst my brother went for the Tempura Squid with preserved lemon aioli and furikake which they both seemed to enjoy (you can always tell when they go quiet!)

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My starter was a very mouth-watering Creamy Paris Brown and Oyster Mushrooms with Blacksticks Blue on a toasted English muffin. I love nothing more than a big mushroom and it was filled with all the rich and gooey blue cheese you could want - it was great for dipping in with some of the English muffin afterwards, although was slightly chewy, was delicious! 

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My mum went for the Panko-Crusted Fried Brie, with Sloe gin chutney which was what I almost went for, but my mum let me have a bite - I would happily choose this starter next time as the Sloe Gin was a taste explosion that really gave me a boozy kick! Though I can’t deny the brie was gooey and crispy in all the right places.

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Mains

Our mains came out around 20 minutes after we had finished up our starters,. which for us, was plenty of time to let our starters go down and for us to have a catch up - now I've moved out, family time is extra important.

Once they arrived, our waitress was very kind in asking if we required anything else - there is nothing worse than when you get presented with your mains and don't get asked if you'd like anything else. So big thumbs up there!

I’ll be honest, as I always try to be, my dish wasn’t exactly the most extravagant of the mains that we chose, but it was a simple and effective dish that ended up being really tasty, comfort food. A Rotisserie Chicken in Chimichurri (an italian styled herb coating) with fries, garlic confit and lemon aioli. 

I loved how the chicken was covered in cooked lemons, to add that zesty flavour to the chicken which really complemented well with the herbs and spices. The chicken was cooked to the right texture, practically falling off the bone when cut and the chips were really crispy and you could tell that they were homemade chips!

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My dad went for one of the Western Steaks, ribeye steak cooked medium rare, with a side of home cooked chips and garnish. My dad found it the most difficult deciding what sauce to go with it, but eventually, he went for the beef-dripping gravy which I even had a taste of and it was incredibly rich, juicy and could imagine it would only heighten the taste of the steak - my dad very much enjoyed it!

My brother went for the Seared Salmon Fillet with pan-fried samphire, broccoli, baby spinach, confit tomatoes and lemon olive oil. He commented how he wished the skin was a bit crispier, but this was more of a personal preference than a criticism, but also said how moist and succulent it was.

Finally, my mum went for the Rotisserie Sticky Glazed Pork Belly, which is something my mum wouldn’t normally have, but she commented how it was stunning in taste, presentation and filled her nose with rich scents - she was absolutely stuffed afterwards!

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Desserts

By this point, I was stuffed so I was looking for a dessert that would fill my sweet tooth, without overdoing it.

This is when I tried my very first Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream Affogato, which is an Italian speciality coffee. Although I found myself wide awake for the rest of the evening and it wasn’t exactly the most picturesque dessert, the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream mixed with the sharp espresso taste was a lovely combination.

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My mum chose to have a mini pud with an after-dinner cocktail, which is one of the options should you not want a big ol’ dessert and are too full. My mum went for a Chocolate Brownie with a glass of port, which she commented that it ended the experience nicely for her. 

As for my brother, despite eating all of our leftovers as well as his main dish, he went for one of the biggest desserts on the menu; a Sticky Toffee Pudding, which you really can’t go wrong with as it’s a classic. Luckily (and not so surprisingly, he ate the lot!) 

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Why you need to visit The Fox and Hounds

If what I have talked about already hasn’t entices you to go, here are a few more reasons you should:

  • Being situated in a cosy village, not only do you find yourself getting away from the hustle and bustle, but you’re actually really close to some of Northamptonshire’s top spots, from Althorp House, to Harpole Strawberry picking and you’re near the villages of Nobottle and Duston; so you could easily make a day of it.
  • The staff were incredibly attentive and informative. There was no question asked that wasn’t either answered or answered after informing us that they would ask someone else. The staff never came across as being fake, but were just down to earth, lovely people who were happy to help.
  • The food is all homemade and tries to stay true to being locally sourced as possible. When I asked on a few occasions on where some of the ingredients were based, 90% of the time, a lot of it was sourced from local suppliers, which is always something I like to hear.
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Overall, the Fox and Hounds is defintley for everyone and anyone who is looking for a bit of luxury in their life, but within a laid-back, relaxing environment.

The food is tasty, the staff are a joy to be served by and the refurb will leave you with foodie memories to treasure for a long time, whether you visit for after work drinks, or you're coming for a celebration.

The Fox and Hounds provide a genuine, honest service and I can't wait to come again. If you're in Northamptonshire or you're from outside and fancy venturing out for a lovely chilled experience, get yourselves here asap!

Will you be visiting The Fox and Hounds? It's officially open for business!

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One response to “A BRAND NEW look for the Fox & Hounds, Harlestone”

  1. Chloe says:

    It’s looks like a gorgeous refurbishment, but I don’t think the menu does it justice. They used to have some really delicious fish dishes which seem to have disappeared!

    Life & Loves: A Foodie Blog

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