It seems like yesterday that 185 Watling Street opened in Towcester on, you guessed it, Watling Street...
I am a regular visitor who has always enjoyed coming here for cocktails on the weekend, as they do EPIC (see what I did there?) cocktails and their staff is always pleasant and welcoming.
185 Watling Street is part of the Epic & Heroic Pubs collection. But what makes 185 stand out, in my opinion, compared to the other pubs in Towcester, is their food... something which Josh and I would soon discover as we came to dine there for date night to try their new summer menu...
We were fortunate to walk down to 185 Watling Street, meaning we could order ourselves a drink to start off with. Obviously, I had to go for a Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin and Tonic! As soon as we ordered, we were greeted by Alexa, the General Manager of 185 Watling Street who was full of smiles and took us to our perfectly located seats.
Our seats offered the best of both worlds, on the far end of the restaurant situated inside, but with the french doors wide open so we could enjoy the sunshine and breeze coming in. This gave us the ultimate summer feeling.
Alexa came over to chat with us and go through the new summer menu with us, all of which looked and sounded fantastic. Then, our waitress came over and read out the specials to us - giving us even more option to choose from!
Alexa and all the staff were incredibly accommodating, whilst not being too intrusive and gave us plenty of time to decide what we wanted as we enjoyed the view of their picturesque summer garden.
But the outside is not the only thing that captures 185's personality. The inside offers a wide airy bar area with plenty of character, along with other dining rooms which feature distinctive and unique decor from old vintage pictures to pretty chandeliers and an array of comfortable seating. So whether you're looking to enjoy the sunshine in their pub garden, or want to shelter from it, you'll find plenty of places to sit.
Anyways, back to the food!
Deciding what to eat is always a task for me. And for Josh!
But eventually, we decided to skip the pub tapas, which we can't deny still looked intriguing and delicious offering things like Olives, Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Ciabatta and even Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates and go straight to starters and mains.
Service was pretty swift and we didn't feel like we were waiting for ages, which was good because we were starving!
Our starters came out and looked colourful and appetising. My starter was one of that day's specials and was a Warm Ham Hock Salad with a poached egg on top. Although the dish felt a little oily near the end, the dish was simple, delicate and refreshing, making it the perfect summer starter!
Josh went for the Honey Mustard Smoked Chicken and Ham Hock Terrine, which was presented nicely and Josh said he really enjoyed it as it was just enough to wet his appetite ahead of the main course...
As our Starters were being taken away, we decided to have a browse at their wine list, as we felt we wanted to pair our main courses with a summer white wine.
There really wasn't much competition as to what wine we would choose, as the Gabbino Promessa Pinot Grigio stood out for us as a soft but zesty white wine from Italy (ahead of our trip to Rome, obviously) that would be the perfect accompaniment for both of our main courses.
It didn't disappoint.
It was refreshing, light and full of sweet fruity flavours which was far too easy to drink!
Our main courses arrived with plenty of time between our starters and my eyes popped at the sight of my very appealing main course.
I went for the Mojito Marinated Chicken Breast with Garlic New Potatoes, Mozzarella Stuffed Courgette and Roast Tomato Sauce that covered the plate meaning I had plenty to wipe my plate up with.
I don't mean to over exaggerate, but the chicken was probably the best chicken I have ever eaten in a restaurant. My knife hardly had to cut through, as it instantly fell off the bone and just melted inside my mouth. I'm honestly drooling just thinking about it now.
I learned afterward that the chicken was marinated for 24 hours in the Mojito mix to ensure the rum could infuse with the meat, break down the proteins, thus ensuring it's tenderness when cooked and served.
Josh's main was a hearty Garden Pea and Sunblushed Tomato Tagliatelle with Watercress and Almond Pesto, Shaved Italian Hard Cheese and optional Grilled Chicken. I tried a mouthful and all the flavours came together really nicely, with the sweet tomatoes, the added protein from the chicken and an overall flavour explosion.
After our mains, we were feeling satisfied with what we had been presented and we could have easily walked away feeling happy with just our starter and mains.
Afterwards, Alexa and our waitress tried to tempt us to an after-dinner cocktail, but both of us felt satisfied and full from everything we had been presented. We were stuffed!
We couldn't have picked a better night to come to 185 for our date night. Everything was fantastic from the moment we walked in, to the moment we said goodbye, service was prompt and friendly, which made us feel like we were one of their friends. Plus, we didn't feel rushed to leave and I believe all the dishes presented on the menu definitely had a summer vibe to them being lighter and going towards more healthier options. As let's face it, in the summer, especially in this heatwave, no one wants to eat heavy food!
Overall, I would strongly recommend visiting 185 Watling Street to enjoy a summer cocktail at the very least in their garden in the sunshine and perhaps if you're peckish and don't fancy something that's too heavy, I highly recommend trying something from their summer menu.
Since our visit, we visited again over the weekend where we enjoyed a Pimms and a Peroni in the garden and enjoyed a lovely summer lunch consisting of their Roast Pork Stuffed Roll with Apple Sauce and their Crispy Halloumi, Watermelon and Avocado salad - so it just goes to show that we love this place and it's now a firm favourite of ours for food.
Our starters ranged from £7.00 - £7.25, mains from £12.75 - £15.50 and desserts from £6.75 - £7.00.
As I mentioned before, I have been a firm visitor of 185 being drawn to their extensive cocktail menu, but now I am glad I have another reason to visit...
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