The Tame Hare, Leamington Spa

We had a cracking meal at The Tame Hare back in 2016, so much so we didn’t think twice about making the two and a bit hour drive from London for a Sunday roast. Chef and owner Jonny Mills has been a friend for a while now and other than being a bloomin’ nice bloke, he’s a brilliant, exciting chef too.

Sitting on the high street in Leamington Spa, there’s a real neighbourhood vibe about the place. The long narrow dining room has an open kitchen at one end and the walls are covered in framed menus from various restaurants. It’s a proper family affair; we’re served by Jonny’s Dad, who talks of his son’s food with passion and pride.

The menu is 2 courses for £20 or 3 for £30. I start with chicken kiev, which is the poshest kiev I’m yet to come across. The crisp fried chick has moist flesh and the wild garlic mayo (foraged, naturally) is big and bold cutting through the fat.

‘Mackerel, escabeche, lettuce, grapefruit, dashi’ is a lovely blend of flavours. Bitter grapefruit, umami-rich dashi and fresh lettuce against the oily fish is very clever indeed.

The main event is a hearty roast. My rump of Aberdeen Angus beef is a glorious shade of pink and it’s tender with it. A fat Yorkie mops up the masses of gravy perfectly. Normally, I prefer the gravy in a separate jug but there’s so much here I’m not fussed. Potatoes, cooked in duck fat, are crisp and well seasoned while the greens are buttery.

A special shout out goes to the cauliflower cheese, with all the crusty, crunchy, gooey, cheesy bits you dream of.

My gentleman companion goes for the pork, which is the slow cooked shoulder, like pulled pork, as opposed to slices of the meat. It makes for a great alternative and the flavour is fab. A sweet and sharp apple and cider purée works well and there’s a nice slab of crackling too. Again, masses of gravy which is great.

Portions are massive so we share lemon curd, lemon jelly and lemon granité which is super light and refreshing – the perfect palate cleanser which is brought alive by the addition of pink peppercorns. They add a subtle and unexpected heat which is great.

It’s surprisingly hard to get a decent roast in restaurants these days, but this was as close to perfection as you can get. We waddle out of The Tame Hare for a stroll around nearby Jephson Gardens which, all in all, makes for a lovely day out.

Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant