Jonny Mills, chef and owner of The Tame Hare, is one of those chefs I’ve been following on social media for a while now. Photos of vibrant and colourful dishes have always intrigued me so we finally made the journey down to Leamington Spa to try them out.
It’s a smart space. We’re seated next to the open pass and a bookcase filled with cookbooks which is nice. Framed menus from meals that have inspired Jonny hang on the wall. It’s subtle but stylish. The dining room may be quiet but there’s just one waitress, which could become tricky if they suddenly got rammed.
First off we’re given some particularly good homemade sourdough with butter in the shape of a hare which is a cute touch. The crust is chewy and moreish.
To start, I go for butter roasted duck hearts (£7) which come shrouded with shredded fennel and strips of apple. There are blueberries and toasted oats too which may sound a bit breakfasty but it all really works.
That’s the thing we find with the cooking here. Each dish has ingredients galore; think confit tomatoes and tomato jam, goats curd, black garlic and toast (£7) and pork loin, braised cheek, confit carrot, mustard and charred peach (£18). Every mouthful is different and intriguing – the dishes take you on a journey.
Our favourite was some chunks of single muscle beef rump (no? Me neither) and crispy cheek with roast onion and watercress sauce (£19). The cheek croquette contained soft, sweet, fatty meat encased in a crisp breadcrumb coating which was divine. It was just a sexy plate of food. And a sweet turnip fondant actually made me like turnip for once.
For pud, chocolate mousse with English cherries (£8) was a smorgasbord of textures and went down the Simon Rogan route of puddings – not too sweet. Lemon curd and jelly with iced bilberry mousse (£7.50) came with shards of crispy sourdough which, again, kept things on the savoury side.
The Tame Hare is the sort of restaurant that deserves to do really well. Our waitress, although rushed off her feet, was so sweet and passionate about the food she was serving which is always nice to see. In terms of food, the kitchen is taking risks which results in some really exciting dishes.
Would we go back? Yes.