Before Kushi-Ya, Tom used to work at The Railway in Lowdham. I ‘ve never actually eaten there but I have heard good things and they’ve picked up several awards in the last few years including Best Sunday Lunch Venue at the Nottingham Restaurant and Bar Awards. So when Tom suggested we go to the soft opening of their new pub The Radcliffe in Radcliffe-on-Trent I jumped at the chance.
Now I want to apologise in advance for the photography in this blog, it doesn’t really do anything justice. Although the lower level lighting makes a great atmosphere it didn’t do anything to help the camera on my phone, especially when coupled with the gloomy weather today.
I hadn’t ever visited this pub in it’s previous life when it was the New Trent but from all accounts it was pretty run down and has undergone a £450,000 facelift. The interior is super cool with the kind of styling I’ve seen quite a few new places aim for but never really quite get right. Well The Radcliffe nails it, the riverside theme that runs throughout the pub’s decor makes you feel more like you’re at some swanky boating club than in the middle of a village in the rainy midlands.
Mark (one of the owners) came over during our visit and explained that in contrast to The Railway where they were taking down walls to create atmosphere, here they had had to put them in to remove the boxey feel of the layout. The result is plenty of sectioned areas and booths that give a sense of privacy whilst maintaining an atmosphere, again in my opinion they have got it just right. When Margot started shouting half an hour into our meal I didn’t feel embarrassed or over looked and likewise she didn’t seem to be disturbing others (sorry if I’m wrong!).
I had a bit of a snoop round but didn’t want to be disturbing people so only grabbed a few photographs between people leaving and new diners entering. One of the stand out features in the restaurant was the pass table with a direct view into the kitchen via the open pass.
There’s also a really nice outdoor area but with today’s weather it was hard to capture just how nice it is. It’s a shame it wasn’t open in summer i.e. last week , but who knows we might get another summer at some point.
Before we looked at the menu we had talked about going all out and having three courses but once we saw it there was no doubt!
The Sunday menu includes roast dinners, so that was the mains sorted, but there were other options. I was informed by the manager that in the week there will also be set lunch and early evening menus to accompany the main menu.
I was pleasantly surprised with the starters when they came out. For just over £6 I wasn’t really expecting the level of presentation and it felt like fine dining. I have to confess I normally prefer a pate over a terrine but it was delicious and not too filling as can sometimes happen when starters include bread. I stole a bit of Tom’s Brie as well which was equally yum.
The roasts were spot on, just enough to feel like a hearty Sunday meal but not too much meaning you could still have a pudding and make it home before falling to sleep. Again presentation was spot on and each element of it was cooked just to my liking including the beef which was cooked as I requested. For around £15 again I think you get real value for money.
Pudding, which is my favourite course was delicious! A proper wedge of sticky toffee pudding that wasn’t too dense with a lovely caramel sauce. They were also kind enough to swap my ice cream with a vegan option so baby could have a tiny bit.
Note: I’m still off drink as I’m breastfeeding so just had a Rose Lemonade but there is an extensive drinks menu. I’ll link once I find it online.
How well places cater for children has obviously become more important to me this year so I wanted to take the time to go into a bit of detail.
The pub is family friendly and I knew we were onto a winner as soon as I saw the Ikea high chairs. Those wooden ones may look great but they’re terrible when you have a small baby and Margot wont stay in for one long, give me a good old Antilop any day.
We don’t normally order separately for Margot and instead feed her from our plates when we go out. This time though we wanted to order whatever we wanted so got Margot her own diner of a chicken Sunday Roast.
It was a really big portion for the price (£4.95) and would be fine for much older children but the price also meant that I didn’t feel really bothered that she didn’t manage it all (even though she had a good go!). There were also options of kid’s classics, like fish fingers and chicken nuggets, all homemade, all under a fiver.
The staff were really helpful and brought out Margot’s dinner with our starters and I was pleased that her food was warm but not red hot so I could serve it almost straight away. If you have a baby like mine that waiting time can quickly escalate into a full melt down and you end up shoving snacks at them and then the dinner gets left, so happy to report that didn’t happen. They also really kindly offered to clean up Margot’s plate (which we bought with us) after she had finished which meant I didn’t have to pack a dirty plate or do any washing when I got home!
Although she’s a bit young there were activities in the menu to keep the little ones entertained and there is also small play area in the outdoor section. There’s a baby changing table in the disabled toilet and the women’s and men’s toilet cubicles were really spacious if you need to take a toddler in with you.
In all it was a great afternoon and we will definitely be back, probably with the extended family in tow. I reckon another Best Sunday Lunch Award is on the horizon…