18 Hopping Hill Gardens, Duston, NORTHAMPTON, NN5 6PF
The mildly eccentric pub signage reflects the 'hopping' element; as it's hard to explain, a visit will clarify. Having seen, enter the bar, where several national real ales accompany Saxby's cider, made on a local farm, and around 11 wines by the glass. For her modern British dishes, head chef Jennie Bowmaker hand-picks her suppliers, so knows how her meats were reared, her fish caught, and her vegetables grown. The result: honey and sesame roasted heritage carrots, blue cheese, chargrilled pear, chicory, rocket, smoked walnuts, pickled grapes and pomegranate mollasses, and that's just a starter! Main dishes could include slow-braised beef shortrib, sautéed leeks with wholegrain mustard, roasted garlic mashed potato, crispy shallots and green peppercorn jus; or a more prosaic but no less tasty, maple ham, egg and chips. Sandwiches, omelettes and salads are also available.