Restaurant Listings

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Some restaurants are purpose-built, designer-driven, atmosphere- led, while others just make do with what they've got, happy to live with the contradiction between looks and function. Indeed, around the country this is the norm. Designers rarely stray outside cities, which makes eating in the country so much more refreshing. Behind the most unlikely exteriors lies some very sharp cooking.


The Old Manor House, 21 Palmerston Street, Romsey, Hampshire (01794-517353) is a well-preserved Tudor building in the middle of town, with wooden beams and a big log fire. If it sounds rather staid and English, then given a menu with grilled Dover sole on the bone, and half a pheasant with a light mustard sauce, one could be forgiven for falling asleep in the soup. But wait a mo', the soup is pasta e fagioli. Mauro Bregoli is the sort of Italian who picks his own mushrooms and preserves them, and who makes not only his own pasta, but his own sticky cotechino sausage which he serves with lentils. He also makes gnocchi, tiramisu, zuppa inglese, and an unusual creme brulee with fennel and herbs (and yes, it works). Intelligent service backs it all up, and although the excellent wine list makes a thing of first-growth claret, it also has some affordable Italians. Two-course set lunch pounds 13.50, three-course lunch and dinner pounds 17.50. A la carte pounds 25-30, excluding wine. Lunch Tues-Sun, 12-2; dinner Tues-Sat, 7- 9.30


Quince and Medlar, 13 Castlegate, Cockermouth, Cumbria (01900-823579) could be a small-time bank from outside, so plain and undistinguished does it appear. Colin and Louisa le Voi serve vegetarian food in a couple of net-curtained Victorian rooms, and the style is half-way between the old school of nut roasts and the modern Mediterranean vogue. Perhaps to distract attention from the lack of meat, an awful lot of things happen in a dish, but, despite a rather earnest feel, the food avoids the stodgy end of the spectrum. About pounds 15 without wine. Open Tues-Sat, from 7 pm. Last orders 9.30


Beer drinkers may know the village of Masham near Ripon as the home of Theakston's Old Peculiar and the breakaway Black Sheep ale; a shop in the square even sells Black Sheep-flavoured fudge. A hundred yards away in a slightly converted shop - it could probably revert back given 24 hours' notice - is Floodlite, 7 Silver Street, Masham, North Yorkshire (01765-689000). A three-course lunch for pounds 10.50 may sound too cheap to be serious, but the cooking is professional and assured, with flavour paramount. Baked sardines, beef with green peppercorns, and hazelnut flan are the sort of things that Charles and Christine Flood serve up. Game is a favourite in season and fish is varied by the day, but whatever the food, it tastes natural. Lunch Fri-Sun, 12-2; dinner Tues-Sun, from 7pm