Hotel of the week: The Peacock Inn, Leicestershire


Where is it?In the Vale of Belvoir, just off the A52 between Nottingham and Grantham. Address: the Peacock Inn, Church Corner, Main Street, Redmile, Leicestershire NG13 OGA (tel: 01949 842554; fax: 01949 843746; e-mail: peacock@pernickety.co.uk).

Where is it?In the Vale of Belvoir, just off the A52 between Nottingham and Grantham. Address: the Peacock Inn, Church Corner, Main Street, Redmile, Leicestershire NG13 OGA (tel: 01949 842554; fax: 01949 843746; e-mail: peacock@pernickety.co.uk).

What's it like?A country inn built in the traditional honey-coloured limestone of the East Midlands. It has beamed ceilings, log fires, cosy bars and a dining room with Ionic columns, raffia chairs and marble table tops. The chimes of the church clock opposite the beer garden complete the village scene.

Ambience?An unusual mixture of rustic in the pub and discreet charm in the dining room. Drinkers can enter a monthly competition for a free meal for two by leaving their business cards in an ice bucket at the bar. Eating in the bar is probably the more relaxed option.

Service?Left a bit to be desired, to be honest. A callow youth said only one port was available from the list of six on offer, then returned to say they were all available. The newspaper I'd ordered failed to appear outside the bedroom or at the breakfast table. Obviously, something was going on. All was revealed the following week: owners, Pernickety, had gone into receivership and the famed Peacock's feathers had been ruffled. Obviously Pernickety were not pernickety enough. It remains for someone with the odd £700,000 to return it to its former glory of two years ago. It deserves it: it's hard to imagine a better country hideaway.

Rooms?Ten, all named after animals. We had the Rabbit room and burrowed sleepily into the sumptuous bed. The beams were low - 5ft 4in from the ground. I hit my head once and developed a stoop. Tasteful antique furniture throughout. Single occupancy £65, double £80, suite £120.

Food and drink?When we ate there a few months ago, the chef, Stephen Ramsden - who trained with Gary Rhodes in Manchester - was on form. We had roast monkfish wrapped in smoked salmon with celeriac mash and pesto sauce - lovely and fresh. The second time we ate there, the chef was off. The continental fare was going through the motions. There is a notion among restaurateurs that if you trendily pile the food high, encircle it with some rich sauce and place it on a big white plate, you'll satisfy the awakening sensibilities of the Anglo-Saxon palate. Breakfast was poor too - milk in cartons for the tea and the saltiest fry-up I have ever tasted. We could have done better at the greasy spoon on the A52.

Awards?It's listed in the Which? Good Pub Guide and the AA's Best Pubs and Inns 2000.

Clientele?Villagers flock to the bar, and diners from further afield, including drivers from the A1, frequent the dining room.

Things to doAll those politically incorrect country pursuits such as huntin', fishin', shootin' and golfin'. Robin Hood's old stamping ground, Sherwood Forest, is not far away.

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