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Gorgeous grown-up gastro pub

I popped into Hitchin’s Radcliffe pub earlier in the year, but didn’t manage to eat last time I was there.  This time, I made sure that I was just in time for dinner — oh, is that the time already? — and I’m jolly happy that I did.

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It’s just such a stylish place to hang out.  Seriously — I’m in love with the Sas & Yosh wallpaper, produced specially for the Radcliffe in just the right colour and resplendent with flamingos and bugs and so on.  But it’s not intimidating-stylish.  It’s just-right stylish — comfortable, welcoming, and gorgeous.  Oh and there was a big sign about craft gin on the bar, which always helps.

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The a la carte menu has just changed for Summer — and it’s definitely worth checking out.  The lunch/early evening menu changes every couple of weeks, too, and the Sunday lunch menu is similar-but-not-the-same every week — roasts, veggie options, and some seriously delicious starters.  Think, Aubergine, Mozzarella, Capers and Red Onion Parcel, or Smoked Haddock Filo Quiche.  There’s also a Breakfast menu that is locally-sourced and had me drooling, breakfast being my favourite meal to eat out (is that odd?).

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There are definitely some neatly unusual choices on the new Summer menu.  We tried the … stay with me … Prawn and Fennel Focaccia for a starter.  It’s prawns, pineapple, spring onion, chilli, nestled on a slice of fennel focaccia — and believe you me, it was delicious.  I wasn’t sure that prawns and pineapple was going to be my bag, but honestly?  I could have scoffed the lot — and another one — had I not been sharing and far too polite to elbow someone else’s fork out of the way.

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There isn’t a children’s menu — no nuggets here — but they’re happily flexible about scaling down portions for smaller folk.  My youngest was with me (love an INSET day…) and she was perfectly pleased to be troughing on a portion of proper fish in lovely light batter and thick-cut chips.

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I had the butterflied grilled chicken — beautifully done — on top of coconut rice, which was gorgeous, and a lovely summery mango salsa.  Yes, it was raining outside but I was eating Summer inside.  Would have been even better, for sure, if I’d been outside in the Radcliffe’s new garden — which is more outdoor restaurant than typical pub garden.

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Don’t know about you, but pud is really the making — or breaking of a place — for me, although I’m not always sure I want something enormous for afters.  The Radcliffe’s chef — a French, classically-trained chap — is flexing his patisserie muscles with their Cafe Gourmand.  The coffee of your choice (and a proper size cup, too) with a trio of teeny, bite-size goodies to sweeten you up.  I had a sliver of Victoria Sponge, a little almondy-drizzle cake, and the gooiest chocolate truffle I’ve ever had in my life.  And sighed a lot.

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For my littlest, they produced a scoop of ice cream — she chose caramel from a quite unusual selection — and loved the sparkly-iced gingerbread bird that came with it.  Even let me have a nibble of the tail.

Both of us came away happy, which is always a win.  In fact, my little Mudlet gave it a staggering 100 out of 10.  (Beat that!)  But you know what?  I’m looking forward to going back for a proper grown-up dinner (fancy it, Mr C?) or — better still — a long, lazy weekend breakfast.  Or maybe Sunday lunch?

The Muddy Verdict:

Great for: grown-up dining, date nights, girls nights out, Sunday lunch, lazy breakfasts and — without a doubt — long Summer evenings (if the sun comes out).

Not so great for: well, they’re happy to have kids there during the day, but there’s defo a more sophisticated, let’s-book-a-sitter feel to the place.


1 comment on “Gorgeous grown-up gastro pub”

  • Graeme Foster June 16, 2017

    Yes the Radcliffe was a lovely eaterie but it’s sadly now closed. 🙁
    Another independent restaurant goes to the wall as the chains take over quirky Hitchin.


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hertfordshire