Stuart Broad and his team are at it again. Two years after revamping and reopening The Three Crowns pub in the village of Wymeswold, a new venture with a cricket-themed title has recently opened its doors in nearby Upper Broughton – The Tap and Run.
Formerly The Golden Fleece, The Tap and Run sits on a bend in the A606 road towards nearby Melton Mowbray. Like The Three Crowns, the outside of the pub has been given the modern touch with serious money invested in creating a smart look. The car park could barely contain the fleet of Range Rovers on a busy Wednesday night.
Upon opening the door you can still get a whiff of the fresh woodwork with a hint of beer. Inside, the conservatory area houses the main dining room with tables and chairs equally spaced. Down the stairs leads into the bar area where comfy chairs and a long bar create a chilled out traditional pub atmosphere.
The staff greeted us with a smile and presented us with menus at our table. Our vantage point overlooked the bar area with a few plants and trees for company – a unique setting but somehow it all just works.
A cracking selection of starters and mains with a few less options for dessert complete the menu. My eyes were instantly drawn to the duck croquette with hoisin, cucumber, spring onion and ginger. For Ali, a curious choice of cheese and chive potato skins, goats cheese cream and crispy onions.
Both starters arrived looking immaculate. “If this tastes half as good as it looks we’re onto a winner” I declared – it turned out to be more of a big six than a safe four. The flavours all work together as duck, hoisin and cucumber traditionally do without a pancake in sight. The execution of each element was spot on.
How anyone can give a potato skin a posh makeover is anyone guess, but here, that’s exactly what happened. The flavour of quality goats cheese against sweet relish is one that’s always going to please a crowd – this certainly delivered both on taste and bravery.
The dining room began to fill very quickly but with one table getting constant rejection. A table right by the window had customers complaining of a draught, all complaints it should be noted were handled very well by the staff who re-seated everyone concerned. Maybe a cleverly positioned storage heater could come in handy during the winter nights.
Our mains had no issue with heat – Pork belly, black pudding croquette, roasted cauliflower puree, burnt hispi cabbage, apple sauce and a cider jus arrived steaming hot and looking a sizeable adversary. Over the table a pan roasted chicken breast with Mauritian curry and rice kept up the heat factor.
You can keep your fancy pressed squares of pork belly, this beauty was carved right off a roast with a double portion of perfect crackling – this is how pork is done. Juicy and delicious meat shrouded in a rich jus was just perfect. The support act in the shape of smooth, roasted cauliflower puree was a complete revelation, outstanding.
The cabbage provided a slight bitterness that toned down the sweet apple sauce. Pork and apple go tremendously well together but add in black pudding and flavours of grain mustard and you’re heading into dreamland. This is very good cooking indeed.
By contrast, the curry had the right amount of spice, perfectly cooked rice and the meat still juicy – a chicken breast is often a repeat offender when it comes to drying out but thankfully not on this plate. A charred lime was also an interesting addition by way of garnish with a subtle smokey flavour.
I couldn’t believe how busy the dining room was for a midweek dinner service. The acoustics make for a lively setting but not uncomfortably so, we could still have a conversation and relax while enjoying a glass of top quality Argentine Malbec.
Desserts arrived in the shape of chocolate mousse, chocolate soil and white chocolate ice cream(got enough chocolate?). Other options tempted us but this sounded like pure indulgence. It ended up being exactly that.
A well made chocolate mousse is a brilliant thing. As is a well made ice cream. Whack a few crumbs on top for texture with a hint of orange and you have a simple dessert elevated to a full century. The richness yet light texture of both mousse and ice cream were superb – another faultless innings.
The name ‘Tap and Run’ implies a safe shot in cricket to get the score up. The cooking here tells a very different story. To have a meal with noticeable technique, flavour and attention to detail on the presentation is something very special and anything but safe, You have to give huge praise for that.
In terms of value, the meal certainly falls in line with many in the local gastropub category. Starters range from anywhere between £5 and £8 with mains coming in at £11.50-22 along with puddings rolling in at an average of £6.50.
For the quality of food and organised service with a smile, this is well worth taking a journey out into the Leicestershire countryside to enjoy. Stuart and the team can celebrate a fine addition to their growing empire.
Opening Times: Daily 1200-2300
Nearest Train Station: Melton Mowbray