The picture-postcard pretty village of Grafton Underwood has always lacked either a cafe or a pub.
The village, near Kettering, has a brook running by the side of the main street, ducks that waddle across the road and beautiful cottages and now, with the opening of Good Friends Bistro and Deli, somewhere to get a drink and a bite to eat.
The licensed coffee shop, bistro and deli sells everything from a pot of olives or a slice of cheese from the deli to breakfasts, coffee and cake, and evening meals.
Having tried it for a cup of coffee and a slice of coffee and walnut cake, Ade and I decided to take our own good friends, Heather and Owain, out for an evening meal.
The building has been beautifully converted from the old post office into a small restaurant with exposed beams and a lovely fireplace.
We arrived at 8pm and were the last diners to arrive, and leave, but at no point in the evening did we feel rushed. As we ate the complimentary olives and breadsticks a waitress explained the menu to us. It is very short and as Owain commented, if you find something you like on it you’ll do very well but more fussy eaters might struggle.
The starters were all hits. I chose the home cured gravalax (£5.75), which was beautifully tasty with a lovely delicate flavour. Owain had the pigeon breast and pancetta salad (£5.95), which he gave an eight out of 10, while Heather had the garlic mushrooms (£4.75), which was a generous portion served in a neat little pot. The star, though, was Ade’s choice - the homemade beetroot soup (£4.75). Served at room temperature, he said it was nicely spicy and one of the best soups he’d ever tasted.
The mains were rather more mixed. Heather and I both had seabass with a Mediterranean pesto crust (£12.95). The generous portion of fish was cooked to perfection and the pesto crust enhanced rather than overpowered the seabass.
Ade chose beef parmigiana (£12.95) - beef layered with aubergine and served with a parmesan crust. As he’s not a huge fan of aubergine it was a brave choice. It was served piping hot, and again was a generous portion. The dish was obviously made with good quality ingredients, but Ade decided that it wasn’t something he’d eat again - his fault not the chef’s.
Owain chose the deli platter (£9.95), a mix of charcuterie and cheeses that he chose from a different menu. The platter came with bread, caperberries and pickles. Having a large appetite Owain thought he could have done with a more generous portion of the delicious cheddar cheese but, again, couldn’t fault the quality of the ingredients. The hot main courses came with broccoli and roast squash, which was delicious.
I was full after my two courses but the others had room to try dessert. Ade and Heather both plumping for the white chocolate mousse with berries (£4.95), which got a big thumbs up, while Owain chose the St Clement’s cheesecake (£4.95), which he said was more like a tangy, lovely lemon mousse on a biscuit base.
The restaurant was full the night we were there and I’d certainly go back. The service was friendly, the atmosphere welcoming and the food, despite a couple of quibbles, beautifully cooked and of a high standard.
DISABLED ACCESS: There is a ramp up to the front door
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £79.90
Janet’s star rating: 8/10
Good Friends Bistro and Deli
31 Main Street