Bracebridge Heath Friendship Club
'Your service and food proved spot-on and expecially when we heard you opened just for us! Nothing seemed to be too much trouble and the location is just superb'
'Everyone enjoyed lunch and made a point of saying how much they enjoyed the food, please thank your staff as they did such a good job and where so pleasant'
The South Essex 50 plus Club
'Thank you to all the staff for providing us with such an enjoyable lunch experience, we were all impressed with the efficiency of service and friendliness, everyone commented on the quality of the food'
'The food was delicious, it was truly and evening that we and our French friends will remember for a long time'
'Thank you so much for putting such a truly wonderful party for us, everyone had a fantastic time and complimented you on the food, venue and service'
Lucy and Graham
'From start to finish we could not fault your help and friendliness, all of our guests commented on how friendly and intimate the venue was, the food was delicious - thank you for helping to make our big day so special!'
Leicester Mercury March 2012
When the sun shines after the rain, there's that magical moment as a rainbow appears, the crystal curve of colour, which fades into nowhere and makes you feel glad to be alive.
Well that's what we experienced overlooking Rutland Water, from the comfort of our dining table in the Harbour Cafe Bar and Restaurant.
Such Saturday afternoon bliss should be reserved for special occasions, said my partner-in-dine.
I disagreed, indulgently, ordering another glass of Chardonnay.
This is how every Saturday should be. And could be for that matter.
With a downstairs cafe, serving everything from sandwiches and jacket potatoes to homemade cake and coffee, there isn't a whiff of exclusivity.
We opted to eat in the seafood and grill restaurant. It was quieter upstairs, just another table of six, but that made it all the more special, and relaxed.
It's nautically rustic, all light wooden touches, with a homely feel about the place. But there's an atmosphere that made the partner want to drink his Peroni out of a glass, rather than the bottle. Our waitress was nice, too.
So to the food – and this is where the restaurant comes into its own.
We know that sounds obvious. When you go out to eat, you expect the food to be good. But good doesn't come close to describing this nosh.
Take the soft shell crab fritter (£5.50) I chose as my starter. Served with sweet chilli sauce, I was expecting a fishcake. But blow me down with the waft of an Osprey's wing. This was, as it said, a soft shell crab – still crab shaped – and dipped in batter.
Imagine a spontaneous combustion of the senses, and that's how it felt to eat.
Foodies will be alarmed to hear I left the yellow gunk – or "mustard" as they would call it – which is actually part of the crab's digestive system and considered a delicacy. No thanks. I didn't fancy a portion of pancreas.
Partner-in-dine picked brie wrapped in Parma ham, baked and served with port and red currant jelly (£5.50). He said it was good, the cheese all gooey, the ham tender when it can sometimes be tough. But the crab stole the limelight.
It might have been lunchtime, but we were going whole hog. I ordered a medium cooked 5oz ribeye steak with chips, crispy onions, mushrooms and a Stilton cream sauce. (£9.95)
The sauce was awesome, a rich and creamy covering without being overpowering; the steak cooked to perfection.
The partner opted for the special – medallions of beef, on a bed of potato scallops, with green beans and a creamy mushroom sauce (£17.95).
A series of ooos and aahs, suggested this was the right choice over freshly-battered fish and chips.
"Oh, I like my potatoes like this," he said. "And the beef is bloody beautiful."
I made him eat the green beans. He's like a child when it comes to fruit and veg.
We decided to share a dessert, the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce (£4.95). We weren't disappointed. And it was a large enough, moist enough portion to achieve total satisfaction.
Continuing to enjoy the view during after lunch tea and coffee, my partner asked: "Fancy a walk?" as he noticed me slump into the sofa. Erm... could we make that a nap?
Bull Brigg Lane Whitwell Harbour Rutland Water LE15 8BL T 01780 461288 E [email protected]