Review: Ascoughs Bistro, Market Harborough

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I've been working in Market Harborough for over a year now and so far leaving do meals and Friday lunchtimes have been restricted to rather uninspiring pubs and restaurants. With hopes of changing all that, last week I went to family run Ascoughs Bistro (set in a lovely grade 2 listed building) with my best work buddy for a post work supper and gossip.




We were the first in the door and asked if we could sit in one of the gorgeous bay windows. Sadly we were told no, that table was reserved, despite the fact that throughout our meal and up to not long before we left, it remained empty. Anyway.. moving on, after we were seated, the menus were presented and everything looked delicious and interesting. They offer a great value set menu - £17.00 for 2 courses or 3 for £21.00. Of course we opted for 2 courses but on the proviso that should there be room, we'd squeeze pudding in too! 

To start, I went for Tapenade Toast, Italian Cheese Tuile, Poached Egg, Hollandaise and it was lovely. I'm a big fan of tapenade and this was just as it should be - rich and salty with black olives and capers.The egg was poached perfectly and added a needed creaminess to the dish. I wasn't overly sure the tuile added much as you already had the salty hit from the tapenade - but I gobbled it up anyway!



Vicky went for Smoked Mackerel, Vegetable Escabeche, Pickles, Cumin Scented Yoghurt. It was presented beautifully but sadly on a dark grey slate - a fashion I thought had passed already. We both agreed we prefer to see our food on a clean white plate, especially when the restaurant itself is quite dark. The cumin yoghurt was nice and cut through the mackerel well. 


For mains, we were both eyeing up the same dish but my rules are firm - if you're eating with Gingey Bites, you have to order something different! So, Vicky went for Sticky Treacle Glazed Brisket of Beef, Chimichurri, Celeriac Puree, Parsnip Chips and I had the Free Range Pork Loin Cutlet, Parsley Mousseline, Nutmeg Kale, Smoked Bacon Sauce. The pork loin cutlet was really fab, soft and well cooked and the smoky bacon sauce went perfectly with the kale and pork on my plate. However, although the treacle glazed brisket was soft and tender, the chimichurri it came with was oily and didn't have the kick of green herbs and chilli it should have. Disappointing. 



It comes as no surprise to tell you that we could manage a pud too so we shared the Black Forest Chocolate Meringue, Cherry Ice Cream, Kirsch Cream. This was the winner of the night and the cherry ice cream in particular was my personal favourite whilst Vicky loved the chocolate mousse on the plate. We agreed it could use more kirsch but it was still a great pud. 


The offending side veg and potatoes
Overall, I thought it was a nice place with a friendly ambience and it must be popular as we were there on a Tuesday and it was well over half full. I would probably go again as the set menu is good value for money and the menu interesting but there are some elements letting Ascoughs down. We waited a long time for our bill and even longer for them to come and take payment. The side dishes served alongside the mains really let down the presentation of everything else, which was great. The side potatoes were awful - when we asked, the waiter described them as a "cross between parmentier and dauphinoise" but I'd describe them more as undercooked potato cubes smashed up with dried herbs and flavourless cheese.  A mixed review but one I hope you'll find useful.

Over and Out.

7 comments

  1. Living in Northampton and being from Leicester originally, I'm in Market Harborough a lot during university holidays, but I've never made it to Ascoughs. It's been recommended to me many times, so I may have to pay a visit at Easter!

    http://ninegrandstudent.wordpress.com/

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    1. Yes not too far at all! You'll have to let me know what you think if you go :-)

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  2. That beef looks yummy! Did you have to pay extra for the sides or did they come with it? I hate it when you eat out and have to order veg/potatos/chips as extras on the side!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    1. The beef was lovely. No sides came with it so if you stick to options without a supplement (the beef and the pork didn't have a supplement), its a great value night out! Thanks for your comment :-)

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  3. Yes what a mixed bag! I would have been tempted by the menu as it sounds really interesting but what a shame about those little details that have such an impact on the overall experience. Let us know if your second trip is the same!

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  4. Such a shame that you haven't been to revisit us since we moved premises after a fire as supporting local I would have thought that this was paramount in your blogging. It has been a really tough year and one that we thought may never end but hopefully we have seen the dark times and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just would have been nice for some more local support from bloggers

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    1. I heard about the fire, it must have been terrible for you all - and I've heard that your new place is very lovely with positive comments from several people I know, I really hope its going well for you. I no longer get out to Market Harborough as much as I don't work there anymore but I'll make sure if I ever do, I'll come for lunch. I'm always keen to support local businesses, especially the independent ones but I will always be honest on my reviews - any good blogger will.

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