Dining Out - Top food at canalside pub

The Wharf in Bugbrooke
The Wharf in Bugbrooke

On a rare sunny Sunday in September my wife and I, and my parents, enjoyed a relaxing walk from Pattishall to Bugbrooke.

Conveniently placed halfway along our route was the The Wharf, situated next to the Grand Union Canal.

The pub was recently taken over by the Northampton-based McManus Pub group and a new menu has been introduced.

On a warm, cloudless day the pub’s garden is a perfect location for a refreshing pint and relaxing Sunday lunch.

After arriving at 1pm we were told there was a 40 minute wait for the food as a table of 25 had just placed their order.

Having walked three miles we were not in a rush, so we picked our main courses and ordered a series of dishes from the selection of tapas starters.

Each dish was priced at £2.95 and we enjoyed hummus and pitta bread, feta cheese and olives, oils and bread and spiced halloumi.

Despite the pressure on the kitchen with the big order, the starters arrived within 10 minutes and were presented on a wooden board making it easy to share.

The four dishes we chose were generous portions and filled with enough food to satisfy our appetite before the main course arrived.

In particular, the grilled halloumi, which arrived to the table still warm, was very tasty and was one of the first things to disappear from the platter.

In a pleasant surprise, the food actually arrived quicker than the anticipated 45 minutes.

I think it is always better for staff to overestimate how long the food will be as there is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you have been misled about how long you would have to wait for your meal.

For main course, my dad picked the sirloin steak and I picked the pulled pork burger.

The meat dishes both came with coleslaw and a generous portion of beautifully thick-cut chips.

My burger also contained a liberal amount of the delicious meat, which was extremely lean and coated with a barbecue sauce, which did not overpower the overall flavour of the dish.

Judging by how quickly he polished off his steak, it was obvious that my dad also enjoyed his choice and he also commented on how delicious the chips tasted.

For their main courses, my mum had the rotisserie chicken and my wife chose a tandoori chicken with a side order of sweet potato fries.

My wife enjoyed her chicken but said it probably wasn’t at the same standard she had eaten in other restaurants.

However, my mum loved her chicken dish which she said was cooked perfectly.

At the end of the meal there were four empty plates, which is always a sign that everyone liked the food.

We did not have a pudding as we were all pretty stuffed and needed to finish the rest of our countryside walk.

In total the bill came to a reasonable £67.60, which did not include drinks.

The only blot on our afternoon meal, something that was completely outside the pub’s control, was the presence of a large swarm of wasps.

Despite our best efforts to swat them away, the pesky flying insects kept wanting to join our table and dive bomb our drinks.

But, having eaten in the restaurant earlier this year, I can safely say there is no problem with insects inside the pub.

The pub’s restaurant is also very spacious and, even when it is filled up, the staff are always willing to accommodate more customers by setting up a table in the bar area.

The Wharf is in one of the most picturesque locations in Northamptonshire and this is now complemented by quick, friendly service and a menu including a decent choice of well-cooked, reasonably priced food.

The Wharf is open Monday to Sunday, serving food all day at the weekend.

Food: Good range of pub grub

Value: Fair/good

Service: Friendly, efficient

Disabled access: Yes

Parking: Large free car park

Price: £67.90

Rating: 9/10