People had kept telling me to go to Clipsham, a little village off the A1 just North of Stamford where there’s a Michelin star rated pub winning all sorts of awards including Michelin Pub of the Year. That pub is the Olive Branch and when a family celebration was booked for their private dining room, I was excited to finally get to see what all the fuss was about. Clipsham itself is one of those quaint little Leicestershire villages and the pub is thankfully very traditional in it’s appearance, both inside and out. As the weather was good and we’d arrived unfashionably early, we all sat outside in the beer garden enjoying the selection of cocktails (and Pimms) on offer at the bar.
Inside, the bar area is fantastically cosy with wooden beams and a scattering of tables. The bar area seemed to be very well stocked with a wide choice of wines and beers, so they cater very well for the discerning drinker amongst you. The private dining room is a lovely converted barn which had been set up with a large table to seat us all.
The menu we chose from was a party menu, so we possibly didn’t have the full choice of their main dinner menu. Thankfully our menu lived up to the Olive Branch’s reputation for fantastic food.
I chose the panfried mackerel for a starter, not something I’d normally choose but the other options were pate, a salmon terrine and a soup, none of which I was particularly interested in. The mackerel came with a tomato coulis and soused aubergine and all three elements were packed with flavour.
My main of braised blade of beef was nothing short of fantastic – slow cooked to perfection and just melted in the mouth.
One desert I’d spotted on the main menu online was a key lime pie with gin and tonic sorbet, so I was very glad to see it on our party menu and wasted no time in ordering it. The key lime pie was very good, quite sweet and citrusy as you’d expect but for me, the sorbet was the star and I could happily just had a bowlful of that alone.
As the Olive Branch is a little off the beaten track I would describe it as a “destination” restaurant, somewhere well worth going out of your way for. Because we were dining privately to the rest of the pub, it’s hard to judge the menu and service for the main restaurant area but as far as the “barn” goes, I can recommend it for a grown up celebration.