Home Pub bar Nottinghamshire village pub now a ‘destination’ for foodies after takeover

Nottinghamshire village pub now a ‘destination’ for foodies after takeover


A village pub has become a “destination” after changing hands and introducing a menu described as exceptional.

The Old Volunteer in Caythorpe is a world away from the typical lasagne and pie and chips pub grub.

Half an hour’s drive from Nottingham takes visitors to the rural setting where chefs who previously worked in some of Nottingham’s finest restaurants – World Service, Bar Iberico, Chino Latino and Restaurant Six – have fused their talents to create a gourmet menu top of the line. .

Classics such as bolognese have been enhanced by using game, sea bass is served with caviar and rice pudding has an Asian twist with miso caramel.

Like any self-respecting pub, Sunday lunch is served – but even that is on another level. If you plan to do a roast, be prepared to make reservations at least two weeks in advance.

Duck breast with spices, potato terrine with seaweed, hispi cabbage, cherry ketchup and marinated blackberries

So what’s tickling the taste buds right now?

Onion miso soup starters, lobster tortellini and upside-down chicken wings are on the à la carte menu, served for lunch and dinner in the 44-seat restaurant area.

Foodies can look forward to main courses of monkfish tikka masala, spicy duck breast and the ever-popular dry-aged tenderloin steak.

Desserts include Chocolate Miso Anglaise, Sticky Caramel Pudding and Dark Molasses Ice Cream, as well as Yuzu Lemon Posset – inspired by the dessert created by Hira Thakur while appearing on MasterChef: The professionals in 2020.

Choosing the more expensive options would cost you almost £70 per head, but there is a cheaper alternative.

A set lunch menu offers a choice of three starters, main courses of roast chicken, fish and chips and mushroom risotto, and desserts costing £21 for two courses and £27 for three.

The end of last year saw a whole new chapter begin at the Old Volunteer, or the Old Vol as it’s known (not to be confused with a pub of the same name in Gedling).

A takeover by locals Sean and Nicola Reddington led to a complete clean-up, with a new look for the pub, as well as new staff.

Managing director Matt Coates, who left his post as manager of a pub in the Peak District to move to the Old Vol, said: “It’s top class food and fine service without pretension. We have huge aspirations to be up there.

“It was busy. We had a much busier January than expected. The reviews are good, so overall I’d say it’s a good start.

“We’ve had positive feedback from the locals. We’ve definitely found the right balance between the restaurant side and the pub side.”

Compliments have poured in since the takeover, describing the food as “magnificent” and worthy of a Michelin star.

Nottingham top chef Sat Bains dined there, sharing a picture of himself with the chefs and captioned: ‘So good to see a young and enthusiastic team’ on Instagram.

Other guests include MasterChef: champion of the professionals Laurence Henry and names in the world of sport, footballer Tom Huddlestone, rugby player Matt Dawson and former cricketer Chris Broad.

The whole building has been remodeled. The interior has been upgraded to create a sleek, light and airy contemporary setting with a living wall of plants, a playing piano, a wood-burning stove and a new cozy area with comfortable sofas and chairs and a real log fire.

The dog-friendly bar serves local ales, including Elsie Mo and Harvest Pale from Castle Rock, and Jaipur from Derbyshire’s Thornbridge Brewery, as well as the crowd-pleasing Timothy Taylor bitter.

There’s no TV downstairs anymore — instead, the upstairs has been turned into a sports bar with buzzers for ordering drinks.

Matt added: “We have quite big plans for the garden. The back of the garden will be a children’s play area, a bridge will be built over the stream and the garden has a large barbecue area. A bar will be built there and toilets so that it is self-sufficient.

“There is a terrace next to the sports bar and we are planning live music and bands there playing in the garden. It should be amazing.”

Hira, who until recently worked at fine dining restaurant Six in Trent Bridge, leads the kitchen team with Andy Goodbourn, whose classic Sunday roast was a national finalist in the Observer Food Monthly awards in 2019 when he worked at Lord Nelson in Burton Joyce.

More recently he ran the kitchen at Tap & Run, the gastro pub of cricketers Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney.

Hira, who grew up in the Himalayas, said: “It’s a seasonal menu that will change every three months. It’s 60% fusion – it’s much tastier, a bit Japanese and Indian.”

Also bringing his talents to the kitchen is ‘chef-in-training’ Jack Pearce, who was named Nottingham’s best young chef in 2019 and previously worked at the Red Lion in Thurgarton and the World Service.

The Old Vol prides itself on shouting out all of its chefs – their credits presented in a card on every table in the restaurant.

Sous-chef Billy Mantle has joined pop-up parties at Albie’s in Carlton, and his Asian and Japanese cooking skills are a perfect fit for the fusion menu.

Chef de partie Dylan Dawling is a tapas whiz with experience at Bar Iberico, Escabeche and Baresca.

They join George Castles who has worked at the Old Vol for four years.

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