Recently I was invited to review The Knife and Cleaver, a fantastic gastropub located in the Bedfordshire village of Houghton Conquest.
The Knife and Cleaver is a gastropub, run by accomplished pub operator, Andrew Coath, who also manages the pub, Anchor at Aspley Guise, near Milton Keynes. From memory, the number of times where I paid a visit to gastropubs can be counted with one hand. So less than 5 times. So this is a wonderful opportunity for me to experience more of what gastropubs are about.The journey from my house in Milton Keynes to The Knife and Cleaver was about 30 minutes.
The interior of the place was lovely, with a perfectly organised dining area and stunning lighting. The ambience was very modern, complete with comfy seats, a good amount of space, and a range of cute pictures displayed across the walls. The atmosphere was cosy and I felt very relaxed the moment I walked inside. The Knife and Cleaver also has an outdoor seating area but I decided to avoid this considering how cold it was!
The staff were friendly and paid close attention to our orders. They were patient which was lovely as I had to translate some of the menu for my parents. We were provided with great service and our table was visited around every five minutes, which was rather frequent. Though the staff were clearly very helpful, it didn’t seem necessary for them to check up on us so often.
I also found it odd that we weren’t given a drinks menu along with the mains menu, but we were still able to decide what drinks we wanted as we wasn’t looking for any alcoholic beverages but it would be nice to be able to look at what was offered without needing to ask.
Out of the delicious menu, the dishes we ordered were:
Leek and spinach barley risotto. It was presented beautifully and served with grilled leeks and baked ricotta. I’m a big fan of risotto and often make my own. I know that it takes a while to cook until the texture is right so it can be difficult to judge when it’s done.
A perfectly medium-rare steak, cooked to perfection. My mother isn’t a huge fan of beef but really enjoyed this dish and says she’d recommend it to her friends – this is rare as my mother never eat anything that isn’t fully cooked, and a recommendation from someone who doesn’t like eating beef and doesn’t enjoy un-fully-cooked food, this will be amazing. I’ve tried it for myself, I am someone who prefer steak that is slightly more ‘rare’ and I cannot find a single fault in it.
Deliciously delicate pan-fried Cornish cod. Served with parsnip puree, savoy cabbage, and cider and clam sauce. The cod was brilliantly displayed and visually appealing. It didn’t flake much as the skin was attached when it was fried, and it wasn’t over-cooked.
Light and fluffy chocolate fondant served with ice cream. We ordered two chocolate fondants. But the chef wasn’t happy with one of them and didn’t want us to have it. Although they kindly offered to make another two for us we declined as from personal experience, we’re aware of how difficult a fondant can be to make. The way the staff at Knife and Cleaver informed us, was a clear indication that like to keep their customers informed and as a customer, I feel respected.
The drinks we ordered to accompany our meal were:
A regular coke, a refreshing virgin mojito and a warm and creamy latte.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t often visit pubs but The Knife and Cleaver was lovely. Overall, good food, friendly staff, and a lovely environment. I’d definitely recommend this place to friends and family. The Knife and Cleaver is a must for those looking to try a new gastropub.
Visit The Knife and Cleaver:
The grove, Houghton Conquest, Bedford, MK45 3LA
Average price: £
I paid: /
Price range: ££
Value for money: 8/10
Family friendly – Yes
High Chairs – /
Wifi – Yes
Parking – Free
Outdoor seating – Yes