Lunch review: The Hoops in Perry Green

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne explores sculptor Henry Moore's former local...

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne explores sculptor Henry Moore’s former local

 

About the restaurantRe-opened with great fanfare a month before Christmas after major refurbishment, The Hoops Inn dates from the early 19th century and is on the Henry Moore Estate in historic Perry Green, opposite the sculptor’s home for 40 years.

Atmosphere and decorThe deep rural setting sets off a new interior faithful to the currently-trendy country-kitchen look, into which original features including a fireplace and old wooden beams have been carefully incorporated.  Lots of soft furnishings featuring Moore’s designs add to the warm and cosy effect.

ServiceThe foodie equivalent of first-night nerves was still evident, understandably after the cold-weather onslaught coming so soon after The Hoops’ reopening. Things improved as the meal progressed and there was an evident desire to please.

The menuWith spring still to come, The Hoops was keeping things simple on my visit, with a straightforward line-up of four starters, six mains and four desserts plus a British cheese plate. Additional daily specials included beef cobbler with a cheese scone, coq au vin with mashed potato, and fillet of seabass with clam broth and new potatoes.

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To startSaving ourselves for dessert, we passed on the starters, though the choice was tempting - pea and ham soup, ham hock terrine with piccalilli, smoked salmon and caper dressing, or mussels with crusty bread. There’s always a next time.

Main coursesThe coq au vin (�11.95) was a satisfying cold-weather plateful, though unimaginative. Being wise after the event, braised red cabbage, offered as a side dish, would have been a good idea but also would have attracted a �2.50 supplement. My companion chose sirloin steak with roasted tomatoes and hand-cut chips (�14.95) and was pleased to report it was cooked exactly as ordered.

DessertsCr�me brulee, called here Cambridge burnt cream, and waffles with warm fruit compote (both �4), provided a fitting end to a comfortable and relaxing meal. As with the mains, there was nothing to complain about.

The experienceThe get-away-from-it-all setting, Henry Moore connection and good solid food, plus a peak season still to come, should prove a winning combination as The Hoops rolls into its first year.

The cost of this lunch including a bottle of house merlot at �14.95 was �49.85 plus service.

This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by the writer. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.

 

The Hoops InnPerry GreenMuch Hadham SG10 6EF01279 843568www.hoops-inn.co.uk

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