We were invited down to the launch night of the newly refurbished Copt Oak at Markfield tonight. After an extensive refit, the pub was looking fresh and cosy. On a beautifully sunny but breezy early summer evening, you would be hard pushed to find a nicer place to spend an hour or two. Although it is by the main road, it’s not especially busy, so the extensive beer garden is peaceful. It’s full of tiny hideaways so you can get a bit of privacy, and there is a nice little playground for the little ones too.
Inside the atmosphere is equally welcoming. Light and airy, the pub is tastefully decorated in the safely quirky style that is de rigueur at the moment. Mismatched furniture, Edison bulbs and a lot of exposed brick counterpointing wooden accessories; a true pub of these times. Expect to see a lot of it on Instagram! The great and the good (and me) were enjoying a meal there this evening. The mayor sat enjoying a bit of scran dressed in his chain of office, next to a table of pristinely made up young girls making TikToks of themselves drinking vibrant cocktails.
For me, that really sums this pub up. I think that it would be welcoming for everyone. The menu is large, moderately priced and caters for all tastes. It is that interesting mix of cuisines that you so often see in a gastro-style pub these days – scampi and chips sit proudly next to Thai vegetable curry, flatbread kebabs and the traditional mixed grill. I find this makes it harder to choose what to have, as there is so *much* choice. In the end, my dinner guest and I plumped for the antipasti sharer as a starter.
This was also an interesting mix of cuisines. A Mediterranean selection of cured meats and olives nestled alongside hummus and flatbread, in turn jostling for position with sweet chilli halloumi fries. Then there was some oozing Camembert and finally a slightly incongruous pot of caramelized onion. However you define that mix of nibbles, it was certainly tasty. I could certainly imagine visiting the Copt Oak for a pint and sharing this over a lazy hour and a chat with a friend.
Bam Bam would have loved that selection too, but sadly she was not on the guestlist. Although the pub is family-friendly, this was strictly an adults-only affair. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how negotiating the pub with a two-year-old went for us, but as mentioned the beer garden would definitely be a lovely spot for them to get their wiggles out.
The Main Event
My guest went for the chicken and cider pie for a main. It had, unfortunately, suffered some structural mishaps on the way to the table, but was nonetheless declared “delicious”. My main was chicken and beef, served with two types of gravy (why else do you think I ordered it?), mash and seasonal greens. I thoroughly enjoyed it – the pressed slow-cooked beef being the highlight. The chicken was unfortunately overdone and dry. This meant the skin was wonderfully crisp. But so was the breast meat exposed below the skin. Thank goodness for all that gravy.
On to pud, and the melting chocolate bomb was quite a sight to behold. A chocolate brownie provided a solid foundation for a scoop of ice cream, hidden below a shining dome of chocolate. This was gently melted away by a jug of warm caramel sauce. It was proclaimed by my guest to be the best chocolate dessert he had ever had – possibly the best dessert he had ever had. I can’t say any more on top of that.
Mine was the chocolate torte – a slightly lighter choice. Although the torte itself was relatively dense, it was slightly dark chocolate bitter, rather than sickly sweet. This found its counterpoint in a fresh, biting cherry sorbet which enlivened the mouth and refreshed your palate. A really well thought out combination. Unusually for me, the dessert menu was the stand out highlight of the food offering.
I have to make room to highlight how wonderful it was after our meal to sit out in the late evening sunshine, whilst sipping on a nicely made Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned. One of my favourite cocktails, this was perhaps fractionally sweeter than I would like but had a good dash of bitters and orange peel to give that depth of flavour that you look for. With the cool breeze on my face and a pleasant heaviness in my stomach, it was just bliss to enjoy the beer garden and relax after a genuinely enjoyable meal.
The final paragraph goes to Dee, who looked after us tonight. Apparently, she has hit her 27th year of service at the Copt Oak just recently. She was warm, friendly, fun and completely genuine. A real asset to the pub, and a real breath of fresh air. It is always a joy to see a hospitality professional of such calibre work – putting guests at their ease and making you feel like you are the most important person in the room. I look forward to seeing her again on my next visit.
Thanks to the Copt Oak for inviting us to their launch night and treating us to dinner. I’m afraid my opinions, as ever, are my own and no one has told me what to say, what to think or how to feel. I would have liked it just as much if I paid for it.