6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life CLICK HERE

Heart & soul

11:18 22 December 2010

Heart & soul

Heart & soul

TV competition winners Russell Clement and Michele English are realising their dream of running a restaurant in Marlow. Food writer Richard Cawthorne finds out how they are fairing

IT is five months since the opening at Marlow of The Cheerful Soul in the Hare & Hounds, dream child of Michele English and Russell Clement, winners of the BBC Two programme The Restaurant, and ingenuity is beginning to shine through.
A recession is not the best time to launch any new business. Chefs are back to basics; witness the resurgence of plain foods such as pork belly and home-grown vegetables to replace the more expensive exotics. The trick is in how you present them, an art with which Russell, the head chef, and the ever-smiling Michele, the front-of-house manager, seem completely at ease.
Thus Jerusalem artichoke soup (£3.50) comes with white truffle oil and an unannounced touch of thyme, while Brixham crab and clotted cream tart with horseradish dressing (£5.50) proves equally enticing. Both are ideal starters, and while the cream adds an unusual sweetness to the crab, Michele says the dish is already proving a best seller.
The mains feature a grill selection including Scottish salmon and four cuts of beef but my eye is already taken by the roast Gressingham duck breast (£15.50) with savoy cabbage, smoked bacon and hedgerow fruits, which turn out to be apple, pear and plum slices and blackberries.
My partner has no hesitation in choosing one of her favourite dishes, grilled calves' liver, as her main, served with champ potatoes and roast garlic sauce (£15.25), adding a plate of sautéed savoy cabbage and smoked bacon (£2.95) as an extra.
Although I am not asked how I would like the duck, it arrives as I would have wished, cooked just enough to bring out the flavour. As for the calves' liver, I am told not to interrupt the eating process because it is that good.
Desserts, ranging in price from £3 for ice cream to £6.50 for Eton mess or £7.50 for a cheese plate, are straightforward, though the crumble of the day, blackberry and apple, sets a high standard. The wine list is adequate with a Malbec among the reds and the noted Astrolabe sauvignon blanc among the whites.
The Cheerful Soul is clearly off to a good start and not just because of the send-off provided by the TV exposure. That might account for an initial burst of business, but it is the food, the warm welcome and the happy atmosphere that keep the punters coming back. We are there on a Wednesday, which Michele says is usually a quiet night, but the place is bustling. Fair comment.

The Cheerful Soul in The Hare & Hounds, Marlow, tel: 01628 483343.

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Whether it’s a catch up with a friend or discussing business with a colleague, you should always consider a trip to one of these fantastic Berkshire coffee shops...

Read more
Monday, April 20, 2015

As we launch our celebration of the two counties, we invite you to nominate your favourite food and drink businesses

Read more
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Hungerford town centre attracts crowds when the festival takes place

Hungerford Food Festival demonstrates the depth of the county’s food and drink sector as local producers show their wares, writes Sue Bromley.

Read more
Friday, April 10, 2015
Looks gorgeous, but it's just a trick with tap water that's always a winner

Bonnie May’s great ideas on hosting your social event of the year and her tips on hidden treasures where you can stage your party

Read more
Friday, April 10, 2015
Pomegreat can be found in Waitrose and many other local supermarkets

Newbury-based Pomegreat has removed all refined sugars from its drinks range, replacing them in its pomegranate juices with a fruit extract that has a low glycaemic index, It is the first juice brand to incorporate a natural active compound that suppresses potentially hazardous blood sugar spikes, a side-effect of consumption of many modern soft drinks.

Read more
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Getty Images/Fuse

Lambing is underway on my farm in the Cotswolds. As any sheep farmer will tell you, long days and sleepless nights in the lambing shed mean it’s one of the busiest and tiring times of the year but it’s also the most rewarding.

Read more
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yes, if you want the chocolate but something a little different and grown-up, how about these chocolate dipped little Viva strawberries. You can even add them to your 5-a-day!

Read more
Monday, March 16, 2015

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Berkshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Monday, March 16, 2015

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Buckinghamshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Extra virgin olive oil

Nutritional therapist Naomi Mead separates the fat from the fiction, explaining why not all fats are bad for you

Read more
Monday, March 9, 2015
Enjoy a taste of the high life at Waddesdon Manor, photo: www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw

Feast your eyes and then pick the perfect outing for someone who deserves that little extra. Sandra Smith has discovered some excellent ‘tasters’

Read more
Friday, February 27, 2015
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Whether celebrating on March 15 or choosing an outing for a date of her choice, there are some fantastic food options. Sue Bromley’s put a little menu together….

Read more
Friday, February 13, 2015

Famous Buckinghamshire event has gone transatlantic and is now sponsored by Teflon

Read more
Friday, February 13, 2015

This recipe comes from Dr. Oetker, who have joined with Juliet Sear as part of the Even Better Baking Team.

Read more
Food and Drink Directory

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP



Berkshire's trusted business finder
subscription ad

subscription ad