THERE’S a signature dish enjoyed at Casa Penda known as ‘Picky Bits’. This can come in premium and economy versions.
The economy version is basically leftovers, some heated up rice, maybe a handful of olives, half a can of beans, all a bit random. Premium Picky Bits usually happens after a supermarket shop or a lucky late stop at an M&S garage – reduced steak, exotic prawns in some sauce you’d bever cook yourself, posh sandwich fillers you can do on fresh sourdough, ‘cos you’ve just been shopping.
Then there’s Bread and Pullet. A restaurant that specialises in the poshest of premium picky bits. Tapas, if you’re unfamiliar, are small dishes of delicious meat, fish or vegetables that takes its inspiration from Spain. But here instead of chorizo, it’s fat pork sausages in cider, British and probably from within a 50 mile radius – sticky belly pork in Towcester ale, eggs and local cheese, lots of fresh salad and bread options.
The restaurant is on Northampton’s busy Wellingborough Road. The decor is unvarnished wood and cushions – simple -but not over-comfy. They get busy and might want the table back after a couple of hours. It’s changed hands recently and thankfully has kept all the good bits.
You choose in no particular order – there’s a list of seasonal meat, fish and veg dishes and you can mix and match – a couple of plates per person is a good start and you can order more as you go. They come out when done, so be ready to share.
There were four of us so we started with as classic sharer – a whole baked Camembert cheese with Good Loaf sourdough and roasted tomato chutney. Other dishes started to arrive – a crispy squid salad with watercress, watermelon, cucumber and chilli and lime dressing. Sweet, but refreshing after the guilt-inducing cheese.
A sizzling dish of smoked haddock and smoked Cobbler’s Nibble cheese omelette, a beef rump with roasted toms and salsa verde made up a meal for two on their own, before a specular belly pork dish with black-pudding topped apple and cider gravy nipped in to steal the attention.
Meanwhile, two of the party had ordered from a special mid-week treat option with perfect spicy chicken pieces plus a lamb hotpot ( that they’d never have eaten at home) and toast, homemade beans and an egg on top.
The dishes are larger than we expected – think side-plate rather than tapas nibble bowl.
We didn’t over-do it on savouries (so we told ourselves) and finished with banoffee cakes and rice pud with the most perfect home-made Garibaldi biscuits.
Total bill was just over £100 for four with soft drinks and coffees, so a reasonable £25 a head all in. A return trip is on the cards – just to sample the Saturday brunch which promises black pudding hash browns.