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Delapre’s Orangery has improved 18-months on . . . but still not for dogs

Back in August 2017 we wrote about the huge redevelopment that had been ongoing at Delapre Abbey in Northampton.

One of the major changes was the removal of the much-loved cafe run by volunteers that had been replaced by a more commercial venture in the new Orangery. A lovely space, with exposed walls and a clean open aspect, the cafe and adjoining Billiard Room, used for more formal bookings, just seemed to expensive for the location, however lovely.

Revised catering deals were made, and the cafe gained a refreshed menu and a new team under the Tom Hewer brand. In summer it could still do with an awning for shade for the outside patio, and in the winter they should consider a room or   covered area for people with (well-behaved) dogs. After all, the park around the abbey is used daily by dog walkers. Maybe a more European attitude to dogs indoors would see more regulars using the cafe.

We visited the new version of the Orangery in the depths of winter with a dog in tow, who we had to return to the car before getting some lunch.

As it was a Sunday, we’d expected it to be packed, but a quick peek into the Billiard Room saw just a couple of tables of diners. In the cafe however, there was a queue at the ordering point and most tables were occupied. We were lucky as a two, and ordered a roast pork sandwich with apple sauce (£7) and a kids’ sausage and chips (£4.50). The food arrived in about 15 minutes and we were impressed with the delicious Delapre bangers and an added bonus of a couple of roast spuds and a parsnip on the side of the sarnie. If they’d added a pot of gravy, it would have been perfect. With soft drinks, the bill was £15.70.

The Orangery doesn’t quite know what it is. It wants guests to find their own table and cutlery but the food is less informal than that. There’s still a perception that it’s a pricey venue. I would happily return for a full Sunday roast. Not with the dog though, and he’d a loved a bite of those sausages.

NQ Penda

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