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What it's like at The Mole & Badger in Cookham Dean

PUBLISHED: 15:30 10 July 2019

The Mole & Badger

The Mole & Badger

Archant

Following in the footsteps of Mole and Badger from The Wind in the Willows, Sarah Rodi spent a relaxed evening at the new restaurant in Cookham Dean

The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated," penned Kenneth Grahame in The Wind in the Willows. And that is exactly how I felt as I walked into the new Mole & Badger Restaurant Bar & Wine Emporium at Sanctum on the Green in Cookham Dean. It offers English countryside luxury, yet it also feels relaxed.

The Mole & Badger has recently opened and is named after the popular characters from the children's novel, The Wind in the Willows, written by Cookham Dean's famous resident, author Kenneth Grahame. And I had heard good things about the restaurant, which uses locally sourced produce to create modern but traditional British dishes.

While we perused the menu on the leather sofas in the intimate bar area, we ordered a gin cocktail, which looked − and tasted − divine. The menu offered a good choice, and it was hard to choose, as it all sounded mouth-wateringly tasty, but my friend and I finally both settled on the dressed Devon crab with crab bisque to start. I chose the Rhug Estate lamb rack with Smith's Farm broccoli and a mini shepherd's pie for main, and my friend chose the Berkshire pork and apple sausages with creamed potato, braised red cabbage and red wine gravy.

Our friendly waitress was attentive, and we were soon shown to our table in the new contemporary yet elegant restaurant area. It has wooden beams and petrol-blue panelling on the walls, and and we took up our cosy place by the fireside.

There is a decadent list of wines from around the world. The waitress chose us a glass of crisp white to go with our starters, and a red for our mains. A basket of sourdough arrived first, quickly followed by our starters, and the crab was succulent, full of flavour, and perfectly complemented by the creamy bisque.

Next up was the main event. The meals looked so impressive, my friend and I decided to share as we wanted to try everything. Bursting with flavour and juice, my beautiful rack of lamb was cooked to perfection. And the rich shepherd's pie, which wasn't so mini, served with creamy mash, was a bonus. What a treat. Biting into one of the tender sausages, we both muttered words of praise. Who knew Berkshire sausages were so good?

There's always room for pudding, isn't there? So we ordered the buttermilk panna cotta with Yorkshire rhubarb and ginger crumble to share.

This just slipped down; it was so light. A lovely sweet taste to finish on.

As we left, sending our compliments to the chef, our waitress told us about their Sunday roast with all the trimmings. I think I shall be heading back with the family one weekend very soon.

themoleandbadger.co.uk; karmagroup.com

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