Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Restaurant - Inn Review - Knife & Cleaver, Bedfordshire

In days gone by travelers making their way north would take one of the main roads out of London such as the A6 going from London to Northampton and beyond via Bedford.  It would take many hours to complete the sometime treacherous journey requiring many coaches to stop for fresh provisions for their horses and food and drink for their passengers.

The coaches would stop at pubs and inns very similar to The Knife & Cleaver in Houghton Conquest to revive weary passengers. This is a village pub in the heart of a small village, a warm and welcoming pub frequented by locals, families, people travelling further away and even the family pooch enjoy the hospitality!
I was invited to spend the night at the Knife & Cleaver, have a meal and check out how dog friendly it is. Our dog Jonty does love a night away from home with all the comforts.  It is such a relief when we can take him with us for a short break that we all have a much better time away from home.

The Knife & Cleaver have nine rooms built outside near the garden, all recently renovated, clean and comfortable.  The bed was really comfortable making getting up for breakfast a really big decision to make!!
Jonty loved the plush blanket on the bed and was very happy to stay there however we brought his travel cage for him to sleep in which he happily does.
The pub and restaurant were all decked out for the Christmas holidays.  We were given the choice to sit and dine in the restaurant without the dog or sit in the bar area and he could come with us.  We chose the bar area and Jonty just nestled himself near our feet whilst we ate a sumptuous meal.  After a Friday at work it was a really pleasant atmosphere to relax with a few drinks.  Many of the local customers came over to say hello to the dog and have a chat.

Mr R had one of the starter specials of the day which was mussels in a cider and chorizo sauce. Seemed like a weird combination but he said it really worked, using his wedge of home made bread to mop up all the sauce.
I an never resist scallops really enjoying these two baked in the shell on a shallot puree with cauliflower and clementine. A very unusual combination but really refreshing.
For the main course Mr R chose a Venison Bourguinon with a Bubble & Squeak and Celeriac Puree.  I am not a game fan but he really likes it.  There is also a Game Pie (for 2 to share) on the menu, all locally sourced.
I like to have something that I can use as a bench mark when trying a new restaurant so I ordered the 8oz Dry-aged Ribeye Steak served with chips, charred lettuce and mushroom with a stilton butter. Although I usually like my steaks cooked medium rare I have been advised that a ribeye steak should be cooked medium because of the higher fat content which is how I now have mine. The one I had at The Knife & Cleaver was perfectly cooked and completely complemented by the stilton butter.
We were both full but forced ourselves (for the sake of the reader of course) to have a pudding! I couldn't resist the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream which certainly did not disappoint.  The sauce was sticky and sweet but not overly so fully working with the creamy vanilla ice cream.  I could eat this every day!
Mr R had his pudding from the special's board - Orange & Chocolate Spotted Dick with Custard.  A really warming way to end a lovely meal on a cold and wet evening.
We were staying on a Friday evening.  Sundays, however are special with a family roast and all the traditional accompaniments.  If you are just wanting to pop in for a drink and a snack on a Sunday you can treat yourself to roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and gravy seated in the bar area!

Outside there is plenty of space for al fresco dining when the weather if a bit more accommodating and a chance to enjoy the fresh air with plenty of seating as well as a garden area with children's play equipment. All of the nine bedrooms ( two twin, four double and three superior doubles with king size beds and en suite bathrooms) are just outside along the side of the property, a quick walk to the entry to the pub.
Inside the pub has loads of seating, much of which is in secluded corners or window areas.
We were able to sit in this bar area with the dog and also the following morning we had our breakfast in this part of the pub.
Little nooks and crannies everywhere offering secluded spaces to chat.
The Specials Board serves both the restaurant and the bar eating areas. The board and the menu has a lot of seasonal game along with locally produced meat and sausages.
The restaurant has two main seating areas
served by a fully equipped bar area which is also a space to sit on the high chairs at the bar
An extensive wine list will not disappoint and just may tempt you back again and again!
The following morning, after a really great night's sleep on a very comfortable mattress we made our way into the pub for breakfast.
The breakfast menu offers a selection ranging from Belgium Waffles, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Forrestier (poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce and grilled mushrooms) and Eggs Royale (poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce and oak smoked salmon).  Also available was the Full Monty cooked English which we both had.
We packed up the car and drove away having had a lovely meal, good sleep and full breakfast.  Will we return - you bet we will!!

You can make a dinner reservation by phoning 01234 930789 or email them at

I was a guest of The Knife & Cleaver and treated to dinner, bed & breakfast.  I was not required to write a positive review. As usual all opinions and photos are my own.  Photos may not be reproduced without my written permission.


  1. This looks absolutely charming and very festive. The sticky toffee pudding gets my vote.

    1. The sticky toffee pudding was indeed awesome!! I could have that for breakfast!!

  2. What a treat to have a mini break and not have to travel far for it. Looks like you were well looked after for your stay!

    1. It was lovely not to have to travel too far on a Friday evening but we still felt as if we had a break!

  3. I think I have actually been here a while back with family and I remember it being lovely. The food is beautifully presented.

    1. I liked the fact that the menu was full of local ingredients. We found the farm shop where a lot of the meats came from and came home loaded up!

  4. What a great looking inn and restaurant! The food and accommodation both look sensational and I love that it's dog-friendly. Jonty reminds my of my mum's Bichon.

    1. It was a really lovely break and really nice that we could bring Jonty and didn't have to find a doggy sitter!

  5. Sounds like a great place to stay overnight or to have proper meal when on the road.

    I have never heard of any other dog friendly restaurants so this is definitely another plus.

    I'm very intrigued by the spotted dick dessert... I don't think I ever tried it.

    1. We have been to a couple of other dog friendly restaurants - I shall be writing about them soon!

  6. I like the sound of this place and the food looks really tasty with good menu options.

    1. It was a nice break and not too far from home!