Eat My Words: We review Paten and Co, part of Knead Pubs, in Stamford
Dashed dinner plans led to a discovery of a hidden gem that must surely be one of Stamford’s best restaurants.
With an after-work dinner in the diary for a couple of weeks, I had already scoured my chosen restaurant’s menu and decided exactly what I would be eating that night.
The day was spent with my tummy rumbling and a slight lack of concentration as I watched the clock, eagerly waiting for 5.30pm to arrive.
When it got to lunchtime an unknown Stamford number called my mobile and, quickly twigging there was only one place it could be, I was ready to go through the motions of confidently confirming ‘yes I have booked a table’, ‘yes I will still be coming’ and ‘great see you then’.
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But instead to my horror I was told that my reservation had been cancelled as the business was shutting unexpectedly for the night.
The day was ruined.
Not really, but I was probably slightly hangry and being dramatic. The food I had been thinking about all day was now completely out of the question.
I called my mum (and dining partner) Tina, who told me to choose somewhere else for us to go.
With the pressure of picking somewhere looming over me, I trawled the internet looking at the different menus with a sharp eye to see if there were things we fancied. This is a harder task when you already have a set idea of what you want to eat - or maybe that’s just me.
I settled on Paten and Co, part of Knead Pubs, located in an 18th Century building in Crown Street.
Paten and Co is definitely top of my list when it comes to going out for a drink or two at the weekends – with a buzzing atmosphere and friendly staff – but I have only ever had a sandwich and a couple of small plates from there before (a bit of an insult to the establishment’s vast menu).
As we walked in we were met with a friendly welcome by the cheerful man behind the bar.
As he led us upstairs he explained that it was currently a little bit quiet, but we both tend to eat early and with the clock not even striking 6pm yet that was expected.
It was Tina’s first visit to Paten and Co and before we were even seated she had taken a shine to the interior – which is quirky and reflective of its merchant history – asking me ‘why she hadn’t been here before’?
Drinks were up first and we did a courtesy scan of the menu before ordering two pornstar martinis (of course).
We pondered the food menu before quickly settling on ‘Taste of the West’ in the For Two to Share section.
On the menu it is described as: Charcoal grilled lamb koftas, nachos with melted cheese, crispy chicken wings and barbecue pulled pork sliders, served with sriracha and lime slaw, pickles, Paten’s hot sauce, signature barbecue gravy, rosemary fries and onion rings.
After a quick debate of whether it was too meaty or too beige, our grumbling stomachs told us we would manage it and we locked in our choice.
As our friendly waitress Holly brought out the board it was a magnificent sight with a rainbow of colours, definitely not too beige.
Do we dare dig in? It looks too good to eat. We resolved this by taking a quick snap of the meal on our phones to save the memory for later and tucked in.
Quickly the neatly arranged board became a bit of a mess as we made our way around it
I found it reassuring to see there were equal amounts of everything, safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t have to fight it out for the last chicken wing.
This is probably a meal you want to enjoy with someone you know well - or you are confident has good hygiene - as all manners went out the window as we grabbed the food with our hands and barely touched our side plates.
As with any meal, I reached straight for the chips - or fries in this case - for my first bite.
They had the perfect amount of crunchiness with a hint of saltiness and rosemary. I know it is ‘just a chip’ but I think you can get a feel for a place on what their chips are like. If they do this well, it’s a good sign.
Then it was onto the nachos which we dipped into the hot sauce - which believe me was true to its name - followed by a crispy onion ring.
The barbecue gravy was missing from the platter but we were so captivated by the rest of the meal we didn’t notice.
The lids were lifted off the sliders as we made way for some of the beautifully pink pickled onions and cabbage which paired well with the smokey pulled pork.
Tina gnawed on her lamb kofta straight from the stick while I took it off so it could be enjoyed with some of the green leaves it had been nestled on.
Starting to feel rather full, it was time to taste test the crispy chicken wings, which were the final bowl left to tuck into. The only chicken wings I have tried before have been from a greasy takeaway so this was certainly a step up.
With the platter now empty and barely a crumb left, our plates were cleared.
While our appetites were well and truly sated, the food sat nicely in our tummies and we weren’t left with that ‘too full’ icky feeling.
Paten and Co exceeded our expectations and will definitely be getting more business out of the two of us.
Scores (out of five):
Food: We were not disappointed by the food, in fact it is one of the best meals I have had in years. It was just the right amount of food for two hungry people and was appealing to the eyes as well! *****
Decor: The quirky decor is part of what makes the place. Even on a fairly quiet Thursday night the atmosphere is brilliant. *****
Staff: The two staff who served us were both lovely and happy to answer any questions. *****
Price: Although a bit on the pricey side at £49.95, we were certainly not left hungry after our visit to Paten and Co. Our cocktails were £11 each which is pricey, but in line with the costs at other town bars. ****