Eleanor Richmond is head chef of trendy gastropub, The Fox Hole – which she co-owns with her partner, Jack Bowles. The pair have just launched their new menu and give Savour readers a flavour of what to expect
Summer’s here and to celebrate, chef Eleanor Richmond has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen. The head chef and co-owner of The Fox Hole, in Piercebridge near Darlington, loves nothing more than creating new flavours and changes her menu seasonally.
“We sell a lot more fish in the summer and, of course, we put on an array of lighter dishes,” said Eleanor, who opened The Fox Hole in 2014 after two year’s travelling around Asia and Oceania.
Her rack of pork dish features braised chicory and Manchego, parmentier potatoes and apple crisp black pudding while samphire, spinach, crushed potatoes and crab bisque sauce accompany her grilled fillet of sea trout.
“We recognise that we’re very much in the heart of the community here, so while there is a restaurant, we also have the flagstoned ‘Wellie Bar’ welcoming all and their dog to enjoy a pint and sausage roll. There’s also doggie beer, treats and a bed on offer for those four legged friends!”
Top-quality local produce is offered throughout the restaurant and Wellie bar. On the new menu is also pig cheek with black pudding rillette, Thai fishcakes, chicken liver parfait and a divine looking chocolate and hazelnut delice.
While some of Eleanor’s inspiration comes from her time spent travelling with Jack around Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and India, she’s also influenced by the land around her.
“The pub overlooks Piercebridge Organic Farm which is where we get our eggs from. We can see out into the fields behind us, which is where some of the meat we buy is reared by Tees View. We also use a range of other, local suppliers such as William Peat Butchers in Barnard Castle,” said Eleanor, whose career spans from the Yorke Arms, in Ramsgill in Nidderdale to the prestigious RAC Club in Pall Mall, London.
A perfectionist at heart, Eleanor not only lets her creative juices flow when it comes to food; her artistic flair shows in the design of The Fox Hole, too.
“We wanted to create something striking,” she said. Inside, flagstone flooring, white brick tiles, comfy leather sofas, exposed brick walls and quirky lighting give the place an industrial-chic look.
“Our aim was to create a relaxed environment where people can enjoy good food,” said Eleanor. And that’s exactly what her and Jack have done.
A range of natural and organic wines are available to complement dishes and there’s a good choice of gin too.
Food is served Monday to Wednesday from noon – 2.30pm and 6pm – 9.30pm; Thursday to Saturday from noon to 9.30pm; and Sunday from noon to 4pm.