Public urged to make their vote for the best food and drink venues in Northamptonshire

Wine bottles close-up isolated over white background ENGPNL00420120222100649
Wine bottles close-up isolated over white background ENGPNL00420120222100649
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Some of the county’s finest drinking holes and dining venues are now going head to head to see who will pick up six of the prestigious venue titles in this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards – and the public are now being encouraged to vote.

The awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) and now in their seventh year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

Among the titles up for grabs are those for ‘Restaurant of the Year’ (sponsored by Whitco), ‘Spice Restaurant of the Year’ (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice) and ‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’ (sponsored by Booker) while the finalist venues in the three ‘Best Bar None’ categories (sponsored by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) are hoping for your stamp of approval to help them win the ‘Public Vote’ award!

The finalists in the ‘Best Bar None – Town Pub of the Year’ category are (in alphabetical order):

* The Abington, Northampton

* The Artizan, Northampton

* The Princess Alexandra, Northampton

* The Saxon Crown, Corby

* The Swan and Helmet, Northampton

Those in the ‘Best Bar None – Rural Pub of the Year’ category are (in alphabetical order):

* The Old Kings Head, Long Buckby

* The Sun Inn, Kislingbury

* The White Horse, Old

While those vying for the title of ‘Best Bar None – Late Night Venue of the Year’ are (again alphabetically):

* Aspers Casino, Northampton

* Bar So, Northampton

* Bootleggers, Northampton

To cast your vote for your favourite in each category, and to be entered into a prize draw to win a set of family tickets to see Cinderella at Royal & Derngate this Christmas, please visit the Awards’ website – www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk

Meanwhile the finalists in the dining venue categories are on tenterhooks as two expert Mystery Shoppers will be visiting throughout this month to assess them on everything from knowledge of staff, use of local ingredients, speed of service, and of course the quality of the food itself.

For obvious reasons, the identities of the Mystery Shoppers are being kept secret but the happy task has previously been performed by the likes of TV chef Sophie Grigson and the former editor of the Good Food Guide, Jim Ainsworth.

The finalists in the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category (sponsored by Whitco) are:

* Barton Hall Hotel and Vines Brasserie, Kettering

* Clary’s Restaurant at Aspers Casino, Northampton

* Mu Mu, Kettering

* Sophia’s Restaurant, Northampton

* Tap and Kitchen, Oundle

* The Smoke Pit, Northampton

While those in the reckoning for the ‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’ title (sponsored by Booker) are:

* The Four Pears, Little Houghton

* The Hopping Hare, Northampton

* The Plough @ Shutlanger, Shutlanger

* The Rose & Crown, Yardley Hastings

* The White Horse, Old

Lastly, those vying to be named ‘Spice Restaurant of the Year’ (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice) are:

* Bengal Brasserie, Thrapston

* Dhan Shiri, Brackley

* Mem-Saab, Northampton

* Shajahan, Wollaston

* Voujon, Long Buckby

Again, fans of those sixteen finalists are encouraged to show their support for their favourites by voting online at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk and in doing so, will also be entered into the prize draw.

Voting in all six categories closes on Sunday 4th October and the results, along with those of the other twelve categories in the competition, will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Royal & Derngate on Thursday 15th October.

For more details on all eighteen categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2015/16, including purchasing dinner tickets priced at £100 (plus VAT) or £950 (plus VAT) for a table of ten, please visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email rachel@rachelmallows.com You can also follow the Awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards