First-rate food goes hand-in-hand with a vibrant atmosphere at Don Paddy’s. This is the beating heart of Uppingham, and was filled to the rafters on our weeknight visit, abuzz with excited chatter and free-flowing wine. Visit in the morning and you’ll find a charming coffee shop offering cappuccinos and home-baked cakes and scones alongside brunch; by night the Champagne bottle-lined bar is alive with joyful locals.
The extensive menu offers a selection of comforting favourites, including locally sourced steaks, hearty burgers and a range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. We started with the perfectly executed scallop linguine with bacon and chives, and creamy goat’s cheese rolled in hazelnuts on a fresh poached pear salad. My main course was a succulent and satisfying shoulder of lamb, mouth-wateringly tender and served with heavenly honey-roast parsnips. For dessert, we delved into a decadent Grand Marnier-laced crème brûlée and a deliciously rich white chocolate and pistachio cheesecake.
Top-brass rugby, cricket and football memorabilia gives the place an air of sporting triumph: a shirt signed by the 2007 England Rugby World Cup team hung beside our table, and the restaurant’s support of local sports players is a warming touch in an eatery that clearly takes pride in its small but mighty county. There’s always an event happening at Don Paddy’s, including live music. Manager Benoit currently holds a French night, offering two delicious courses followed by a subtitled film in the classy private dining room upstairs.