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Where William Sitwell goes

The food writer and MasterChef judge has called the village of Weston, in neighbouring Northants, home all his life. Fancy a peek into his personal Little Black Book?

William with Warwick the pig
Willlam and Warwick the pig

William has been a champion of the Northants foodie scene for many years and has just launched what he describes as the world’s smallest wine store, Williams House Wines. Until recently, he also hosted an acclaimed supper club in his family home Weston Hall (it’s now on the market for a cool £3.25m FYI). Fancy a peek into William’s Little Black Book? Don’t mind if we do. 

The Crown Inn, Weston

crown weston

Of all the pubs in the county, The Crown is my favourite. It has great ale, pork scratchings, wonderful company – the food’s not too shabby either – plus from our home, Weston Hall, I can get there in around 30 seconds. All through my teens and beyond I was always insistent that my friends came to The Crown and they were never disappointed – immediacy can be vital, and not having to drive a blessing. Weston has a wonderful community and in good times, when there are no plagues, The Crown is filled with the great characters of the village. As we’re selling our family home and leaving this is one aspect of the county I shall really miss.

Dhan Shiri, Brackley and Dilraj, Towcester

Dhan Shiri Brackley

Indian restaurants: I’ll pick two of these. I’ve always loved the Dhan Shiri in Brackley and in Towcester, the Dilraj. They both have wonderful service, excellent chefs and delicious curries and plenty of green chillies for my favourite off-menu choice of green chilli masala. I enjoy the pain and sweat of a spicy dish, although my brain and my body are not as one on the issue. Though the new décor at Dhan Shiri – walls surrounded by floating bubbles – is a little dizzying to dine in. 

Mumford and Sons

Mumford and Sons Culworth
Not the band…

I’ve known Mumfords of Culworth all my life. And when they say they are ‘noted for their sausages’ trust me, it’s true. While they have a small shop in Culworth it’s their vans that are the gems of the business. When friends stay they can’t believe that the butchers come to you door knocking and you can step in to their van and buy everything from chicken to cheddar. The selection is small and perfect, the staff so friendly and it’s the definition of convenience.

Smith and Clay

Smith and Clay
David Barnett of Purston Lamb and Stephen Smith of Smith and Clay – experts in their field. 

For unrivalled passion and quality I have to single out Smith and Clay, in Brackley (with its sister shop in Buckingham). They champion and support local producers, in particular Purston Lamb, and make wonderful pies and sausage rolls. A visit to their shop makes you wonder why you’d ever even consider buying meat in a supermarket.

Bell Plantation, Towcester

Bell Plantation Towcester

This is my favourite garden centre. It’s got a great café but it’s also where you can pick up good poultry, when the fox has gobbled up your hens. They sell a great range of plants and there’s a very good little booze shop at the front, The Towcester Mill Brewery shop. At Christmas this place really comes alive, it’s wonderful to take young kids and after a visit to the neighbouring pet shop and the little antiques market you can spend a whole morning here.

The Old Hall Bookshop, Brackley

The Old Hall Bookshop Brackley

Independent bookshops are a fount of civilisation so I always think you should pop by one if you can before the default option of Amazon. In Northamptonshire, this one is my favourite, it’s in a beautiful old building in the centre of the town. The ground floor rooms are used to house the collections so you really can hide away and ponder before buying the latest novel, a book for your nipper, or an old tome for a present. There’s also a large section on local history, if that’s your thing. 

Tune in to William’s weekly podcast, Biting Talk, featuring the biggest names and up-and-coming talent in the food world.

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