Buon Cibo! Sicilian chef Salvatore Santamaria and wife and business partner Ruth Philbin-Santamaria have swapped the verdant vineyards of Chianti, Tuscany for the rolling hills of Rutland to bring an authentic Italian dining experience, fused with rustic quirkiness, to the county!
Salvatore is an internationally acclaimed Chef whose exciting career has spanned over 4 decades and his passion and creativity have resulted in many great gourmet discoveries resulting in a crafted blend of the best of Italian, international cuisine and many classic English favourites on the menu. The Country Lounge specials board is the foodie “go to” for new and regular clientele alike.
Ruth looks after you front of house and is also a Chef and nutritional advisor. Together they cook up some delightful treats for absolutely any dietary requirement, allergy or intolerance.
In fact, Country Lounge has a very impressive range of freshly made dishes for those who require gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Salvatore and Ruth also excel at providing personalised menus and events of all sizes from family birthday parties to weddings, corporate dinners and Christmas parties.
Delicious fresh and authentic food
That’s the ethos and fundamental values behind this new go to venue that the two restauranteurs have created in Rutland.
Ruth Philbin – Santamaria originally hails from Melton Mowbray, and met husband Salvatore Santamaria on what was ostensibly a year long work experience in Italy but ended up lasting 35 years.
Ruth fell in love not only with Salvatore, but with the whole Italian job: the people, culture, language, climate and landscapes which influenced her passion for healthy natural ingredients, great food and wines. The couple lived in Tuscany where they ran a full organic farm estate (Agriturismo) with tourist complex, farm animals, vineyards and olive groves in the Chianti region, farming the land to integrate their animals’ diets and providing their family and tourists, on site restaurant and farm shop with meats, eggs, wine, olive oil and fresh fruit, veg & herbs.
A combination of prurito ai piedi (itchy feet) and the desire for new business challenges led them to move to England and to Rutland, where they sought a fresh challenge. Fresh is the operative word, too, for they still source a lot of their olives and cured meats from their old estate and source their produce through the same rigid values and criteria as ever.
This venue is an ex roadside diner on the A47 and is easily reachable with ample parking. Salvatore and Ruth fell for the venue’s location and unique quirkiness and purchased it in May 2016 revamping and up branding its provision of food introducing a fusion of Tuscan-inspired cuisine and quality English rustic dining. One of the synergies between the two styles of food is that the provenance of ingredients used throughout the menu is crucial to ensuring top quality. As well as their Tuscan and Italian produce, names like Owen Taylor Derbyshire farms, M & J Seafoods, The Veg Factor, Total Produce and The Grainstore Brewery are also called upon to supply the restaurant.
How to find us
Country Lounge is situated just off the A47 at Morcott, pretty much equidistant between Peterborough and Leicester, and just a stone’s throw from Oakham and Uppingham.
For both daytime and evening dining, with extensive mouth watering offers to suit all tastebuds: The menu is a well-judged and cleverly balanced blend of both English and Italian favourites – hand-raised pies, beer battered cod loin fillet with chips, gammons and beautiful steaks – scrumptious seafood dishes, pastas, traditional lasagne, Crispy pork Milanese and Chicken saltimbocca.
Also featuring healthy options such as the ‘rainbow on a plate’ concept dishes created by qualified Nutritional Advisor Ruth. All allergies, intollerances and specific dietary needs are happily catered for at the Country Lounge. The Chef’s specials board is an immediate go to for regulars and new customers alike. Open from Breakfast through to Dinner, there’s always something delicious to feast on here!
Sundays star our epic Sunday roasts with all the trimmings and with really exciting combinations for vegetarians and Vegans alike! The Sunday lunch menu always features a good range of alternative dishes for those who want something different and the full pizza menu is also available.
Last but not least and hugely popular is Country Lounge Pizzeria! Salvatore’s signature dough “fatta in casa” for traditional thin crust Italian pizzas which are cooked to perfection in our traditional Italian wood fired pizza oven. There are over 35 pizzas on our menu including deluxe specials and gluten free bases.
Inside Country Lounge
The bright and beautiful, yet cosy daytime ambiance gives way to wonderful sunsets over the valley and candlelight during evening service. Country Lounge offers capacity of up to 150 over the two elegantly rustic dining areas with unique and quirky décor designed to make you feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed..
The new function room was opened in April 2017, providing not only an upmarket restaurant area to supplement the lounge, but a chic yet cosy cocktail area where one can delight in the stunning choice of wines and cocktails, Italian coffees and herbal teas. This room is purpose built to offer private dining and event catering, an area where Salvatore and Ruth delight in creating beautiful memories for their customers!
Outside Country Lounge
Customers often say you can imagine you’re in Tuscany and downright forget you’re right next to the A47 as they sit on the patio enjoying a coffee in the sunshine and listening to feel good music surrounded by olive trees, roses and other scented planting….
Although Country Lounge has successfully rebranded as a Restaurant, Pizzeria and Bar, totally losing the old services and café reference and its daytime only implication, Salvatore and Ruth love to welcome people in even just for a coffee and a quick toilet stop as new customers are always surprised and thrilled with the venue, its comfortable relaxing atmosphere and feel good vibes and upon seeing beautiful dishes emerging from the kitchen they decide they’ll soon be back!
In fact Country Lounge, because of its location, has already become a very popular meeting place and is highly renowned for its excellent Italian coffees and selection of organic teas although the dining experience is its forte.
But enough said, whatever time you visit, you’ll be glad you did. As the sun streams in through the floor to ceiling glass doors and Salvatore’s food shines just as brightly, it really is like having a little Tuscan experience right here in the county!
Meet the Executive Chef
* Salvatore, Chef Patron of Country Lounge
Experience of food:
Born in Sicily, Salvatore Santamaria moved to Varese in Northern Italy where he met Ruth whilst at the helm of two successful venues.
The dynamic duo then settled down in Tuscany where they ran their Agriturismo farming estate and grew all of their own produce for their tourist business and restaurant before moving to England in 2015 and buying Country Lounge in 2016.
Salvatore’s food heaven:
“Exploring new places, shopping for fresh produce and creating dishes to highlight and enhance natural flavours. Pair all that with a great wine and that is heaven!”
Salvatore’s food hell:
“Fast food, junk food, anything processed or ready made or that comes out of a packet. We are mindful Chefs who study good nutrition on a daily basis. We are what we eat and we really care about what our customers eat. Don’t get me started…….!”
Open for business
Breakfast and Daytime Service
- Mondays 5pm – 10 pm (Kitchen closes at 9pm)
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11am – 10 pm ( Kitchen closes at 9pm)
- Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9.00am – 10pm (Kitchen closes at 9pm)
- Sundays 9am – 5pm (Kitchen closes at 3.30 pm)
Country Lounge Restaurant,
Pizzeria & Bar, Glaston Road,
On the menu
- Homemade Antipasto Board; garlic bread, olives, sundried tomatoes, Parma ham, pepperoni £9.99
- Cod, Salmon & Spring onion fishcake served with dressed salad and sweet chilli sauce £6.99
- Individual hand raised steak & ale pie with a bed of mashed potato with beef jus & seasonal veg £14.99.
- Traditional Italian Lasagne with a side of mixed salad £13.99
- Pan-seared seabass fillet with zest Lime & coriander dressing served with baby potatoes and mangetout £16.99
Pizzas: Rutland; (tomato salsa, mozzarella, ham, double yolker egg) £15.95
Truffle Bianco: (fresh cream, mozzarella, white Alba truffle sauce, wild mushrooms, Parma ham) £17.95.
- Lemon & Limoncello sorbet
- Bread & butter pudding with custard £6.95.
- NB: Featured dishes are subject to change.