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Good Food 'North of Watford'


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Help wanted searching for fine dining north, east or west of Evesham. We will be in Evesham on business in May and are looking for somewhere good, to go on to, for dinner. North, east or west, not south, we know all the good places in that direction!

My main problem is that it has to be close to a Travelodge as my other half begrudges paying £10 an hour or more to lay his head down; he says he would rather spend it on the wines.

We had planned to go to Ludlow as there is a Travelodge only 1.5 miles out of town but it will be a Tuesday evening and both Mr Underhills and La Bécasse are closed. Any ideas - not a pub or an Indian and not in a city.

I see David Goodfellow’s by-line is “So many places, so little time" I am afraid I am getting cynical, mine is “So many places so little good” Every time I go north I am reminded of Marco’s comment “I reckon that for every mile you go out of London you go back a culinary year.” Someone prove him wrong - please! :sad:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Pam, there's plenty going on in Birmingham. Consider Turner's in Harborne, Purnell's in the City Centre, Loves in the City Centre or even the venerable Simpson's in Edgbaston. Or Lasans in the Jewellery Quarter. All will need booking in advance. Check out the Birmingham thread for more details.

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We know le champignon sauvage well, we are looking for somewhere new. We are running away from an asparagus festival Nick my husband is alergic to the stuff!

up to about 60 miles.

Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Glasshouse at Worcester?

Not "fine" and no longer with Shaun Hill but, according to the GFG, cooking is still Shaunesque.

No personal experience but a mate mentions Mallory Court at Leamington (28 miles)

John Hartley

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Pam, I'm a bit worried to recommend anywhere as The Sportsman wowed me and most others but you did not like it :blink:

I admit its hard to find good dining outside of London and as you know I travel huge distances most weeks in search of good food.

Its a real shame La Becasse is closed as we can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Sat Bains is too far away for you which is a shame because even though it is pricey on my one and only visit the food is worth a journey.

Nickloman is correct Birmingham is your best option, Purnells, Simpsons, Turners, Loves, Lasan, I've been them all and enjoyed each visit.

We had a real surprise a couple of weeks ago on a visit to Turners, the flavours were so fresh we both looked at each other in amazement both our starters were exceptional, will write it up soon. :smile:

Wherever you go as always its good to get someone else's take on their experience so I can't wait for your reviews, hopefully you will be kind :biggrin:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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David, The Sportsman wowed me the first time we went, that is why we went back. The food was still good but the service was appalling and no one explained their pricing system before we ordered - once again down to bad service, that was what I complained about. As I had told the people that we took how wonderful it was it was embarrassing to say the least.

I gather the service is now very good and I hope in some small way my moans helped to put things right and that they are going from strength to strength. It is no good to praise everything when there are holes or they will never get things right. :biggrin:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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David, The Sportsman wowed me the first time we went, that is why we went back. The food was still good but the service was appalling and no one explained their pricing system before we ordered - once again down to bad service, that was what I complained about. As I had told the people that we took how wonderful it was it was embarrassing to say the least.

I gather the service is now very good and I hope in some small way my moans helped to put things right and that they are going from strength to strength. It is no good to praise everything when there are holes or they will never get things right. :biggrin:

Pam, your a star :smile: Thanks for the explanation. I have been in that situation myself not service wise but taking friends to a raved over Michelin restaurant(admittedly a long time ago)and I was sorely let down. I felt responsible for the non event. :shock:

On a slightly lighter note I have been racking my brain to guide you to your ideal venue but so far other than the choices that I have offered I am struggling.

Will keep trying.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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pershore isnt too far from evesham at all. theres a little place called the belle house. its just good food cooked really well, always very seasonal and the service is spot on. not too expensive, the kind of place you could eat in regularly.

the washbourne hotel in lower slaughter is really nice for a al fresco drink if its a nice day, absolutley beautiful lower slaughter is. just round the hill from lords of the manor which has a star.

the glasshouse in worcester is nothing short of awful and the service is probably the worst in the county. i havent heard good things about it since about a year after it opened. some places are just doomed, when you walk past and you see a brassiere open for lunch with just 2 people in you wonder who is pouring money into a business like that to keep it open.

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Many thanks all. We lunched at Washbourne Court some years ago and it was excellent, has anyone eaten there recently? I rather favour trekking over to the Walnut Tree if nothing else comes up but there is plenty of time yet. :unsure:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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  • 3 months later...

Thank you Nick Loman for asking about The Old Mill at Shipston-on-Stour. ( You're going to love this post Nick!)

Now I know we are mad, 180 miles round trip for lunch!

Where shall we go for lunch today? We have done most of the restaurants locally, if they are rough we don’t go back, if they are good we go back often and know the menus off by heart. Most places don’t change their menu often enough - I wanted to try something different. OK said Mr B we will try Ashley James at The Old Mill, it’s only just up the M40.

An hour and a half later we were pulling into a very crowded car park in front of The Old Mill Hotel. Oh dear, we should of booked by the look of this car park. We walked in, it was very quite, reception was empty, the dining room on our left was empty, the bar on the right was empty eventually a young lady appeared. ‘A table for two for lunch?’ we asked hesitantly. Yes no problem. Where is everyone we asked commenting on all the cars outside? ‘Oh that’s a public car park not ours.’ End of mystery.

We were offered the Light Menu which is served from 12pm to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday. We started with a delicious, fresh tasting, Pea Velouté with truffle cream served with homemade breads. No salt on the table - Mr James, actually it is Mr Paynton, James is his middle name - knows his stuff, the velouté was perfectly seasoned as was the rest of our meal.

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My rare beef salad, horseradish mousse, pickled smijis and watercress salad, with a port reduction was beautifully presented - a work of art in fact. I can only say the flavours were bright, fresh and tangy all could be tasted individually but they melded together to create a beef salad extronair. Very fine potato crisps added a texture dimension against the creamy horseradish mousse and the tender beef.

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Himself’s Chicken Caesar salad with parmesan foam came with crisp wafers of thin toast and crispy bacon and some top quality anchovies. Once again a good mix of flavours and textures with the creamy dressing.

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After this success we couldn’t resist puds. I had the Pud of the Day - a butterscotch bavorois accompanied by a cider granita and an apple doughnut. Lovely flavours and contrasting textures - delicious.

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Other puds on the menu were:

Chocolate marquis, burnt orange syrup, with a sesame tuille.

Iced banana & lime parfait, with dark chocolate sorbet.

Set rhubarb and custard crumble with rhubarb sorbet -

All at £5.95 or ‘Choose three from above £5.95’ - what a super idea.

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Mr B of course had the very generous portion of each - I did help him out in the interests of research! All were of the same standard as the rest of the meal - great. The wine list is short but well chosen and very reasonable priced with low mark-ups.

Lunches are served in the bar area which has been refurbished as has the rest of The Old Mill since flooding three years ago. Ashley’s artist’s eye showed through not only in the presentation of the food but also in the décor. He has not dressed the place down in ‘olde worlde’ pub style with scrubbed tables and random odd old chairs as most would have done. One bar is decorated all white with gold and black ormolu furniture and the smaller bar is furnished in the same style. Some might say it is a bit OTT but it gives the place class. Not the sort of place you would fine the obligatory local propping up the bar.

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The restaurant and conservatory are in similar style with linen napery. The sort of place that might encourage some of these scruffy male diners you see about, with well dressed partners, to smarten up. We will definitely be back for dinner but will need the accommodation to be finished first.

Evidently evening trade is good but there was only one other family lunching and they were foreign, obviously the locals are not into quality dining at lunch time.

The photos were taken with my Kodak Easy Share Z915 - 10mpg, 10x optical zoom, with the flash on and the others diners didn’t even notice them being taken. We discussed photo taking with the French manager and he could see no problem. He says he often offers to take photos himself for customers. You boys need to get a decent camera and lighten up a bit!

Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Haha! I'm impressed with your 180 mile round-trip! Funnily enough we went on Tuesday night and there were only 2 other diners in the restaurant. But we had a pretty decent meal, might write it up in full when I have a bit more time. David Goodfellow, before you jump in your jalopy, I don't think it warrants a really long drive - but if you are in the area it's worth a go. Especially as Warwickshire seems to be a culinary desert, the only other fine dining venue I could find a short hop from Leamington Spa was Mallory Court.

Pam - keep flashing away! Live and let live I say ;)

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I love this site , I love the banter and bonhomie, its like a drug, I keep returning for more,

And so to your post Pam.

.

I like your "pickees" and love the fact you have driven so far to share your experience with us, however forgive me for pulling rank. :raz:

My round trip for lunch to The Sportsman was 436 miles. Perhaps we should start another thread on photography and distance travelled. :smile:

I love the term "Jalopy" Nickloman, it brings a smile to my face, surely your too young to use that description :biggrin:

Can't help but think you would be seriously impressed if you saw my main motor, but its too precious to put mileage on so it will never see the likes of The Sportsman. :wink:

Would be great if we could organise (through egullet of course) a meal at some time to put a face and a name to the nom de plumes.

Ideas?

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Ah, if we swapping long distance eating stories read on, mes amis.

Flight from Manchester to Amsterdam. Ate rijstaffel at Tempoe Doeloe. Overnight hotel. Flew home.

616 miles round trip. Furthest I've travelled just for a meal.

John Hartley

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I had dinner at Cafe Fish in Tobermory last night, a round trip of 626 miles from Chez Soundman!

And David, if the main car is too precious to drive, get rid of it and buy something dull enough to put miles on ;)

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