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Wenlock Edge Inn Review ~ Shropshire

wenlock-patio1Essence of Wenlock

Essence of Wenlock

“Destination Food” is a phrase I have heard a few times before. The new Wenlock Edge Inn, certainly has a reputation for both.wenlock edge inn

Perched right on top of Wenlock Edge, rumoured to be the highest pub and restaurant in Shropshire, its refurbishment almost a year ago to the day of our visit clearly gave it a new lease of life, which is a welcome achievement, against current trends.

One of the best times of year to visit Wenlock Edge is May, the breathtaking views across towards the Wrekin to the North and Shrewsbury to the West are still visible through the fresh leaves of the dense trees which now cover the edge. Upon pulling into the large car park opposite The Wenlock Edge Inn, you can’t help but notice the fresh wild garlic which grows in abundance at this time of year around the edge of the National Trust fields, and coppice which belongs to the pub. The sun was beginning to set, and the pub looked on fire with the warmth on the cold stone.

The bar was abuzz with locals laughing and enjoying a few pints of real ale, and bar snacks – the hand cut chips on the bar looked great. We make the host aware of our arrival and our Gourmet Life booking, and she offered us the wine list, and showed us to our table in the restaurant to the rear overlooking the patio and pond.

The menu is under stated, but certainly promising. Awash with local and regional ingredients, but also with a healthy dose of fresh fish, including roasted crab fishcakes, beer battered black scallops, and even octopus salad. The meats are all from Wenlock and the surrounding areas, reassuringly hung for 28 days, which appears the reassuring bench mark nowadays in most good food pubs and restaurants.

We started with the intriguing beer battered black scallops, which can easily fall foul of being over cooked, and as my guest is a vegetarian, she chose the Open cap filed mushrooms, stuffed with seasonal peppers. My wine arrived, with a bottle of Wenlock Water, what else! I am assured that they have their own well at the Inn, but not yet tapped into it for commercial gain. By now the sun was low in the sky but still shining on the patio, with a few brave souls bearing the cool May air under the canope.

A basket of fresh homemade bread soon arrived, followed shortly afterwards by our starters. Instantly recognisable as homemade batter, out of shape and just waiting to be crunched, set on the fresh leaves and a generous portion of chilli sauce. The field mushrooms were surprisingly colourful as a dish, and again, generous in size. The taste was matched by the appearance – the scallops while crisp on the outside were perfectly tender on the inside, the delicate sweet flavour retained – not fallen foul to the inexcusable over-cooking temptation. The mushrooms were again, tender, but still juicy, and by no means tough. The wild garlic from the grounds gave the dish a freshness that can often be missed with mushrooms, which can end up just being ‘filling fungus’. Luckily due to my guests vegetarianism, I did not have to share my scallops.

Starters soon tickled off we awaited the mains – I had been intrigued by the Clonakilty white pudding mash on the duck, so I went for that, and my guest the garden pea and broad bean risotto. The rich colour theme continued with the risotto, served in a high rimmed white bowl, the peas were rich in colour and the dressed herbs made it one of the most enticing risottos I have seen for a while – and believe me, it is hard to get excited about risotto. My duck, though less ‘artistic’ is appearance certainly made up for it in all important flavour. Slightly pink on the inside with crisp edges, and the mash carried a welcomed bitterness, from the Irish white pudding. I had to try the risotto, and yes, once again, the visual presentation was matched by the taste, light, slightly garlicky and the peas were sweet and very fresh. I must admit, we did not need the side of seasonal veg, so it was a good job I did n’t go for an an extra side of the chips we saw on the way in.
Dessert was not something I could manage after earting for two, so we decided to share. Again, a good selection, from traditional apple pie and homemade custard, to apricot and lavender crumble, and our selection which was baked vanilla cheesecake.

Once again we were not disappointed on presentation, certainly not the sort of food one would expect at what was essentially an inn, but this dark horse of a restaurant delivered. The cheesecake revealed a crisp sweet base with light creamy upper, and a lingering flavour of vanilla pods which was quite Moorish.

All in all the Wenlock Edge Inn certainly lived up to its fast growing reputation as a welcoming Inn with an accomplished restaurant, which also serves pub food in the bar daily. Walkers are often spotted, with their dogs, relaxing in the bar and discussing the view, which though by now had disappeared with the sun, the glow was still resonating into the bar, and warming the locals faces, or was that the beer?

Food Style: Modern British – Focusing on regional ingredients
Most Popular Dish: Beer battered scallops
Worth knowing: Afternoon teas served with homemade scones.(pre-orders recommended) Offers: Great for: Pre and psot walks along the famous Wenlock Edge.
Accommodation: Also available from £49 per night B&B.

Tel: 01746 785 678
Web: www.wenlockedgeinn.co.uk
Address: Top of Wenlock Edge, Much Wenlock, Shropshire

How do you rate the Wenlock Edge Inn? Tell us here: http://www.dinewithus.co.uk/much-wenlock/eatingout/wenlock-edge-inn

Full review posted in Shropshire Life magazine June edition. For more info on how you can save 20% off here & 50 other Midlands venues visit: http://www.gourmet-life.co.uk

Not mushroom for much else, after this starter

Not mushroom for much else, after this starter

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