The Waterdine has a strong reputation in the foodie world, despite the fact that it feels as if it’s in the middle of nowhere.
While it is well supported by the local community, it also regularly attracts diners from further afield, including Birmingham and even London.
Where possible, the restaurant sources supplies locally and benefits from the quality of the produce on their doorstep.
Much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs are even grown in the restaurant’s own garden by Ken’s dedicated (and long-suffering) wife Isabel.
The lure of the food draws visitors along narrow, windy, awkward and yet incredibly picturesque lanes towards one of Shropshire’s most remote villages. While the location may not be central, the food certainly is.
A new breed of chef!
By Trystan Jones
The Waterdine at Llanfair Waterdine is the place for foodies.
Tom Dyckhoff The Guardian,
Surely things didn’t taste this good in the olden days? J had the ham hock, hyssop and parsley terrine. This tasted so right it was as if the pig had been born in terrine form, and all you had to do was wait till it stood still near a bush of parsley then slice off its hock. The jelly, the ham, the herbs, they all tasted so integrated, so rich, but not oppressive. It was marvellous.
Zoe Williams Telegraph
Adams’ menu is a simple affair. He offers four choices of starter, main and dessert and offers a simple appetiser and no-frills petite fours. That means he can ensure his produce is fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced.
Oh, and in these credit crunch-induced times of austerity, he outflanks rival restaurants by offering all of that for just £32.50. Among restaurants operating in that price bracket, it offers by some distance the best value in the region.
The Waterdine is a long way from anywhere and so the question diners need an answer to is this: Is it really worth the trip? The answer is an emphatic yes. For celebrations, cosy and intimate diners or parties, it knocks spots off its rivals
Top-quality ingredients form the backbone of the ambitious menu, which might open with breast of squab pigeon on parsley risotto or hazelnut mousse with melon and elderflower dressing before rack of Shropshire lamb with couscous or roast fillet of turbot on leek confit with girolles. To close, expect iced apricot parfait, crisp lemon curd tart or blackcurrant soufflé. The Waterdine still serves real ales, although the wine list is the main attraction for most drinkers; choice is global and there’s a handy selection by the glass and half-bottle.
It’s superlative – as always.
Arrived after a long journey from Suffolk to be met at the door by a very helpful and personable member of staff. This was very much the tone of the whole weekend.
The Waterdine is a comfortable inn set on the banks of the Teme and has breathtaking views across the surrounding hills. Whilst not 4* it is comfy and clean and offers a great way to de-stress. You can sit in the garden and listen to the burbling of the river or explore some of the amazing walks.
In the evening the restaurant has a great wine list and we were very impressed by the cooking of Ken Adams and his young protégé Tom Kinghorn (a name to remember for the future). The food was excellent, produce well sourced and well served.
Do visit the Waterdine you will not regret it; I’m certainly going back soon.
Oh and I forgot to mention that the breakfasts here are the best I have ever had. Where else do you get Omelette Arnold Bennett?
This idyllic 16th century drovers’ inn includes the flagstoned and beamed Garden and Tap dining rooms, both with bucolic views of the river Teme. Chef Ken Adams modern British style of cooking offers must-have dishes such as Gloucester Old Spot terrine with black fig and raspberry chutney; breast of squab pigeon with risotto and beetroot, and filleted dover sole stuffed with smoked salmon served with crayfish sauce. Cornish crab cannelloni with chive sauce or roast fillet of turbot on leek confit tempt further. A trio of black cherry puddings or iced apricot parfait brings a meal here to a satisfyingly sweet end. The short, well-chosen wine list includes helpful tasting notes.
First, 10 miles from the source, on the river.s left bank and four miles north-west of
Knighton (in Wales), is The Waterdine at Llanfair Waterdine. The inn with rooms,
once simple cottages, is in Shropshire but has a Welsh postcode! Decades ago I knew the 16C pub as the Red Lion (see my Best of Britain guide, p126). The Waterdine.s present hosts are the so-likeable Ken Adams and his wife Isabel. He.s a talented chef; she.s a friendly lady with life-long River Teme links (ask her).
A few years ago they made a culinary name for themselves at Ludlow.s Oaks restaurant (now named Hibiscus and the home of Claude Bosi).
The bonuses are many: attention-to-detail cooking; refurbished bedrooms with
en-suite facilities; and, at breakfast, an idyllic Teme-side setting where the only
sounds are birdsong and the river chuckling happily as it flows merrily eastwards.
For many clients a Michelin star is long overdue; what is certain is that Ken has
long been a holder of a richly-deserved Bib Gourmand award. Access his website
and smack your lips as you ponder the many menu permutations: witness his well
out of the ordinary .Bar Menu. at lunchtime; his polished .Ploughman.s.; the
remarkable RQP (rapport qualité-prix) .Sunday Lunch Menu.; and his .Restaurant
Menu., at lunch and dinner, which allows him to show off a wide choice of varied
treats: sea bass, Trelough duck from Herefordshire, Cornish crab, local lamb,
Longhorn beef and many others. Breakfasts are among Britain.s best.
Look, too, at his latest .Deals., which offer some great short-break stays. Parking.
Terrace. Riverside garden.
Time Out’s guide to the UK’s best diners comes out next week. Here are some of their favourites
For the view alone, it would be hard to beat the rear dining room at this 16th-century drovers’ inn. Head chef Ken Adams’ short, seasonal three-course menu is formed from local ingredients (herbs, vegetables and fruit come from the garden) and imaginative twists on traditional fare. Fillet of brill wrapped in smoked salmon was perfectly done, as was herb risotto with balsamic roast vegetables.
Waterdine Inn, a flower-traced 16th-century longhouse, is nestled well and truly in the back of beyond, with the River Teme border with Wales trickling in the back garden the only reminder of an outside world. Expect a warm welcome that’s helpful to a fault, and lovely cottage-style rooms with low ceilings, wooden furniture and springy beds.
Gastropubs are better than French bistros, says Ronay
By Terri Judd
Fuelling our long-running rivalry with our cousins across the Channel, a new guide claims British gastropubs serve better food than many traditional French bistros.
Turning his attentions to gourmet watering holes for the first time, the country’s most famous critic, Egon Ronay, praised the most dramatic change to British eating habits for half a century.
Friendly pub staff give customers a warmer welcome than some “surly” waiters in France, according to his latest guide, published today.
“The question is, where have all these good, often outstanding cooks been hiding all this time?” it asked.
Mr Ronay launched a direct jibe yesterday at French President Jacques Chirac, who famously said of Britain in the run-up to the Olympic bid announcement: “After Finland, it’s the country with the worst food.”
Describing the emergence of gastropubs, he retorted: “Though around for some time they are a phenomenon, having spread explosively with a surprisingly high standard of cooking and warm-hearted atmosphere – altogether the biggest change in the catering scene in my fifty years’ experience as a restaurateur and critic.
“And it shows how hasty and ill-informed President Chirac’s condemnation earlier this year of the British food scene has been.”
Reflecting this rising scene, the Egon Ronay’s 2006 Guide to the best restaurants and gastropubs in the UK now includes star ratings for the latter. It named the Star in Harome, North Yorkshire, as 2006′s best gastropub, praising its story-book charm, smiling efficiency and ” original creations, every morsel bursting with flavour”. China Tang at the Dorchester in London was named as top restaurant.
While none of the gastronomic hostelries have been deemed to merit three stars – an honour only held by four restaurants – 10 fall in the two-star category. They often produce food of restaurant standards despite having considerably less space and resources, the guide said.
Quoting such delicacies as “lobster ravioli with gossamer-thin pasta, foamy shellfish broth and crunchy, tender young fennel”, the guide stated: “Amazingly, these delights are created mostly in kitchens a fifth or even a tenth of the size of those in grand restaurants, yet frequently producing food that achieves the same standards.”
Praising the unstuffy informality of pubs, it continued: “The great importance and the greatest difference from French bistros – which strike you as soon as you cross the threshold – lie in the immediate friendliness and heartiness of the welcome, often by the family of the proprietor.”
The top 10 gastropubs
The Alma, Wandsworth, London
Black Boys Inn, Hurley, Berkshire
Bull’s Head, Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire
Guinea Grill, Mayfair, London
The House, Islington, London
The Salisbury, Kilburn, London
The Star, Harome, North Yorkshire
Three Fishes, Mitton, Lancashire
The Waterdine, Llanfair Waterdine, Shropshire
Yorke Arms, Ramsgille, North Yorkshire
We stayed for dinner, bed and breakfast in this quiet restaurant with rooms in an out of the way and beautiful village on the Shropshire/Welsh border. The rooms are simple and traditional, but warm and comfortable with vase of country flowers to greet us. The three course dinner good and generous. A very nice breakfast with lots of choice. Friendly service. We enjoyed some local walks and were lent a map to help us find our way.
The welcome is natural and genuine. The beam ceilinged rooms are basic but very comfortable. It isfor the food, however, that the world beats a path to this door. Using fresh local game and Cornish sea food the cuisine is French inspired. We arrived to the smell of fantastic baking. You walk past the kitchen to get up the narrow stairs giving you a chance to see in and chat to the avuncular Ken at work.For Dinner we had Foie Gras, and Haddock and Scallop Chowder as starters. Roast Pheasant and Confit of duck for mains. They were fantastic. Desserts were exquisite. The surroundings are unpretentious and simple, the waiting on table straightforward and polite. No snobby maitre d here, just great , great food. This is one of the best meals I have ever eaten. Breakfast is excellent too. Go! Well worth the trip.
Llanfair Waterdine, Shropshire 01547 528214; www.waterdine.com Ken and Isabel Adams’ old drovers’ inn offers terrific modern British cooking. A Welsh long house by design, it’s set right on the border of Wales and England. Ken’s short, imaginative menu offers a seasonal selection of the best the area has to offer, featuring delicious homegrown local or organic produce.
Llanfair Waterdine, Knighton, Shropshire
White timbered country pub, with low ceilings and a cottagey feel. The peaceful setting, on the Welsh marshes, is everything here. Good linen and fresh flowers in the dining-room. You’ll have to book.
Set dinner £32.50
House wine From £15
Plus Pretty garden with lots of home-grown vegetables
Minus Lunchtimes could be a bit buzzier
Reservations 01547 528214