When we visit the welcoming bar area is occupied with guests sitting on the comfortable leather sofas next to the open fireplace. We order pre-dinner drinks and are handed smoked salmon, cream cheese, horseradish and dill scone canapes.
A charming black and white 15th Century medieval house on the main road in Ombersley, Worcestershire, has been occupied by fine dining restaurant ‘The Venture In’ since 1998. The restaurant holds 2 AA rosettes and has entries in both the Michelin and Good Food Guides as well as having an impressive 5 star TripAdvisor rating. All of these accolades have been retained since they were first awarded within the first few months of opening the restaurant 19 years ago.
Head chef and owner, Toby Fletcher, has a philosophy of sourcing as much local produce as possible to create his inventive Anglo-French cuisine dishes. Inspired by a year spent in Australia, Toby’s love for seafood gave him the idea to host fortnightly fish evenings every other Wednesday at The Venture In, as well as offering daily fish specials using fresh fish sourced from a local fish market.
Fixed price menus are changed regularly with two courses for £29 or three for £33 at lunch and £43 for the three course dinner menu, to include filter coffee, infusions and petit fours. On the dinner menu you can expect to see dishes such as roast octopus and chorizo with roast spiced red pepper, balsamic and basil oil dressing to start. An example of a main course is roast breast of Gressingham duck with a leg meat, apple and sage bob bon, port jus and pickled apple. A market fresh fish option is available, and an additional 4 specials that are not listed on the main menu.
When we visit the welcoming bar area is occupied with guests sitting on the comfortable leather sofas next to the open fireplace. We order pre-dinner drinks and are handed smoked salmon, cream cheese, horseradish and dill scone canapes. There is plenty of choice on the menu and we are also told about the 4 extra starter specials and the fish main course specials.
My soup of the day starter is gazpacho with a prawn and basil tian. The strikingly bright pink broth is bursting with Mediterranean flavours. The tian made up of prawns, tomatoes and fresh herbs tasted wonderfully refreshing. Across the table the special of beef carpaccio is looking vibrant, dressed with shaved parmesan, balsamic, olive oil, green peppercorns and leaves. The distinctive peppery taste was a talking point as the flavours were a match made in heaven.
We also both ordered specials for our main courses, mine being the seabass with truffle mash, lobster bisque and scallops. The fish was cooked a little too long for my preference, but every other component on the plate made up for this, in particular the truffle infused mash which was divine. My partner’s assiette of fish was served in a tomato and fennel based bouillabaisse, surrounded by butter beans. Both fish dishes were served with an intense yellow saffron, curried aioli and a plate of tempura vegetables, with the light batter seasoned with a cumin crumb.
Overhearing restaurant Manager, Jonathan Hancock, telling the couple sitting behind us that the lemon tart was particularly good, I couldn’t resist ordering one for myself. The elegant tart is made with a sharp lemon curd encased in a thin homemade pastry shell and finished with crispy caramelised sugar on top. It came with a delicate biscuit basket, filled with sweet meringue ice cream. We also opted for the Valrhona chocolate and raspberry marquise with raspberry ripple ice cream. The taste reminding us of the yummy screw ball from the ice cream van that we had both loved so much as kids. We passed on the coffee and asked for our petite fours to take home, which arrived at our table in a swan shaped foil parcel.
The real beauty of The Venture In is the restaurant’s traditional old world charm. The cooking is not about fancy techniques but letting the fresh, quality ingredients shine.
Cost: £86 3 courses (food only)
The Venture In’s sample menus
Ombersley, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in August 2017
Food Hygiene rating –is Very Good 5/5 – last inspected 19th February 2016