The Anchor at Wyre holds many childhood memories for me. My brother and I rolling down the bank, whilst our parents and friends sat drinking in the sun by the riverside, is the one that sticks out the most. In recent years The Anchor, which is located on the banks of the River Avon, has been better known as a pub rather than for its food, and went under several management changes last year. In September 2017 head chef / general manager Ryan, and front of house managers Luke and Luke (I bet that gets confusing) stepped in with a fresh approach to the food on offer, now serving up homemade grub and sourcing produce from local suppliers.
A real effort had been made by the new team on The Anchor’s Facebook page to showcase the menus, and post behind the scenes photos of fresh ingredients being prepared. A January offer of 15% off your total bill was a great incentive to encourage new customers and to bring back the old. It certainly worked for us and we got a table booked just in the nick of time before the end of the month (offer has sinced expired).
On the outside the pub still looked the same to us, but upon entering we immediately noticed the layout of the bar area had changed. The dining room and bar were all part of one open space, separated only by the carpet which had been laid for the restaurant. When we sat down there were a few people at the bar and only one other table filled so we weren’t sure what to expect. The staff were really friendly, cheerful and were quick to take our drinks order. Mr R told me about his memories of coming to the Anchor as a child and as a teenager and we reminisced about how much history this place had held for us both. It was Sunday afternoon, so a roast was the only choice for us, but we also wanted to get a feel for the main menu too.
Scottish Salmon Fishcake sounded good and could be ordered as a starter at £5.95 or main course at £11.50. I went with the starter size which was enormous! Inside the mixture had been quite tightly ground and although the flavour was good, I wasn’t a great fan of the texture. Just personal preference though as I love big chunky pieces of salmon, prawns etc. that I can easily identify with. The fish cake was crispy on the outside and had been deep-fried. On top was a perfectly poached egg and the yolk oozed out when I cut into it. The hollandaise sauce was really tasty too. The whole dish was an example of good pub food and the pricing is spot on in my opinion.
The smoked duck breast salad (£6.25) chosen by Mr R was really well presented, a great deal of care had been taken on both plates to make them look appetizing. All of the ingredients were fresh and colourful with a quality piece of duck breast sliced in thin manageable pieces. The crispy poached egg was excellent, and again cooked exactly as you would hope, with a lovely runny yolk. The rest of the salad was made up with purple sprouting broccoli, endive leaves and finished with kale pesto. It was a plate of food filled with flavour and goodness and again superb value for the quality and care that went into putting it together.
When it’s not a Sunday the menu offers some pub classics including a burger (definitely want to go back to give that a try), gammon, sausage & mash, fish & chips and homemade pie to name a view. Pub classics indeed, but all homemade and using produce from local suppliers such as; Westland Nurseries, Harrington Farm, Whittington Lodge and Old Pheasant Farm. This was a huge plus for us. Also on the menu are a few options if you’re in the mood for something a little different or more ‘special’. We love the sound of the Nduja Chicken Supreme (£12.95) and the Miso & Honey Glazed Pork Fillet (£13.95). The Leek, Pea & Soft Herb Risotto (£9.50) is a great vegetarian option too.
The Sunday lunch menu offers everything from striploin beef (£12.50), honey glazed gammon (£11.50), braised Cotswold lamb shank (£12.95), roast Adlingtons turkey (£11.95) and a roasted vegetable Wellington (£10.95). If you find that lot too hard to make a decision from, fear not as there is another option – you can pretty much have it all. For £26 you can get a roast sharing board for 2 which includes; a selection of roast meats with parsnip puree, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, seasonal vegetables, gravy and of course Yorkshire puddings. This sounded awesome!
Word had obviously already got out to locals that The Anchor was back on the food map as the restaurant had now begun to fill up, including a couple of large groups. We thought the ambience was great because even though the pub was so close to the dining area, neither seemed to encroach on the other. The music and general vibe also created a restaurant where people felt comfortable to bring their families and dogs, which similarly didn’t affect the enjoyment of people drinking in the pub area, which also extends around the corner.
Our waitress brought over a couple of Mammoth sized plates filling most of the table, shortly followed by the roast platter. For anyone with a smaller appetite this is not for the faint hearted and should probably come with a warning, or you might need to bring some extra people, or maybe the dog to help you out. Aside from the size of this lunch, when we started to disassemble and make up our plates and uncover everything, the food looked really good. Not only did it look good, but it tasted good too.
All of the meat was juicy and cooked really well, my favourite was surprisingly the gammon as it was more like bacon rather than the thick chunks you often get when you order it with egg and chips. There was a slice of each type of meat each and 2 huge Yorkies which were homemade, albeit a little oily on the bottoms for my taste. The swede was a smooth texture and seasoned well and a nice accompaniment. A pet hate of mine is that there are never enough vegetables on the side, but here they were plentiful and neither over cooked or al dente, they were just right.
We also got a jug of thick, proper gravy and a side of piping hot cauliflower cheese. The potatoes weren’t as crispy on the outside or as fluffy on the inside as I’d prefer, but that’s mostly down to how they’re cooked and I’m probably sounding a bit fussy. We actually did eat our way through most of the roast and both really enjoyed it. Incredible value for the quality of ingredients used and the fact that it actually is cooked by a chef and not reheated from frozen. A very good lunch indeed and I think the longest section I’ve written so far about one course!
All lazy Sundays require a good chocolatey pudding and thankfully there was one the day’s menu. We shared a dark chocolate and walnut brownie which came with toffee sauce and clotted cream ice cream (£5.50). A special thanks goes to the pastry chef who made this sensational brownie, we thought it was incredible. The oven temperature must have been just right as the brownie came out soft and squidgy, yet cooked all of the way through without any burnt bits. If you’ve ever tried making brownies, it’s actually quite hard to get them this good. A scoop of gorgeously creamy clotted cream ice cream complimented the dark chocolate beautifully with an added sweetness of the toffee pieces and candied nuts decorated over the plate. We were seriously impressed. A cheese board also followed (£8.95 to share) and this was probably the first time we’ve been unable to finish cheese due to being so full.
From our experience during this most recent visit it’s evident that the current management team at The Anchor Inn, Wyre are making a real go of things. Ryan, and the Lukes need our support, so people of Pershore and further afar please go and show them some love.
Cost: £52.65 (food only – this was enough to feed 4 easily)
2 starters, sharing board main course, 1 dessert, 1 sharing cheese board
Pershore, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in January 2018
Food hygiene rating – 5/5 very good – date of last inspection unknown
*We paid for all of our food and drinks, minus the 15% deduction from the January offer via The Anchor Inn’s Facebook page. This offer has now expired.