Some thoughts on Independent restaurants, the chains and a lunch date at Terrace on the Hill with Plutonium Sox

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A few weeks ago I decided to run a little competition on Twitter asking people to comment with the name of their favourite Worcestershire independent restaurant. The lucky winner would receive £50 to spend at their chosen restaurant rather than at one of the chains or outside of the county. Don’t get me wrong here because I don’t have anything against the chains at all. I understand why people sometimes choose them over independents as they know what to expect, the prices are often cheaper than independents and they create lots of jobs in cities all over the country. These are all very valid reasons to visit the chains.

I eat at chains occasionally myself and on that note have been asked to go along to a couple of them in Worcester over the few weeks to feedback my opinion, which I happen to be looking forward to. That said, championing the independents is hugely important to me as they need all of the help they can get as they can’t always compete on price against the chains and tourists may not be willing to take a punt on somewhere they’re not familiar with.

I think that in Worcester particularly, independents do suffer as it’s such a big tourist hotspot, and therefore it’s even more important that local people support them and help them to thrive. I appreciate that most people already know this, but I still wanted to do something else to try and encourage locals to support the independents a little bit more.  I’m hoping to achieve this with the new Worcestershire Foodie Card which I launched this week. The offers are exclusive to cardholders so it gives a little extra incentive and the independents get an extra push with the promotion and marketing of the offers and card.

Mediterranean Salad at Terrace on the Hill, Malvern
Mediterranean Salad

The Twitter competition came to an end and I noticed that most of the entries were from people that I sort of knew through social media so picking a winner would be tricky. I asked my cousins 15 year old daughter to read through all of the replies and randomly select a winner for me, she chose Plutonium Sox who also happens to be a blogger (a far better one than me), who writes about her family days out, travels and the wonderful world of parenting.  I had met Natalie once before when she visited my family’s tourist attraction aka The Walled Gardens at Croome Court. When I contacted Natalie to say that she was the winner, I received an unexpected but delightful response from her as she very kindly invited me to join her at her chosen restaurant, Terrace on the Hill in Malvern.

Terrace on the Hill has been at the top of my list of places I wanted to eat for a while now. In particular I have been eager to try their pre theatre tasting menus which are on offer on Fridays and Saturday nights. I understand that these evenings are very in demand, but Mr R and I will book ahead and treat ourselves probably soon after our wedding (gosh that’s only 4 weeks away now)! It also came to by attention recently that as well as being considered one of the best fine dining restaurants in the area, Terrace on the Hill also opens for breakfast, brunch and lunch as a café Monday through to Saturday. Natalie and I agreed to meet for lunch and she pre-warned me that their cakes are something quite special.

We met at 11:30 in the morning which meant that the breakfast / brunch menus were still available and owner Marie informed us that if we were happy to wait until noon we could choose from the lunch menu if we preferred. Both menus were full of temptations and we spent possibly 20 minutes trying to decide if we were doing brunch or lunch. Natalie had been before and was tempted by one of the salads and being a Vegetarian she felt that they catered very well with some really great options. The non-veggie over here fancied something hot and filling as salad was on the menu for dinner that night and I needed something that would calm my tummy nerves as I was due to do a radio interview shortly after our lunch.

Smoked Haddock Risotto at Terrace on the Hill Malvern
Smoked Haddock Risotto

Both dishes had the absolute wow factor. Natalie’s choice of roast Mediterranean vegetable and fennel salad (£8.95) looked delicious and she assured me it was. The colours were so vibrant and the whole plate looked incredibly appetising. I wondered if I should have ordered the same, but my smoked haddock risotto with soft poached egg and hollandaise (£9.95) was absolutely marvellous. Marie also bought over a basket with a variety of freshly baked bread which was an unexpected and lovely touch. Natalie discovered a green olive inside one of the bread rolls, and although I’d already eaten my way through a wholemeal one, I rummaged through the basket to find another, this time with a Kalamata olive in the centre. Due to over doing it on the bread, both of us were completely stuffed so we weren’t able to squeeze in a piece of cake. That’s ok though because I have every intention of going back at the soonest opportunity to try out something from the brunch menu, and to introduce Mr R to a place I fell in love with from the moment I stepped inside.

The time flew by chatting with Natalie who was exceptionally lovely company, and it was fascinating to hear her story about how she turned her hugely popular blog into a full time freelance business. And if you’re reading Natalie then thank you again for not only choosing Terrace on the Hill as one of your favourite local independents, but also for choosing me as your lunch date.

I’ll be writing a full food review on Terrace on the Hill once Mr R and I have been back to try the tasting menu. If you’re thinking of paying a visit the great news is that Terrace on the Hill have exclusive offers available for cardholders of the Worcestershire Foodie Card – get yours here!