It’s been months since I’ve eaten a Sunday roast and although it hasn’t exactly been the weather for it recently with the soaring 30 degree temperatures, a roast was just want I fancied on our way home from a weekend break in Broadway at The Fish Hotel. I grew up in a village called South Littleton and lived there for most of my life until leaving the family home at 18. North Littleton unsurprisingly is just down the road and it was also where my brother, best friend and I spent most of our weekends. Fast forward 18 years and as far as I can remember I don’t think I’ve ever been back to that little village, but remember very well the lovely pub where we all used to play and sit outside in the summer. The Ivy Inn has been unoccupied for almost a year in more recent times, that was until Zaheer Shah took it over in May 2018 with the help of general manager Cheryl and head chef Stephen.
I’d seen a few photos of how lovely the pub was looking in a County Lifestyle and Leisure Magazine article, and I started to follow The Ivy Inn on Instagram to get a feel for what sort of food they were now serving. The roast beef looked divine! When Cheryl got in touch to ask if we’d like to go over and give some feedback on the food we were really pleased we were able to tie in a visit during a rare weekend off work, and took a trip down memory lane. We had the dog with us, so Cheryl explained beforehand that we would be welcome to sit in the bar although they are unable to take reservations in the bar area. We decided to try our luck and arrived as they opened at midday on the Sunday and we were able to secure a comfortable table in the corner. There was a dog bowl filled with water on the floor next to us and Cheryl bought some treats over for Holly, so she was happy.
There was a really good choice on the menu and Cheryl also explained that they had a few portions of cod left as the fish of the day and once the portions were sold it then it would be hake on offer. My starter of white wine poached pear & toasted walnut salad (£6.50) was light, fresh and flavoursome. I loved the simplicity of the dish and was delighted not to see a rocket leaf in sight. The rosemary sour dough croutons had been homemade and the salad tossed in a delicious Worcester blue cheese dressing. It was an ideal starter to get my taste buds going before my roast that followed.
Mr R on the other hand opted for a seemingly stodgier appetiser of pork belly & clam linguine (£7.50), which when it arrived wasn’t in fact stodgy at all. The rolled strings of pasta came served on a slim rectangular plate, keeping the portion size light and manageable, remembering it was a starter. The white wine & parsley sauce coated the pasta, with the pork belly and clams giving a contrast of texture and bringing together an interesting and wonderful flavour to the palette. This was a great introduction to The Ivy Inn and we were both excited to see if the same standard of cooking would be carried through to the mains.
It had. I mean just look at the photos. Mr R’s Hyderabadi Lamb Shoulder (£15.50) was a curry, and a very tasty curry at that. he knew with it being a shoulder cut that the meat would be a little fatty, and subsequently very delectable. The portion was large so he didn’t manage to finish it especially along with the toasted panch pooran roll that came on the side, but it was a really very good curry. He did comment to say that he may have preferred rice, but that’s because he’s not that much of a bread person, but I am so would have been quite happy with the bread if I’d ordered the dish myself.
The roast (£15.95) looked absolutely remarkable and came with all of the trimmings including roast potatoes cooked in beef dripping, a Yorkshire, cauliflower cheese, buttered chantenay carrots and mixed leeks & peas. All of the vegetables were gorgeous. A half portion is also available for children or adults with lighter appetites at £7.95-£8.45 depending on your choice of meat. Cheryl pre-warned me that the striploin of beef would be served pink which I said was fine, although it was ever so slightly rarer than I had expected, however the meat was carved so finely that it turned out to be spot on. Every element of the roast was tremendous in terms of cooking, presentation and value, including the red wine jus which I adored for its rich flavour, but found there to be just too much of it due to its intensity. I did feed this comment back to Cheryl and suggested maybe serving it in a separate jug on the side or a smaller amount as once it had soaked into the potatoes and Yorkshire it became quite heavy and I wasn’t able to finish my plate. Probably a good thing in hindsight since I still can’t fit into my wedding dress! Hence we declined opting for something from the pudding menu on this occasion.
We didn’t get to meet Stephen although he did pop out to the bar briefly to chat to a few of the locals. He seemed to be a very popular guy, and it’s no surprise considering the fantastic food he’s brought to their village pub. By the time we were leaving the bar area was full of locals drinking and people arriving for tables which had been booked in the restaurant. The Ivy Inn is a gorgeous pub serving marvellous food and is run by people who really seem to care about keeping their local community together.
Disclosure – In the interest of being entirely transparent, despite being ‘invited’ to sample the food in return for a review we repeatedly offered to pay for our food and drinks in full, however Cheryl insisted that the bill was on her. Without wishing to cause any embarrassment we graciously accepted her kind offer and have every intention of returning and paying our way.
Cost: £45.45 (food only)
2 starters, 2 mains
Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in July 2018
Food hygiene rating – 4/5 good – date of last inspection 27th June 2018