We visited Pensons Restaurant at The Netherwood Estate on behalf of WR Magazine to review the restaurant, which can be found on pages 8-9 of the winter 2019 issue of the magazine. Here’s what we thought…
A brand new fine-dining restaurant marked its arrival in rural Worcestershire back in January 2019, with news of a talented London chef heading up the kitchen. Having spent much of his career working at some of the world’s finest restaurants, Chef Lee Wescott has brought with him a wealth of experience to the new restaurant, as well as shared values to the team’s aspiration of showcasing the best local ingredients available.
The newly restored Pensons Restaurant sits on the 1,200 acre historic Netherwood Estate, which dates back to medieval times, and is situated in the farm buildings which had been dilapidated following a 35 year period of dereliction as a result of changes in agricultural practices. A two year restoration project and vision by Peta Darnley, who runs the estate, has seen an incredible transformation, which pays homage to the heritage of the farm which once surrounded it.
On our evening visit the five course tasting menu (£60 per person) begins with a series of ‘snacks’ including a crispy fish skin cracker topped with tiny dots of smoked cod, oyster and dill. Each mouthful delivers an explosion of flavours and textures expertly designed to keep you excited and eager for the following courses.
Paired wines can be matched for an additional £35 per person, and a longer seven course menu is also available at £75 per person on the weekends. A three course dinner menu is on offer on Wednesday and Thursday, and if you visit for lunch you can take advantage of the two course menu (£27) or 3 courses (£32), as well as the longer tasting menus.
Pensons restaurant may have only been open for a few months, but already their sourdough course served with Marmite butter and roasted yeast has quickly become a signature staple, which I hear so many people rave about, and now I understand why.
Each course flows between very well timed intervals, starting with the scallop, yeast, apple and monk’s beard. The next dish is the plaice, courgette, mussels and sticolli, and finally the Herefordshire Hardwick lamb is served before finishing with two magnificently fresh desserts, and petit fours. All dishes are unique, and very well executed. It is clear that lots of thought has gone into both the creation of the menu and the presentation.
Everything is in the detail at Pensons. Whilst admiring the stunning plates and crockery, our server catches me turning them over to see where they are made, and we share a joke with her throughout the meal. We’re told that the forged carbon stainless steak knives are individually crafted by local Blacksmith – Joel Black, and note the old farm’s manger in the ceiling above us where it now sits above the beams and being used as a lighting rig. There are two more buildings outside which will be occupied as studio space for local art exhibitions, and we also spot numerous archaeological artefacts in frames on the walls next to the stairs leading up to the private dining room above the kitchen.
Expect exceptional food, stunning surroundings and a very warm welcome from everyone at Pensons. This is one of Worcestershire’s finest destination restaurants, and a must visit for foodies, celebrations and anyone who’s looking for somewhere a little extra special.