Stratford-upon-Avon has been a lively town from the 12th century, having grown through being situated on a crossing point of the river Avon, this allowing for commerce and trade to flourish.
An Inn was built in 1500 to cater for the many trades people visiting this vibrant market town in Warwickshire. After many uses through the years (including hosting The Royal Shakespeare Club’s annual dinner from as early as 1824), a major renovation/ refurbishment took place a couple of years ago and now is the site on which The Woodsman is situated.
On entering the restaurant the centre piece is the kitchen, which is open plan, with a wood fired oven glowing with hot embers. The menu was concise and intriguing. With a core field to fork philosophy, The Woodsman offers a traditional approach to contemporary British with wild, hunted foraged ingredients.
My chosen starter was black treacle cured sea trout, with a crab mouse, avocado and bronze fennel. I did have reservations that the black treacle might over power the sea trout but it infused a delicate sweet flavour. My partner chose sardines grilled on the wood fire, served on toast with pickled vegetables and paprika mayonnaise. They were consumed with a smile, and thoroughly enjoyed.
I was recommended to have the Gloucestershire fallow deer which was grilled in the wood fire oven, sliced to expose the pink meat, served with pickled blackberries, heritage beetroot and chard.
The wood fired Berkshire pork chop chosen by my partner with crispy crackling was a generous portion. Maybe I shouldn’t have ordered the two side dishes of dirty mash and with shaved venison and broccoli with anchovy mayonnaise and hazelnuts.
Suffice to say I could not resist the blackberry soufflé with ice cream, the plum pavlova taking the eye of my partner.
This finely tuned, ingredient led menu is a great idea for a hotel set within a historic half-timbered building opposite Shakespeare’s family home. I am sure the Bard would have left London permanently with such a culinary delight in his home town.
To discover more, visit: thewoodsmanrestaurant.co.uk
All imagery courtesy of The Woodsman.
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