Malvern Observer’s Vivienne Hill and her sidekick Mr K recently dined at The Cottage in the Wood Restaurant, which is uniquely set high on the Malvern Hills above the Severn Plain.
Although residents of Malvern, this was our first dining experience at The Cottage in the Wood; however, following our exquisite dining experience it certainly won’t be the last.
On arrival, we were seated in the relaxing lounge area, where we were served drinks and nibbles, whilst we made the difficult decision of choosing what to eat from the veritable array of dishes on the menu. This was no easy task, as we cast our eyes over the mouth-watering selection of starters and main courses. After much deliberation, Mr K decided upon Gressingham Duck as a starter, whilst I chose the Beetroot Cured Salmon. When it came to our choices of main courses, we made the conscious decision to select dishes from two different ends of the spectrum – Ol’ Fashioned Sausage and Mash for Mr K and Cotswold Steak for myself.
It wasn’t long before our attentive but unobtrusive host Sian took us to our table, where we soaked in the breathtaking views across Malvern and beyond. We were offered rolls to accompany our starters; whilst Mr K tucked in I politely declined as am gluten free. However a few minutes later, Monika our waitress returned with a gluten free bread alternative.
The starters were simply divine! Mr K’s Gressingham Duck, an ‘in house’ smoked duck breast, was served with watercress, pea shoots, honey and sesame dressing, with a damson plum puree confit. His face lit up when the dish was placed before him; he said that the duck fell off the bone and melted in the mouth, with a delicate smoky flavour. It was his first foray into duck and left his taste buds in excited anticipation of the main course to come, which in his own words, he knew was “going to be so much more than your average bangers and mash!” My Beetroot Cured Salmon was baked with lemon and horseradish crème fraiche and presented on a black slate. It looked and tasted heavenly! The balance between the beetroot, salmon and crème fraiche was perfect, giving an exploding fusion of flavours.
We were then served our main courses and if we were impressed with our starters, these far exceeded our expectations. Firstly, Mr K’s Ol’ Fashioned Sausage and Mash – local pork and herb sausages served with glazed chantenay carrots and grain mustard mash, with a red wine jus. The combination of flavours, especially the jus, blended perfectly, turning a traditional English dish into an eloquent dining experience. My Cotswold Fillet Steak was served with blue cheese gratin, buttered spinach, glazed onions, mushrooms and a red wine jus. Cooked to perfection and extremely tender it was quite possibly the best steak I have ever eaten! Whilst the creaminess of the gratin was sublime, balanced perfectly with the vegetables was and offset by the delicious jus.
The dessert menu was then presented and having almost fully satisfied our appetites, we decided to share the Key lime brulee and lemon sorbet. This was a fantastic choice as the flavours of the brulee and the sorbet cleared the palate beautifully. We then retired to the lounge area for an Irish Coffee and homemade petit fours; the perfect end to the perfect evening.Finally, special mention should be made to the staff that looked after us that evening; our host Sian was both elegant and charming, whilst Monika our waitress was the perfect balance of discretion, attending to our every need in a truly friendly and professional manner.
In summing up, I would say that if you are looking for high quality food in stunning surroundings with fantastic views, then look no further than The Cottage in the Wood Restaurant, a true gem in the hills!
The Cottage in the Wood – is open of breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea by reservation – call 01684 588 860 to reserve your table. www.cottageinthewood.co.uk