Basil’s, Wrockwardine

Rating: ***** Cathy Stanworth finds it's third time lucky as she finally gets a table at this relaxed restaurant.

Basil’s, Wrockwardine

Rating: ***** Cathy Stanworth finds it's third time lucky as she finally gets a table at this relaxed restaurant.

Most people know if you need a workman for a job and you can get hold of him straight away as he’s twiddling his thumbs at home, then he probably isn’t very good at what he does. If he was - he’d be out there doing it.

The same can be said of a good restaurant. It’s a sign of popularity when it takes more than one attempt to successfully book a table. And it was a case of three times lucky with Basil’s at Church Farm.

A friend had recommended the place more than a few months ago. I had rung up twice to try and get in on a Friday night without success, (they were hosting private parties), and so I passed the task on to Simon, who managed it first time.

Church Farm is a four star guest house owned and run by award-winning chef Martin Board and his wife Melanie. Set in the pretty village of Wrockwardine, it is a gorgeous Georgian farmhouse with its Basil’s restaurant (named after the family dog), which is now open to non-residents.

A small restaurant, serving a three or four course set menu, it offers locally sourced, modern British food in “an informal and relaxed setting”. It was awarded an AA rosette for food in May this year and is to be included in the 2012 Good Hotel Guide.

Melanie was also featured in Women & Home Magazine this year. Martin and Melanie have also recently taken on the kitchens at The Plough at Allscott. We had already eaten at The Plough on being offered a table there when we couldn’t get in to Church Farm, and so already had a pretty good idea of what to expect (at least four star food).

It was a wet Friday evening when we finally arrived there. We were able to park easily and were warmly welcomed by Melanie, before being shown down a corridor into the restaurant. As it has limited space, there were just five tables which were all filled. The fire was lit in the inglenook fireplace and we happily sat down at our reserved table by it.

As Church Farm isn’t licensed, we had been advised on booking to bring our own wine. You do have to pay corkage (£3). We were passed the menu and then had our wine opened for us. I thought the menu looked superb and we decided on the four courses at £29.50 a head, which, due to the quality of the food and the ambience of the place, I personally think is good value for money.

The first course, as, – I have to tell you now – the rest of them were, was beautifully presented and faultless. We had slices of mouthwatering smoked duck on leaves, which was perfectly complemented by the caramelised apples, hazlenuts and raspberry vinaigrette. It was a clever, refreshing dish which was packed with flavour.

Our fish course was Fillet of Cod with crispy gnocchi with lightly spiced tomato sauce, roast cherry tomatoes and pesto. I had been undecided on gnocchi, as the first time I tasted this somewhere else I had felt it was very bland. But this wasn’t. It was very good. The fish was placed on top and was hot and tender, not overcooked. It went really well with the tomato sauce and the roast tomatoes on the vine. The pesto gave a special extra touch.

So by now we were both very pleased. I was really looking forward to the main course, being a venison dish. I have to say that I love venison, although I always feel a little guilty eating it, but not as much as when I had kangaroo. I had images of Skippy jumping through my mind for days afterwards! Anyway, back to the meal. Yet another beautiful dish was served up. There were two large strips of venison on top of a decent amount of bubble and squeak, complemented by haggis stuffed tomatoes and whisky sauce.

The meat was absolutely delicious, full of flavour, easy to cut and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The bubble and squeak was again good and the haggis stuffed tomatoes very pleasing. The whisky sauce was light and not too rich, and there was enough of it. Another cleverly constructed dish.

Dessert was lemon mousse. This came served in a wine glass. It was the lightest lemon mousse I have ever had. It was pale and creamy and enjoyable. It didn’t taste too heavily of lemon, but you definitely had a big hint of it. It came simply served with some sharp, fresh raspberries to offer contrast I imagine, and a lovely small section of yummy shortbread. I couldn’t have been happier.

I had been concerned that having four courses would fill me up, but because the portions were enough, and the dishes were served at a gradual, relaxed place, and not rushed, we both felt satisfied and comfortable, having accommodated it all.

Get yourself along to Basil’s at Church Farm, and if you have to try more than once to get a table, don’t worry, it will be well worth it in the end.

ADDRESS

Basil’s at Church Farm Guest House, Wrockwardine, Telford TF6 5DG

Tel: 01952 251927

www.churchfarm-shropshire.co.uk

SET MENU SAMPLE

3 courses £25.00 / 4 courses £29.50

STARTERS

Smoked duck and raspberry salad, caramelised apples, hazlenuts and raspberry vinaigrette

FISH COURSE

Fillet of Cod, crispy gnocchi with lightly spiced tomato sauce, roast cherry tomatoes and pesto

MAIN COURSE

Seared venison steak, bubble and squeak, haggis-stuffed tomatoes, whisky sauce

DESSERT

Lemon mousse, fresh raspberries and shortbread

SERVICE

Friendly, efficient and professional

ATMOSPHERE

Warmly welcoming and relaxed

DISABLED FACILITIES

Flat access through the entrance and through to the ground floor restaurant and guest lounge. Also a nearby downstairs cloakroom.

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Comments for: "Basil’s, Wrockwardine "

nh

"I had been undecided on gnocchi, as the first time I tasted this somewhere else I had felt it was very bland"

Maybe you are not the right person to be doing a job that requires an appreciation of food then.

Do you often find pasta bland? boiled rice? cous cous? Gnocchi isn't supposed to be bursting with flavour, what you put with it should be.