The Grove Inn, Walcot

Reviewer's rating **** Cathy Stanworth and her partner Simon enjoy a volcanic rock grilled steak dinner.

The Grove Inn, Walcot
The Grove Inn, Walcot

Reviewer's rating **** Cathy Stanworth and her partner Simon enjoy a volcanic rock grilled steak dinner.

Like most folks, I don't like the cold, and venturing out from my warm and cosy house to drive along icy frozen roads to a country restaurant where I had to tip-toe through the snow to the front door was something I could have easily avoided.

Yet I'm so glad that my other half Simon and myself decided to brave the winter weather and visit The Grove Inn at Walcot. The door opened to an attractive, warm and welcoming eaterie, much refurbished since my last visit there well over a decade ago.

Smiling, friendly staff behind the wooden bar took our drinks order and suggested we sit by the fire to warm up while we looked at the menu. Settling down on the seats with Simon I began to feel really pleased. This was just the type of place I loved to dine in.

It was obvious that The Grove had undergone a facelift since I'd last been there. Before it was nice enough, but its decor had been a little dated. Now, it is open plan and charmingly decorated in an Olde Worlde style, with old advertising plaques, my favourite decorating the door to the Ladies stating "All Wanton Women will be Whipped"!

Reading The Grove Inn's website before booking, I'd learned that it had gained an elusive five stars Scores on the Doors for hygiene. Since then I've learned that it dates back to around 1860 and it was taken over ten years ago by chef Lesley Keever and her husband John. It is thought to have once been a farmhouse and a miller lived there and then it was turned into a hotel to serve a now long-gone railway station.

The menu looked tempting, but the waitress came to tell us there was also something else to try. She explained their latest addition to the menu, the Black Rock Grill. A healthy and unique interactive dining experience, your meat is put in front of you to cook as you eat it on a slab of volcanic rock, heated to 440 degrees C/824 degrees F in a specially adapted oven (according to the black rock grill website). The rock seals in all of the natural juices and no oil is used in the cooking process.

We were told that we must not touch the rock, even one hour after it had been put in front of us, neither should we place our knife and fork on it.

There was a choice of steaks on a board and we were told that the meal would come with chips, coleslaw and salad. We could also order sauces to accompany our meat. Sold!

Inside The Grove Inn, Walcot
Inside The Grove Inn, Walcot

For our starters I ordered a Classic Prawn Cocktail, with juicy prawns on a bed of iceberg lettuce with a Rose Marie sauce and brown bread and butter (£4.99). Simon selected garlic button mushrooms in a creamed garlic sauce served with crusty bread (£4.80).

For our Black Rock Grill we both ordered a medium fillet steak (£16.99). I also ordered Steak Diane Sauce (£2.99).

The friendly waitress had asked if we wanted to stay by the fire until our starters were ready, which we appreciated. Shortly afterwards we were shown to a cosy table for two by a radiator. I was delighted with my starter. The glass dish bowl of the 1970s had been replaced with a square white porcelain dish, filled with very fresh, small prawns on a bed of very fresh Iceberg lettuce with the sauce served separately and four triangles of brown bread and butter, again served separately in a tiny little container. It was lovely, and I ate it all, right down to the last crumb of bread. Thumbs up. Simon's mushrooms looked very appetising and he assured me they were.

As we patiently waited for our main, I noticed another couple being presented with their Black Rock experience, which was served with a flourish of enthusiasm by landlord John and another member of staff, who then warned the diners again about being careful with the rock. It looked great fun . . .

Our dishes soon followed. The square of volcanic rock sat in a long tray-style plate with sections at each end to house the chips, salad and coleslaw. My meat was placed in the middle, on top of the flat square piece of rock, with half a tomato and a mushroom also cooking away.

My meat was absolutely beautiful. It was pink in the middle to begin with, and as it cooked as I kept turning it over the outsides gradually grew darker. Towards the end of my main course the meat inside was well done. Apart from one tiny disgarded fatty bit encountered at the beginning of my dish, my fillet was perfect. It was packed with flavour and easy to cut and chew. My very tasty and satisfying Steak Diane sauce was served hot in a little terrine, perfect for dipping pieces of steak into, as I was told you could not pour the sauce over the meat.

I enjoyed my chips, they were just like chip shop chips, pale and small and tasty. My salad was fresh and the coleslaw crunchy and refreshing. I was in absolute heaven. I know it was a bit of a gimmick, or "concept", but what fun! Simon also enjoyed his "experience" although he felt my fillet was better than his.

There was a long list of very tempting homemade puddings to choose from but I felt if I had one it would have been out of pure greed, as I was full, so I declined. Simon chose the cheese board (£5.99), which came with grapes, biscuits, soft cheese, Stilton, Brie and Cheddar. He finished with two coffees while I finished my wine.

Walking back out through the door into the cold again, after getting a cheery goodbye from the staff, I knew that I had enjoyed every single minute of my visit to The Grove Inn. Venturing out into the cold had been worth "the experience".

ADDRESS

The Grove Inn, Wellington Road, Walcot, Telford TF6 5EN

Tel: 01952 740814

Web: www.thegroveatwalcot.co.uk

MENU SAMPLE

STARTERS

Marinated Olives and Crusty Bread (£3.50); Shropshire Black Pudding in a sauce (£4.99); Battered Mozzarella with a red currant dip(£3.99)

MAINS

Salmon Supreme served in a rocket pesto creamed sauce with new potatoes, honey roasted vegetables and baby leaf salad (£11.99); Gressingham Duck Breast served in The Grove's orange sauce on a bed of creamed potatoes and honey roasted vegetables (£12.99);

Vegetable Curry in a medium hot sauce with rice and homemade chips (£9.99)

SIDES

Freshly Battered Onion Rings (£2); Baby Leaf Salad (£2.50)

DESSERTS

Treacle Sponge pudding (£4.75); Homemade Triple Chocolate Roullade (£4.75); White Chocolate & Baileys Cheesecake (£4.75)

ATMOSPSHERE

Warm and welcoming

SERVICE

Excellent - served up with enthusiasm!

DISABLED FACILITIES

There is flat access through the patio and they've never had a problem with the toilets

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Comments for: "The Grove Inn, Walcot"

jonboy

Just a quick question, were you not able to remove the meat from the 'rock' once it was cooked to your liking? The idea of the meat still cooking while it's being eaten would surely ruin it if you like it, say, medium rare.

Also, you should always review the puddings if you are reviewing a restaurant.

John

I tried a steak cooked on the rock, as an alternative to the wonderful Sunday lunch served there, 2 weeks ago. The steak arrives at the table sealed on both sides and doesn't continue to cook until you slice it and cook the cut edges to your liking. I took about 45mins to eat mine and the last piece was as succulent as the first.

With regards to the desserts there, they are fantastic, all homemade. Being coeliac I was amazed with the choice available to me and a clear benefit of these being homemade and the attention to detail in producing them.

Full credit to the reviewer, she was spot on with her comments. Its a unique venue offering a very unique and memorable experience.

jonboy

Thanks for the reply John, will try it out sometime.

Lou

John: You're not the landlord John are you? just a question for you - How can the meat not cook (until its cut)if its sitting on a slab that cooks it? unless its a magical slab it will cook! I'm going to give it a try one of the days though now i see the plastic tablecloths have gone