Lion and Pheasant, Shrewsbury

Star rating: * There was a greenfly on my knife. It lingered a while, realised it was unlikely to receive nourishment from the cheaply made Korean cutlery, then headed in the direction of the bar, writes Andy Richardson.

The Lion and Pheasant, ShrewsburyStar rating: * There was a greenfly on my knife. It lingered a while, realised it was unlikely to receive nourishment from the cheaply made Korean cutlery, then headed in the direction of the bar.

Soon, a bluebottle landed in the space vacated by its tiny mate. Our food had not yet arrived and we were already thinking seriously about leaving.

My wife and I went to the Lion and Pheasant, in Shrewsbury, on a Saturday evening for dinner. There were only two other tables in use. My wife surveyed the dismal menu, inspected the dreadful, crammed table and assumed this was a fiendish retribution for some domestic misdemeanour. It was not, of course.

Only once have we ever been so underwhelmed by our first impression of a Shropshire restaurant. That was at a pub, near the Wolverhampton border, an evening that remains in my memory like an ugly scar.

The Lion and Pheasant sits at the bottom of Shrewsbury's Wyle Cop. There are plenty of comfortable leather sofas and that, unfortunately, is its one redeeming feature.

The view from the window is of a car park and busy road, there is constant noise from the street and even the bristling energy and enthusiasm of the poor, overworked waiters fail to adequately compensate for their lack of experience or erudition. It was, quite simply, our worst night out in years.

We visited shortly after watching a BBC2 programme called Great British Menu. The episode had championed British cuisine, focusing on creative chefs and dedicated producers who bring high quality food and drink to market.

Inisde The Lion and Pheasant, ShrewsburyThe staff at the Lion and Pheasant, one suspects, had not seen the same programme. Their menu, a greasy printed A4 sheet of paper - one between two - was woeful. It was a lesson in blandness and reminded us of all that is bad about British food.

There was no style, no invention and no imagination. The kitchen's job was simply to process ingredients from fridge to plate, rather than cook.

We struggled to find anything that we wanted from the menu. The mussels were my preferred choice. But, having just holidayed in France where we'd cooked fresh mussels and enjoyed vast prawns, oysters and other straight-from-the-sea treats, I couldn't bring myself to eat them.

Instead, I opted for the melon with sorbet and a fruit coulis. It tasted of nothing at all, just water. I've nothing against chefs keeping things simple and offering dishes that require no skill. Though, you have to ask, what's the point of being a chef if all you do is slice a melon into strips.

But I do object to food with no flavour. And this had none. We're in the middle of summer, in a county with scores of expert fruit growers. Our market towns groan with ripe fruit and vegetables from around Europe. But this tasted like a hot-housed sponge from the local supermarket. The sorbet melted in seconds. It was dire.

My wife opted for the soup of the day, which was tomato. She said it tasted as though it had come from a can, much to her relief. Her accompanying bread appeared to be a bake-at-home roll. The outside was cooked, the inside was stone cold.

There was little to excite on the menu for our main course. I decided against fish, unconfident that it would have pleased. Lamb chops, gammon and a peculiarly-named Mexican rump also failed to excite.

So I opted for the safest choice, a fillet steak with chips. My wife followed. The steaks were fine but the chips - which earned an extra point for being home cooked - were limp and soggy. There were no crisp edges.

The vegetables were similarly limp while the side-salad on our plate was woeful. It comprised half a tomato, a few slices of cucumber and a shredded lettuce leaf. There was no dressing. Why did they bother?

The plate came with a quartered closed-cup mushroom and a few soggy onion rings. The onion rings were the funniest part of the evening. They'd been inexpertly made so that the batter failed to adhere to the onion. What arrived on our plate were thin rounds of fried onion, with an almost imperceptible crunch from the residue batter.

I dreamed about them the following night, they were that bad.

There was no written dessert menu or blackboard featuring selections. Instead, our nervous waiter announced the choices like a worried sixth former at a school prizegiving.

I opted for a treacle pudding with custard. It tasted like it had been bought in, which, given the onion ring experience, gladdened me.

My wife opted for a strawberry gateau. It was the most hideous thing presented to us for years. It was obviously mass produced with a chemical jelly on top, a thin, dry, white sponge and fake cream.

There really is no point eating such things. There's nothing to enjoy and no nutritional value.

The bill, including a couple of drinks, came to £50. As we left, I chatted to one of the restaurant staff. In his thick Midlands brogue, he said he distinguished an accent not dissimilar to his and asked where I'd been born. My answer was greeted with an "Oh man. Now that is a rough hole."

It was a fantastic moment of inglorious vulgarity. Even the script writers of Fawlty Towers wouldn't have got away with it.

We won't be returning to the Lion and Pheasant. The decor is drab, the tables cluttered and the food abysmal.

There's no reason to eat at a venue that simply heats and serves food with unimpressive provenance. Even the worst home cooks can do that. There are plenty of venues nearby serving better food at the same price.

We probably dine out about 30 times a year. I'll eat my hat if we go anywhere else this year that's half as bad.


Lion and Pheasant, 50 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury

Tel: 01743 236288



Mussels (£5.95), Prawn cocktail in a poppadam basket (£5.50), Crabcakes with sweet chili dip (£4.20)

Main courses

Baked cod with poached egg and spinach sauce (£10.95), Stuffed salmon in balsamic vinegar (£12.95)


Garlic bread with melted cheese (£3.95)


Fruits of the forest cheesecake (£3.50), Chocolate fudgecake (£3.50)


Funereal. The Lion & Pheasant is a not a venue for people who are passionate about food. It was quiet and there were many empty seats, even on a Saturday.


Clumsy and amateurish. Young waiters tried hard but were out of their depth, even at this level. Need training.


Have a portable ramp but no disabled toilet. Staff help those who seek assistance.

By Andy Richardson

Comments for: "Lion and Pheasant, Shrewsbury"


Andy Richardson sounds as if he needs to get out more i have been to the lion and pheaant lots of times never had a bad meal and this is the first bad review ive seen. ps what can anyone do about road nose green fly and blue bottles spray them in a restaurant

Susann Mitchell

This review is absolutely atrocious to the point of bullying.

1) Two fly's in the hotel. We have no live plants and can not control what fly's in, would Andy Richardson like us to spray the restaurant with insecticide, No of course not Health & Hygiene would not permit this.

2.Andy Richardson quotes that there were only 2 other tables in use when he dinned at 8.30pm then goes on to say that the waiters were overworked, this clearly contradicts himself.

3. Street Noise & Window Views. I'm not sure how long Andy Richardson has re-located to Shrewsbury from Bilston but may I point out we are on the main road at the beginning of the town centre and have no control over this though I'm not to sure as to what this has to do about food.

4. Melon - We do not grow them or purchase them from supermarkets as Andy suggests but are purchased from a vegetable supplier.

5. The side salad as Andy quoted is actually a Salad Garnish but still did he ask for a dressing.

6. Onion Rings - We do not advertise or serve battered onion rings so may be why that's why there was no batter, flour yes but not batter. Should of read the menu a bit more closely Andy

7. Price - 3 Course Meal for two people including drinks total bill £50.00 I think you have done extremely well.

8. To comment on young impressionable people to the point of being very personal is a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourself Andy Richardson. This is on the verge of bullying after all if it had been a Asian waiter would you or the editor printed that he or she had a very strong

Asian accent I think not. You certainly know how to impress and encourage young people in life. Our regular customers have all commented on this and feel the same as us at the hotel. Now you have made them feel inferior at work I hope you sleep better at night.

On a final note experienced Food Critics are a valuable asset to any business as you can take the positive out but to call yourself a food critic who only dines out 30 days a year and is very personal on comments not on food is unbelievable. It is a very hard trade to be in and everyone works long hours of course we want to improve our restaurant but more than half your comments are not about ways to improve it but seems to be about destroying peoples feelings and closing business's


I can't comment on Saturday dining, but when we visit Shropshire from London several times a year, we make a point of having the Sunday carvery at the Lion & Pheasant. It is always excellent and the restaurant is popular. I think you would have to go a long way to beat the meal (and I speak as someone who eats out in London and Shropshire), from the garlic mushroom starter to the delicious Shropshire turkey and the wonderful gravy. I would recommend Sunday lunch there to anyone.


WE visited the Lion & Pheasant last Saturday for lunch for the first time. We were the only people there but it was just on mid-day.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, excellent value, staff were really pleasant and made us feel welcome.

A member of the hotel

I would like to point out to this very rude, arrogant , and self opionated reporter that having worked for the hotel in question for a considerable number of years I have seen a lot of changes on the menu and within the establishment . I CAN VERY PROUDLY point out that the feedback we get from our customers and outsiders is always good our customers keep returning which in my view speeks for itself. our staff work very hard every day which is something you wouldnt know if you fell over it. We have a good reputation around the town and we hold our own against the other places in the town. all our regulars which have been coming to us for ages we have been told by them that they are utterly discusted in your paper and you and how can the paper employ this person. Looks like you have got your own bad review too .Never mind try better next time Remember to think before you print x

Catherine Smith

we stayed at the hotel after this years flower show. whilst we didn't eat in the restaurant i just wanted to point out that the rooms were spotless, staff extreemly helpful and we had absolutely no complaints. we hope to visit shrewsbury again and would be more than happy to stay here and will no doubt try the carvery as a friend who lives in shrewsbury says its fantastic.

ignore the pompus food critic.


We stayed on Flower Show Saturday night a birthday 'treat' for my young neice! Well at least she can tell her friends she has sayed at Fawlty Towers - how we laugh! I wouldn't feel the need to comment if this was a cheap B&B, but it wasn't! Where to start - our rooms although clean were not good. Our toilet could only be fushed once every 3 hours and the shower did not work at all. The other room was better, the curtains did not close and neither did the window and the sheet had a large hole in it and the shower was broken - but it did work. The reception staff were excellent and if it wasn't for the waiters at breakfast I probably would not be writing this now - to say these two young men were rude and unhelpful would be kind! Breakfast was busy there were three of us so we sat a two tables for two one of which had not been cleared - after waiting nearly 10 minutes and having ordered our beakfast we cleared it ourselves by this time the breakfast room only had three occupied tables. The breakfast menu clearly stated all breakfasts served with complimentary tea, coffee and toast. The coffee and tea were self serve and empty. When we requested more, and also asked for cutlery to eat with, cups and for our toast we were very rudely told "I'm busy you'll have to wait" he was right we did have to wait! He went on to say "if you don't ask for it you won't get it will you!" I won't go on but the rudeness didn't stop there - As a frequent traveller and hotel guest I can honestly say I have never had such a bad experience in a hotel anywhere in this Country or abroad. As for the food, if breakfast is anything to go by - sloppy egg and wet limp bacon, and toast and coffee if you beg for it - I am glad we didn't stay for dinner! It sounds petty but I work in private healthcare and I would be sacked and rightly so if I spoke to any of our patients in the way we were spoken to. We complained at the time and were informed by the very polite and helpful young man at Reception that "all the complaints today are about breakfadst" One should ask what are they normally about? A sad reflection that the hotel is quite obviously very used to receiving complaints. This was one of my favourite dining places when I lived in Shrewsbury - this however was a very sad experience.


the original review was superb

most of the reviews in the star seem to be done by friends of the restaurant owner and are appalling.

the star should pay him to review on a regular basis.