Shropshire Star

Food review: Peaberry’s cafe bar in Shrewsbury ticks all the boxes

The new Michelin stars will be announced next week. The chefs who have strained every sinew for what they see as the ultimate accolade will next week learn whether or not they’ve been successful.

The house flatbreads are a speciality

For those downgraded, the announcements will come as a hammer blow as they’re stripped of an elevated identity that puts them among the UK’s best.

For those who secure a star for the first time, there’ll be the party like no other was they celebrate their place among gastronomy’s elite.

And for the majority that retain an award previously conferred, there’ll be huge relief that they get to eat at the culinary industry’s top table for another year.

Those awards will pass Shropshire by. While once the county was nicknamed Gourmetville and, in the south Shropshire town of Ludlow, it boasted more Michelin stars than any place outside London, these days the scene is markedly different.

The last Michelin stars held were just beyond the county border, at Montgomery, and, more recently, near Tenbury Wells, until the sad closure of Pensons, at the end of last year. Presently, there are no restaurants with realistic aspirations to feature on the list.

And that’s indicative of a change of style for the county.

While once it could rival such huge cities as Birmingham in offering the best fine dining in the region, now it focuses on a different sort of food.

The county has great independents and a large number offering easy eating at affordable prices.

The change has come about for a variety of reasons.

Shropshire has found it more difficult to attract the top talent as chefs have opened in other locations, not least Birmingham, which, alongside the Lake District, ranks as the nation’s most important culinary destination, other than London.