Food review: A reflection of a true passion at The Station Inn
It was a few weeks ago when the county, and particularly south Shropshire, had been deluged with rain that I found myself out and about putting a 4x4 truck through its paces.
I drove up from home in the Corvedale towards Bishop’s Castle and found myself on some single track roads with spectacular views across the albeit soaking countryside. The truck was loving it!
It was nearing lunchtime and my mind turned towards a spot of lunch, as was my partner whose tummy was positively grumbling!
We came down from the hills very close to one of our favourite eateries – The Station at Marshbrook – as if by magic . . .
Decision made for lunch. As we had the hound with us, we ate in the bar and dined off the light bite/lunch menu option.
We had last eaten in the restaurant and enjoyed Butcher Night. The Station is owned by a butcher and his speciality is of course meat. On Fridays, Butcher Night offers a fantastic array of meats where you can choose the size of your portion you want and pay by the 100g. You can eat off the main menu as well.
Richard Davies and wife Lesley run a thriving hub for those who want good food – either a snack in the warm of welcoming bar or a feast in the light and airy restaurant.
Walk through the door and you are immediately made welcome. As we were recently.
The pub is just yards from the A49 on the B4370 three miles south of Church Stretton, and started life in the present building as The Station in the early 19th century next to where the tiny Marshbrook Railway Station once stood at a level crossing.
It was renamed The Wayside in around 1972 but in the early 1990s went back to being called The Station. However, the original pub was called The New Inn when it was located on the other side of the road, but once the railway arrived in 1853 it was rebuilt in its current spot and renamed The Station.
I find all these historical facts fascinating as it paints a picture of the area and how things come to be as they are today.
We settled on a sofa with drinks to look at the menu – Jack the hound was also brought a dish of water as he settled himself down.
What was going to be a light lunch turned out to be our main meal of the day! Why go home to cook in the evening when we were both starving and the menu looked so inviting?
We ordered two starters to share, pork belly bites and whitebait. The bites had been slow roasted in home-made stock and served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. For £6.50 a great deal – the meat was succulent, moist and so tender and there was also a fresh garnish of salad.
The whitebait was breaded and of the larger size for the fish. Perfect two bites for each of the large shoal. There was a decent sized pot of tartare sauce, lemon and a delicious salad on the side.
Next I had ‘lamb of the day’ which on my visit was a trio of chops served on a bed of mashed swede and sweet potato with rich gravy on the side – I hate having a dish swimming in liquid. You can add as much or as little as you want.
The chops were perfect with crispy fat and pink as you cut into the meat. And yes, I did pick up the bones and do my cavewoman bit to get the last bits of meat off the bones!
An eight ounce rump was the other main. Ordered medium rare, it also arrived perfectly cooked. Full of flavour, the tender cut of meat accompanied by mushrooms, tomato and onion rings with chips on the side.
And those chips were so moreish . . . golden and crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Delicious. The man said the best he’d had in a long time. And he is a bit of a chip connoisseur, no fries for him.
Feeling fairly full we shared a pudding – home made meringue with blackberries and blackberry ice cream. A lovely fresh finish to what had been an excellent meal and all-round experience with friendly and efficient service.
While the restaurant is very nice the bar is a real treat. With a woodburner pumping out the heat at the far end and plenty of seating for those who might just want a drink, it is a soothing cocoon.
For us it has the added bonus of allowing dogs in and actually really welcome them as well as the two-legged customers.
Marshbrook is at the heart of some wonderful walking country and The Station bar is the perfect spot to take a break – it has wooden floors so walking boots are not frowned upon. Besides the wonderful food, there is well-kept real ale.
And now back to history and the tale of the butcher: Leonard Wilfred Davies, born December 19, 1906, started a butcher’s dynasty now four generations old. His butcher’s typical cheeky sense of humour now lives on through his grandchildren along with his knowledge of butchery.
In 1997 Leonard’s grandson Richard opened The Station Inn, which quickly generated a great reputation for quality steak, with Richard’s butchery expertise and his wife Lesley’s passion and expertise as head chef.
The Station Inn’s dining experience is a true reflection of the family’s deep passion for serving amazing steak.
The Station aims to celebrate the family’s heritage and knowledge of meat. In order to identify your exact preferences the chefs help you choose the best cut of beef to cook for dinner. It makes for an unforgettable ‘butchery and dining’ experience.
But it’s not all about meat, fish features extensively on the menu and there are vegetarian options. And no-one frowns if you are not a carnivore . . .