The Cornhouse, Shrewsbury
Rating *** Jason Lavan enjoyed his meal at The Cornhouse but there was a little something lacking in the experience.
enjoyed his meal at The Cornhouse but there was a little something lacking in the experience.
Visiting The Cornhouse in Shrewsbury for dinner delivered on everything – except the wow factor. I paid a visit to the restaurant on Wyle Cop on a quiet Monday evening but the atmosphere was still very enjoyable and relaxed.
Before dining out I decided to do some research to see what other people had said about the restaurant but I soon learned to stop doing that. The reviews online for The Cornhouse are very complimentary and I would agree with them largely, but the restaurant lacked any wow factor.
While the food was largely very good and the staff polite and friendly, the decor and presentation of the restaurant let it down.
The choice of wine was fair and the staff were more than accommodating with any questions about it. They also appeared to have good training in what wines went with what food, which is always a bonus if the bottles look unfamiliar.
The menu choice was very good and for starters I went for the spare ribs. The sauce was absolutely superb and there was a good amount of meat on them. My friend went for the paté, which was presented very well and was full of flavour. The bread on the table, which we ate during our starters, was not fresh enough. The outside of it appeared as though it had been sitting for quite a while.
The time from ordering and the time between courses was perfect. The staff ensured we had everything and left us to it, which is a winning formula. It was time for the main course. I chose the fillet steak – medium rare - while my friend had the lamb shank. The steak was a very good portion and cooked just how I had asked.
The only downside to the steak was, again, the lack of any wow factor. There was no rich flavour which I would expect from a fillet steak. It was a hearty piece of meat, but it was as although the finishing touches were missing. All of the restaurant's steaks are matured for 28 days and come from local Shropshire farms. There is also an impressive grill menu which offers rump, sirloin, rib eye or a porterhouse steak and all range in price from £16.50 to £20.95.
Having eaten steak all over the world there is one thing that always gets me - paying for the sauce. With no other dish would you have to pay for the sauce if it was poured on top, but constantly in restaurants, including The Cornhouse, you have to pay for it. In this case £2. I could understand if you had to pay it when ordering something like chicken wings, which might only cost about £5. But when you have ordered a steak costing £20 it seems unreasonable. However, that seems to be more of a trend with restaurants rather than a single fault of The Cornhouse.
The lamb shanks were a delight. The meat was very tender and full of flavour. The portion size was also generous and proved more than just good comfort food. Again, the presentation was very good.
The choice on the dessert menu was a delight and it had some classics on there. I find when judging desserts it is best to go with more common choices, ones which you think most other people will know and like. For this reason I went with the chocolate brownie. It was tasty and very chocolatey but similar to the bread, I would question when it was baked.
Chocolate brownies are a classic dessert in a lot of pubs, which is where I have tasted most of mine. So when it comes to restaurant quality, I expect it to be a step above, which it was not.
The sticky toffee pudding was my friend's choice and he felt the same about it. While it was a nice treat, it was no better than you would get in a pub.
Aside from the food, there is one thing any restaurant should always come out on top for and it has nothing to do with the chef. The toilets are a clincher for me and The Cornhouse did not deliver. The tiles were chipped on the walls and the sink was blocked on my first visit, but cleared by later on in the evening.
In total the meal cost £79.45 for two people and for that price I would expect above average toilets. Overall, the food largely stood up to scrutiny and so did the staff. But it was missing something. The potential is certainly there and having been in the town so long, I have no doubt they know what a winning formula should be. This felt like it was a winning formula once, but one which is just a bit tired.
The Cornhouse, 59a Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury SY1 1XY
Tel: 01743 231991
Chicken Liver Pate served with Oatcakes and Cumberland Sauce £5.95
Spare ribs £6.50
7oz Fillet Steak £20.95 & pepper sauce £2
Braised Lamb Shank with a Rosemary, Red Wine and Root Vegetable Sauce and Mashed Potatoes £15.95
Sticky Toffee Pudding £4.95
Chocolate Brownie £4.95
Friendly and efficient
Warmly welcoming and relaxed
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