Visiting my daughter Nicola is an ‘escape to the country’ weekend. She and Rachael fairly recently moved to an old farmhouse on the edge of the village of Shrawley in Worcestershire with magnificent views across the surrounding countryside.
I drove up from London in the morning in time for lunch and they’d booked a table at The Manor Arms in Abberley for our evening meal; a short drive away. They’d not be there before but had heard good things about it.
The Manor Arms is a 17th century country inn with restaurant and six bedrooms. It received a 5 Star AA and Rosette Award in 2015. They like to source their ingredients for food in the restaurant from local suppliers and change the menu frequently to match the seasons. Although the menu offers some Pub Classics like ‘Fish & Chips’ and ‘Bangers & Mash’, the main menu is quite sophisticated and eating at The Manor Arms is very much a restaurant dining experience. Inside it still feels like a pub though and because of the building’s age the restaurant is spread out through various smallish areas giving a cosy and intimate feel.
The menu is quite short but for us appealing and I could happily have eaten most of the choices. We chose different starters and when they came they looked really great. My carpaccio of sea bass with orange and fennel was delicious and fresh tasting to begin the meal.
Nicola’s pan-seared scallop with pea purée and smoked bacon cream was wonderful. Happily she gave me a taste!
Rachael also gave me a taste of her basil panna cotta with heritage tomatoes, feta, olives and aged balsamic.
The basil panna cotta was so good I immediately vowed to try making some myself.
Nicola and I chose the same main course of roasted breast of duck with fondant potato, Swiss chard, crispy leg croquette and cherry sauce.
The duck was cooked a bit more than I would ideally choose but was still tender and tasty and we thought it a good dish. Rachael, a vegetarian, chose a fine tart of grilled summer vegetables, chargrilled halloumi, quinoa and orange.
It looked really good and apparently tasted it too.
Although we’d already eaten well we couldn’t resist desserts. I chose a chocolate delice with raspberries and mascarpone cream; Nicola had lavender and honey poached peach with granola and thyme ice cream; and Rachael had creme brûlée with tonka bean, local strawberries and honeycomb.
We had a bottle of Gavi wine with the meal, coffee at the end. It had been a great meal; a really good find near their home. Throughout the service had been good and friendly and we had a really lovely evening.