You might be very tempted to describe a 16th century pub in the ancient Worcestershire village of Belbroughton as 'rustic'. And although wooden beams, stone floor and an open fireplace are all present and correct, you'll also find some rather more modern stylings introduced by a recent refurbishment including crystal chandeliers and bold, graphic wallpaper.
There's a similar story when it comes to the menu. It doesn't get more rustic that steak and ale pie, but what about smoked salmon, mackerel and halibut with a confit of lemons, steamed potatoes, pickled onion salad and horseradish cream? It's the sort of refinement you'd expect from Michelin star winner and Midlands culinary hero Andy Waters who moved from Edmunds, the Birmingham city-centre fine dining restaurant to take over the kitchens here in the spring of 2012.
The Birmingham Mail described the food as 'serious cooking by a top-notch craftsman' while Eat The Midlands singled out the Sunday lunch and 'an angelically light Yorkshire pudding' for particular praise.
Long term fans of Waters may recognise signature dishes updated from the original Edmunds in Henley-on-Arden such as tian of crab with prawns, peas shoots, peas and turmeric cream, but the lengthy a la carte won't just please the gastronerds.
With everything from a cheffy tasting of pork that includes belly, pastry and black pudding served with a confit of cabbage, apple puree and crackling to an inventive and playful gammon with smoked bacon, chilli pineapple and fried egg, there's something for everyone. And in a 'rustic' village pub, that's just how it should be.
Andy Waters helped put the Midlands on the gastronomic map when he won a Michelin star in 2003 for Edmunds, the Warwickshire restaurant he named in honour of his late father. The award came within six months of opening and the restaurant went on to be named restaurant of the year by Harden's Guide.
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