Ok, from the start. Located 15 minutes drive away north of Hereford lies the beautiful village of Bodenham. Bodenham is half hour drive away from at least 10 other scenic/historic villages which are a delight in their own right. When we arrived we were greeted by a lady who seemed nice enough. We were shown the amenities and to room 5 'Baker', which, I must say I was extremely impressed with the decor and standard of cleanliness. The new housekeeping lady who has only been here a week or so was very friendly and would do anything for you. For the room alone I would rate the accommodation on a 4 star basis as it has everything you need. It wasn't the largest of rooms which could have been an issue on a long stay, but for a couple of nights it is absolutely ideal. In between checking in and dinner we visited the extraordinary Hampton Court castle & gardens. Seriously if you have time you must visit this little Eden. We drove past and thought 'ah that looks like a nice little castle. It has some unexpected gems which are not to miss! On our arrival back at the hotel/B&B we prepared for dinner. The staff are very attentive and made sure we were always comfortable. We then sat for dinner and ordered. I had the tomato and roasted red pepper to start and a pork extravaganza for my main, Ani had the salmon cream cheese roulade to start and sirloin steak for main. You could not argue with the portion sizes especially if you have a very healthy appetite. For us the portion sizes could have been slightly smaller, but that's just splitting hairs. My soup to start was exquisite. Absolutely fantastic, so good we both had it the second night to start. Ani's reports on the salmon cream cheese roulade were fair to middling, too much of a portion for a starter really and the lemon that it was served with was slightly overbearing. For mains my pork belly with black pudding and faggot was extremely tasty and everything on the plate was presented well and was cooked nicely too. Ani's sirloin was cooked to order and you could tell that they have a good local meat provider, the sauce however was unusual. Green peppercorn sauce was ordered which seemed to be infused with aniseed/fennel/Pernod. There was only a hint of it but you could certainly taste its presence. We weren't dissatisfied with its inclusion but it certainly made us aware that the chef had a feel for meddling with unusual taste combinations. The night was extremely warm I'd say into the mid 20's still and although the accommodation does not have the luxury of air conditioning (but to be fair, in the UK who needs it, the weather doesn't generally warrant it as a necessity) when we called through to the bar, the young girl went heaven an earth to find us a fan which we seriously appreciated. Without her efforts it could have been unbearably uncomfortable.
The next morning we went for our continental breakfast for which we picked a time any time between 7am-9am. It was a mixture of buffet and table service. There wasn't a limit on how much you could have, in fact the housekeep encouraged us to ensure we we're fully sated. On offer was white or best of both bread, freshly prepared mixed fruit, choices of yogurts, a selection of cereals, croissants, meats, a selection of around 6 different types of tea, lovely filter coffee, and juices. All in all quite an impressive offering for an inclusive continental breakfast service. Later that day we ventured off into some of the local villages and on ou return the room was nicely made up. We decided to return to the inn's restaurant the second night and as previously mentioned we plumped for the soup to start. For mains I had the rump steak and Ani had the pork chops with masala sauce. We also had a side of ciabatta garlic bread. The soup was again delightful which was served with fresh warm bread and butter. My rump steak was requested rare, which half of it was but the other half was sadly cooked medium/medium well. Ani's pork was also overcooked to the point of being quite dry. Thankfully the masala sauce that it was served with proved some form of redemption. Finally, the garlic bread. A trend seemed to build in the chef's love of dabbling with aniseed/fennel/Pernod and other flavourings. Again not completely offensive but not what you generally expect when ordering garlic bread. To judge on the whole experience I would agree with the owners self-appraisal of the accommodations 4 star rating. It is certainly worth recommending for everyone else to come and pay a visit to this little hidden gem. We will certainly come back again and would also tell our close friends to visit, too.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Coach House is a building adjacent to our popular 16th-century food and drink pub, The England's Gate Inn. All seven of the rooms and en-suite bathrooms within the coach house have been renovated and finished to a luxury standard and are full of character. Due to the sizes of the rooms varying considerably they are all priced at different rates. Breakfast is served in the breakfast room in the Coach House and is included in the room rate. The pub and Coach House have just been awarded a four star rating from the AA. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Coach House At The England's Gate Inn Bodenham