...that I was at the Charlton Arms for their first lunch service under Cedric Bosi and witnessed the transformation on his return to Ludlow, before it became so difficult to get a table!
I last visited the Charlton Arms at the end of 2013. To be fair to them, at that time the end was already in sight and the sale had been agreed. So the decor was more shabby than chic, with tired carpets and an odd assortment of pictures and photos on the walls. The best food on offer was a filled baguette or jacket potato.
In just over a month, the transformation is incredible. Out with the tatty carpet to reveal honest wooden floors. Clean lines and brighter lighting in the dining areas. Crisp white linen napkins.
Best of all, of course, is the new menu. It will change with the seasons and availability of fresh produce, but today--in addition to the classic Sunday roast, there were treats like ox cheeks hash with spinach, button mushrooms and a celeriac remoulade (see photo). Portions were generous, without being overwhelming and service--though clearly being tested by the full house--was polite and efficient. There's a fresh and reasonably priced wine list (as an example, a 500ml carafe of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was about £12) to complement the excellent local beers and ciders.
If Cedric continues to build the reputation of the Charlton Arms as he and his brother, Claude, have done with their previous projects, it won't be long before this place becomes a destination in its own right. I'm particularly looking forward to summer days on the terrace overlooking the river, with the great views up to Ludlow.
In summary, it's well worth a walk down Broad Street and over the bridge to be able to tell your own great grandchildren that you were there before it became famous.
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