Part of Shaw Hill Golf and Spa Hotel, with rural views over the golf course, Vardon's restaurant is really quite elegant and has a rather upmarket ambience. We've visited several times and have yet to experience anything other than very good food and impeccable service, from obliging, courteous yet unobtrusive staff.
On this occasion, the Sunday lunch menu had a small selection of straightforward dishes for starters and main courses. Our starters ranged from a simple fan of melon, via a rich chicken liver parfait and a paupiette of black pudding, to a tian of smoked mackerel. Just enough in quantity and with sufficient thought given to the arrangement and dressings of each dish to leave us eagerly awaiting our main courses.
We weren't disappointed. Roast pork was succulent with a rich gravy, although some crackling might have left the purist amongst us even more satisfied. The Goosnargh chicken managed that feat which seems to elude many chicken dishes; it was both succulent and tasty, whilst the vegetarian option, a timbale of vegetables, was far more appetising than my bare description might suggest. Everything arrived perfectly cooked and attractively presented, well seasoned, very tasty and served with a small selection of simple cooked vegetables. Portions were ample, and were well complemented by a very easy to drink Soave, chosen from what seemed to be a thoughtfully assembled wine list.
Only two of our party had room for pudding, but that didn't stop the other two hovering expectantly with spoons at the ready to sample a velvety smooth mint chocolate mousse and the hot pudding of the day, a featherlight hot orange sponge in a small lagoon of crème anglaise. Both delicious.
Our time in the restaurant coincided with two large family parties, so we were particularly pleased that the staff made every effort to ensure we weren't neglected in the rush and bustle of what must have been a hectic service.
A lovely unhurried lunch was rounded off in the lounge area with coffee and petits fours.
All in all, exactly what we hoped for when we booked the table, and Vardon's delivered.
Sounds like it cost a small fortune? Well, no, actually.
Including pre-prandial drinks and wine, the bill came to a reasonable £106.00 for four people. That wouldn't be outrageous for a routine pub meal with drinks but. given the added value of the splendid setting and the quality of staff and service, we felt Vardon's gave real value for money.
We'll certainly be going again!
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