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Shrewsbury has some of the finest artisan producers and chefs in the region, but has been slow to shout about it. That's all about to change
Shrewsbury has some ofthe finest artisan producers and chefs in the region, but has been slow to shout about it. Thats all about to change.
When it comes to food, youd be hard pressed to find anywhere finer than Shropshire. Its meat, dairy and veg producers, brewers, picklers and foragers are second to none; its chefs among the most innovative in the county.
But speak to outsiders and it seems that Shropshires foodie status is based almost entirely on the reputation of one market town, Ludlow, and its annual food festival.
For years the south Shropshire town has punched above its weight. Its currently home to the countys sole Michelin starred restaurant, Mr Underhills, with two others, La Becasse and Fishmore Hall Hotel, producing food of Michelin standard.
There are award-winning producers in and around the town, extending into the Marches and the Welsh borders, and its biggest farm shop, Ludlow Food Centre, has just been voted best in the
Some 25 miles away is Shrewsbury which, despite being much more populous, having better transport connections and dozens of cafes, pubs and restaurants, has remained in the shadows. This year, though, could be when Shrewsbury finally steps into the foodie spotlight.
Its got some incredible new venues like the beautiful Henry Tudor House, while some old favourites, among them Mad Jacks and The Silverton, are upping their game. It cant be long, surely, before one of the towns established premier restaurants the likes of Drapers Hall, or the Lion & Pheasant, the Albright Hussey or the Mytton and Mermaid decides to take the plunge and push for a third AA rosette or even a Michelin star.
In the meantime a new food festival, celebrating the best of Shrewsbury and the rest of the county, is gaining momentum and will be held at the end of June.
The town has also undergone a rebranding which intends to showcase Shrewsbury as the original one-off destination for visitors.
It all adds up to the best chance for some time to put Shrewsbury on the map as a foodie destination par excellence.
Henry Tudor House, Barracks Passage, off Wyle Cop: Its the restaurant everyones talking about, with good reason. Clare and Graham Jenkins have taken over this historic building, dating back to the early 1400s, and transformed it into a stunning eating and entertaining venue.
Theyve brought in Alan Dann, formerly a holder of a Michelin star who trained at some of the most famous restaurants in the world, to create innovative and exciting menus. Hes been billed as one of the countrys top chefs to watch and after stints at the Lion & Pheasant and Oswestrys Wynnstay Hotel, hes delivering his creative expertise at Henry Tudor House.
From the contemporary bar and brasserie downstairs, to the intimate restaurant and sophisticated private dining room upstairs, to the top floor music and party venue, the HTH team have created a truly magnificent location, oozing style and history.
Tempting menus, a friendly and knowledgeable front of house team, that beautifully styled setting and a dynamic management team make this a delightful place to eat.
Typical house dishes include a goats cheese and mixed beets salad, house steak burger and chicken breast wrapped in Wenlock bacon with smoky bacon sauce. A la carte dishes can include pan-seared scallops with pea puree and crispy sorrel tempura; roasted chump and confit shoulder of lamb with spiced aubergine caviar, fondant potatoes and rosemary jus; and loin of venison with wilted savoy cabbage, wild mushroom pithivier and sauce perigordine. Enough to get tastebuds tingling!
There are also plans to introduce regular acoustic music performances, kicking off with award-winning singer songwriter Scott Matthews.
Henry Tudor House, Barracks Passage, Shrewsbury SY1 1XA
The Glutton Club, Frankwell: It started as a pop-up restaurant, taking over space Mad Jacks, St Marys Street: With talented head chef Chris Geisler now at the helm, Mad Jacks is building on its reputation as a bright and informal lunch and evening dining venue, serving exciting food in a friendly atmosphere.
Its overseen by the excellent team behind the Mytton and Mermaid at Atcham.
Chris, a Shropshire lad with a young family, has previously worked at the Mytton and also at two venues holding two AA rosettes.
15 St Marys St Shrewsbury SY1 1EQ
Stonehouse Bistro, Castle Foregate
The Lion and Pheasant, Wyle Cop
Drapers Hall, St Marys Place
Mr Moydens Cheese: This artisan cheesemaker operates out of a spotless food unit at Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, in Battlefield, producing award winning cheeses with a truly Shropshire taste. The Wrekin Blue and Wrekin White, Ironbridge Blue, Newport and Caer Caradoc have all landed awards, including national acclaim at the British Cheesemaker Awards.
Martin Moyden was inspired by his grandmothers stories of her farming upbringing and particularly tales of traditional cheesemaking. He uses local Shropshire milk to develop his varieties, all named after well known towns and landmarks. He now works with wife Beth to keep up with demand.
Mr Moydens is one of several bespoke food producers operating at Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, which is also home to the Heart of England Fine Foods organisation, a taste kitchen and caf.
His neighbours include the tantalisingly named Smoke and Pickle and Coopers Gourmet Sausage Rolls.
Mr Moydens, The Creamery, 3 Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, Vanguard Way, Battlefield, Shrewsbury SY13TG Tel: 01743 441599
Shrewsbury Market Hall: Offering a fantastic mix of fresh and organic foods, the Market Hall is right in the centre of Shrewsbury.
The market hall, with its commanding clock tower above, has traded since 1965. Homegrown fruit and vegetables, four butchers, freshly caught fish, bespoke cakes and artisan breads are among the goodies available, with a selection of cafes inside. Favourites include Birds Nest Caf, with its eclectic seating areas and funky dcor; Ian Cornalls stunning seafood bar, St Pierre, and neighbouring fishmongers, providing beautiful freshly caught fish, oysters and crabs from Cornwall and Scotland; Mamapies Bake Shop, selling gorgeous cupcakes, brownies and celebration cakes, all made to order; and Julia Wenlocks Shropshire Chocolates by Toot Sweets, selling her award winning handmade chocolates.
The market trades on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with some stalls open allweek.
Battlefield 1403: On the outskirts of north Shrewsbury sits Battlefield 1403. The venture, part of the Albrighton Estate, includes a butchery, deli, farm shop, kitchen and Sparrows Caf. Its a great place to visit for food ideas and to purchase ingredients for a dinner made in Shropshire. The butchery sells beef and lamb reared on the farm, and occasionally from other local farmers, while the delicatessen sells locally made cheeses and charcuterie. The farm shop sells produce as well as books and souvenirs connected to the exhibition, which tells the story of the Battle of Shrewsbury 1403.