“I would give all of my fame for a pot of ale”

So said the King in Shakespeare’s Henry V, as he expresses that being famous is nothing without food and drink in the belly, accompanied by a sense of personal safety, as the very foundation of life.

Will's Kitchen Head Chef, Mark Hands

This theatrical introduction is for  Will’s Kitchen  – the new café by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which is scheduled to open at the end of October.

Head chef Mark Hands will lead the brigade with a culinary CV gained at Cox’s Yard, The Lazy Cow and The Cross in Kenilworth.

Commenting on the menu Mark said, “The focus at Will’s Kitchen is firmly on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, and this is something I am passionate about. We’ll be taking advantage of the fantastic local produce available to us, working with our trusted suppliers and using organic meat from Mary Arden’s Farm as part of our Soil Association Food for Life Gold standard. I am looking forward to working with the team, creating delicious, honest food that will offer a fresh perspective to casual dining here in Stratford.”

Serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, the menu will offer an inventive twist on classic dishes such as treacle-cured bacon breakfast melt, grass-pastured chuck burger on a charcoal bun, salmon, kale and quinoa fishcake and cauliflower and cheddar arancini with truffle mayo.

Ones to watch in 2019

Instead of my usual weekly round up of news, today I thought that I’d share with you a flurry of exciting new openings that I am looking forward to. Read more

Henry Harris branches out

The Bower House dining room

In just its first week of opening, The Bower House is causing a stir in Shipston on Stour.

Just 10 miles form Stratford upon Avon, Shipston on Stour was recently named by the Sunday Times as the best place to live in the Midlands!

The Bower House Shipston on Stour

Now home to The Bower House, the restaurant occupies the ground floor of a former Georgian town house, with five boutique bedrooms above. Dishes on the sample menu range from Evesham asparagus with pink grapefruit to Herefordshire bavette with watercress salad.

The Bower House brings together a line-up of industry experts – Henry Harris (Racine and The Groucho Club) with Darren Brown as Head Chef (The Lucky Onion and 131 in Cheltenham) alongside General Manager Edward Cambridge from Soho Farmhouse.

Coming soon to Birmingham…

coming soon to Birmingham

A trio of new openings in Birmingham will be offering an appetising menu of truffle-topped pizza, street food and gin.

After India, Argentina and the USA, the Lasan Group are looking to Italy for their new concept which opens in the Selfridges Food Hall later this month. Izza! will serve sourdough pizzas, antipasti, cured meats and salads. The thin-crust pizzas will be baked in a beechwood-fired oven. Expect to pay £8 for a basic Margherita to around £15 for a truffle- topped pizza.

The Mosaic Pub and Dining Group (who own the Button Factory in the Jewellery Quarter) is turning the former Fiddle & Bone into The Distillery. The canal side pub will re-open after Easter with a gin bar upstairs and pub serving real ales downstairs.

During the Easter weekend, on Saturday 15 April, the Custard Factory will be launching Street Food Saturday their first monthly street food event. Expect German sausages from @yumlaut curries and chaats from @TheIndianRasoi homemade soups and deli sandwiches from @little6T3 and a selection of international dishes from @ChefShack627. For the sweet-toothed, @Churros_Susanna  will be on hand with their Spanish churros and chocolate sauce and there’ll be cakes, bakes, and proper tea from @HMS_Cupcake  @TheGinBoxUK will be serving  gin-based cocktails from their lovingly converted horse box.

Midlands round-up

I’m spending a relaxing Sunday at home catching up on the week’s news and here are three stories that have caught my eye from Warwick, Hereford and Leamington Spa.


The Saxon Mill outside Warwick is showing off the results of a mini makeover. The former 12th century mill re-opened on 1st February back to serving popular gastropub dishes.


They have only been open a couple of months, but I am reading some good reviews for Hereford’s latest eaterie – Madam and Adam, where owners Beth and Swav focus on fine dining small plates.


Birtelli’s in Leamington are recruiting, so it cannot be long before scooters will be whizzing through the town to deliver their stonebaked pizzas, from their base in Clarendon Avenue.


Lets do lunch

Whether you munch a salad at your desk, feed your sandwiches to ducks in the park or have a favourite spot in a coffee shop, here are three new spots to try for lunch.


Three opened in Rugby last week and describes itself as a café, bistro, bar and cakery. Restauranteur owner  Vick wants to mix the best elements of French, British and world food and traditions to produce healthy and great tasting comfort food.

Breakfast until midday includes smashed avocado with lardons and an egg on toast. Lunch options have fresh pasta dishes of the day like penne with bacon, mozzarella and green beans alongside sandwiches, salads, sharing platters and freshly baked cakes. On Thursday and Friday Three will be open until 8pm for suppers of lamb kebabs with rice and salad plus roasted garlic chicken with buttered courgettes and mash.


Adding to the foodie outlets in Great Western Arcade, Wrap Lab is a different lunch option with a menu of (you guessed it!) wraps. A family set up they say that their ingredients are sourced locally, food is freshly prepared each morning and all sauces are our own recipes created by “expert chef Steve”.

The 12 different varieties include poached salmon with wasabi mayonnaise; turkey with honey Skyr ; rosemary and garlic lamb and feta with quinoa and shallot. Or make your own with choice of wrap, protein, three fillings and sauce all for £6. It was due to open in Brum last week, but when I walked past on Saturday it wasn’t ready, so check @wearewraplab for details.


Coming soon to Northampton – the Dapper Sandwich Co will be offering a noshery with co-working space and meeting room hire when it opens later this month at 2015 Wellingborough Road @DapperSandwich

Trio of new openings

There were a couple of new openings at the end of the year that I didn’t have a chance to mention before I went on holiday. The Eight Foot Grocer, a tasty new deli and café in Birmingham, Bread & Butter, a gourmet coffee shop in Leamington Spa and Nuovo,an expanding Italian restaurant group in Northampton.

Chris James The Eight Foot Grocer Birmingham Post

Proving that size doesn’t matter, The Eight Foot Grocer’s tiny space in the Jewellery Quarter is a former loading bay that is crammed with goodies.  In this Caroline Street store, Chris James  offers  fruit, vegetables, jams, marmalades, locally-made Cufuffle Preserves, Kneals Chocolates and Pip’s Hot Sauce products. Porridge is served for breakfast, and for lunch there are salads, cakes and sandwiches with bread from nearby Peel & Stone.

Bread & Butter coffee shop logo

Around The Parade, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and baked bread and pastries already fills the air in Leamington Spa and now another coffee shop has joined the appetising fug. Bread & Butter  at 53 Regent Street serves gourmet toasties alongside Monmouth coffee.

Forno grill

The owners of Papa Cinos in Dychurch Lane have branched out with their new Northampton restaurant . Nuovo just off Abington Street. Their dolce vita menu includes cicchetti, salads, steak, platters and pasta. The chargrill dishes are cooked on a Forno-Grill, made in Tuscany, which is the first of its kind in the UK