“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

Table Talk Friday 30th November

Cheers to a boozy Table Talk this week with a new blend of gin, a crowd funding campaign from a local cider maker and English sparkling wine to celebrate Lichfield’s latest restaurant opening.

Nelson's Timur Gin

A Shropshire gin distillery has launched a new blend featuring Timur Pepper as one of its botanicals. Timur has a unique aroma, which is not hot or pungent like a pepper but has slight grapefruit overtones and creates a tingly feeling in the mouth. Nelson’s Timur Gin uses a Nepalese variety of the Sichuan pepper which is said to have a citrusy grapefruit flavour that pairs well with both savoury and sweet dishes. RRP £40.

Napton Cidery

The Olivier family founded Napton Cidery in February 2016 and have now launched a crowd funding campaign to help them develop the business. From their cider mill in Southam, near Leamington Spa, the company have made more than a dozen flavours of cider as well as apple brandy, vinegar and apple juice. The family aim to raise £120,000 to finance new fruit ciders, a new online shop and dedicated marketing resource, check out their crowdcube page here

Mackerel dish The Larder Lichfield

Brand new for Lichfield, Larder is a new restaurant opening in Lichfield. Chef Ryan Shilton (formerly at the three-rosette Four Seasons at Swinfen Hall Hotel) is promising “all flavour no pomp” in his Bore Street fine dining venue. Read the first review by Staffordshire’s Sauce magazine.

Table Talk – Friday 23rd November

A new street food night, a burger joint’s crowdfunding campaign and a popular pub makeover are this week’s news bites.

the Rebel Chicken Birmingham

Fans of street food in Birmingham can now add the Jewellery Quarter to their list. From next week (30th November) Street Food Fridays will run weekly over two inside and outdoor eating areas, hosted at The Rebel Chicken. Traders lined up include What The Cluck, Little Urban BBQ, Jamrock ,​ Full Belly, Veeru Da Dhaba, alongside a bar and DJ’s. From 4 – 11pm, free entry.

Burger Shop Hereford

The owners of Burger Shop, in Hereford and Worcester are hoping for a final push in their crowdfunding campaign. A Rule of Tum is looking to raise £400,000 to buy both its Hereford venue, open a butcher’s shop and launch a small plates concept in an arch next to its Worcester site.  With two weeks left to run, check out their page here

Chocolate bomb dessert The Encore Stratford upon Avon

The Encore pub in the heart of Stratford upon Avon’s town centre has had a swanky makeover and unveiled its new Winter menu. Guests will be able to enjoy dishes including sweet chilli king prawn rolls, lamb rack, lamb koftas and an exciting new range of desserts including a chocolate and peanut bomb.

Table Talk – Friday 3rd November

The One Elm in Stratford upon Avon has reopened its doors after a top-to-toe refurbishment.  As well as transforming the look and feel of the pub, the refit has brought a brand new all-day menu of top-notch pub dishes, made with great quality fresh ingredients.

The One Elm bar high res (1)

New to try are free-range Scotch eggs and brown sauce and Westcombe cheddar and ham hock croquettes bar snacks; the Two Elm double burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and burger sauce as well as a new grill and sizzler menu features seriously good chicken, king prawn and marinated halloumi sizzlers and great steaks from Aubrey Allen.

Hotel Chocolat chocolates

Thinking of Christmas yet? Luxury British chocolatier and cocoa grower, Hotel Chocolat, is opening a brand new store in Birmingham New Street on 8th November where you could stock up on gift ideas or simply treat yourself.

As well as a huge selection of boxed chocolates and single-origin bars, shoppers can also purchase cocoa-infused interpretations such as cocoa gin, cocoa beer,  spiced cocoa nib ketchup, cocoa balsamic and chocolate orange marmalade.


Table Talk 15 September

The latest news from Lasan, The Steamhouse Company, Restaurant 23 and Patina in this week’s table talk.

Lasan restaurant Birmingham

Lasan in Birmingham has closed its doors  – but don’t worry its only temporary! The restaurant is being refurbished and a more spacious interior plus new menu will be revealed in October.

The Steamhouse

Steamhouse, the  coffee and bagels café in Leamington, has expanded and opened a new branch in Stratford upon Avon on the High Street.

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa

Restaurant 23 in Leamington has welcomed  Abigail Connolly to the team. Abigail is taking over from  Eduardo Neto  as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.

Patina Bakery wedding cake

A new bakery has opened in Kenilworth. Patina is owned by Amy Clarke, who was previously pastry chef at The Cross. Ingredients used for her wedding and celebration cakes come from fair-trade sources and often local ones too – with flour from nearby Charlcotte Mill.

Table Talk

A boozy table talk this week, with news of new bar openings in Coventry, Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon for you.

The Botanist Birmingham cocktail

The Botanist bar and restaurant has submitted an application for an alcohol license, which if approved could see them opening up in Unit 4 of the Broadgate Centre in the heart of Coventry. How the city will fare with hanging kebabs, watering cans of cocktails and even mini wheelbarrows to serve food remains to be seen.

The Canal House Birmingham craft beer

I missed the launch party due to train woes (maybe I should have taken a barge instead!) so I am keen to get inside the newly opened Canal House and try some of their home distilled gin. The former home of 18th century engineer James Brindley has been transformed into two levels serving food, premium craft beers and cocktails, alongside live music.

Limoncello at Veeno

Italian wine café Veeno has become the first restaurant to open at the Bell Court complex in Stratford-upon-Avon. The 90-seat venue serves wines from the family vineyard back in Sicily and Spuntini – platters of meats, cheeses and other appetisers imported from selected Italian producers.

Summer menu at The Encore

Eton Mess The Encore Stratford upon Avon

I’m going to miss the Summer menu launch party at The Encore in Stratford upon Avon on Wednesday.

This is a shame as there are some fab new dishes that Head Chef Christian Radu has created that  I would like to try including –

Black pudding croquets with whisky hollandaise

Sloe gin salmon with lime crème fraiche

Rondos with ginger beer glaze

Eton mess.

Table Talk

Following last week’s Food Festival, this week’s offers have a Stratford theme.

Breaking news – opening in October is The Flat Chicken.  An award-winning gastro team has taken over the former Bernadette’s site in Guild Street. www.theflatchicken.com

Just outside of Stratford upon Avon in Snitterfield, Ingon Manor wants us to forget about the weather with a 50% discount off the summer a la carte menu on Friday and Saturday evening. www.ingonmanor.co.uk

If you picked up a programme at the Stratford Food Festival last weekend, you could receive 10% off your lunch bill from the bar bill at Alveston Manor. Or a complimentary glass of wine with every two course dinner in the Manor restaurant. www.MacdonaldHotels.co.uk/AlvestonManor