Russell's of Broadway
In the charming Cotswold honeypot village of Broadway, Worcestershire, there was a furniture factory where Gordon Russell carried the banner of the Arts and Crafts movement and skilled craftsmanship well into the 20th century.
It was the largest employer in the village and very well regarded. After the Russell family sold the company, the name became an asset but the factory redundant. Out of this move, enterprising hoteliers Andrew Riley and, then business partner, Barry Hancox, saw the possibility of turning the premises into a luxury hotel and restaurant. Russells is now equally well respected.
Our recent stay was immaculate, from the skilled welcome by Carina, the spotless spacious room and the general atmosphere which is seductive, all in the quietest and subtlest good taste.
Dinner overseen by charming Mark, began with the choice of wine, I spotted an Australian tempranillo, Willunga 2010, so unusual that it had to be tried. Stars to both Mark and the wine
My wife’s scallops were cooked by someone who understood these sweet shellfish perfectly, they did not die in vain, with unusually parsnip purees, a delicious marriage: the best ever she declared.
I chose a Carpaccio of venison beautifully presented but slightly spoiled by vinegar from the pickled figs. The next two courses really spoke a great deal about the talented team in the kitchen led by Neil Clarke. a perfect plaice on the bone with imaginative accompaniments and a delicious belly of lighthorne lamb, braised to bring out the best of English lamb, again illustrating that cheapish cuts need not be dismissed, particularly when cooked with this amount of skill.
A quince clafoutis, again using a fruit not often seen on menus, except in membrillo and in record time the most beautifully risen mandarin soufflé, both excellent. We accompanied these with an Italian dessert wine a piedmont viscioli with cherry juice fermented with sweet grape juice, it would be delightful with chocolate.
In all a winter’s meal to remember with rain lashing down outside and warm English first class hospitality inside.
Russell’s has just opened a premier league fish and chip restaurant which has exceeded all expectations and brought a taste of the sea to Broadway, with Ross in firm control.
My wine thoughts this month turn to Portugal. I have recently tried several Dao red wines, wonderful, hearty, zesty numbers, not expensive, but very suitable for winter food
By Somerset Moore