Friar Street, Worcester
Tel: 01905 235730

FORMERLY a coaching inn, Ye Olde Talbot Hotel, occupying a prime position on the corner of Friar Street and Sidbury in Worcester and only a stone’s throw from the cathedral, has been dispensing food and board for centuries.

That’s long enough to have got things right and, where the restaurant is concerned, the management has done so, striking a nice balance between traditional British dishes and some popular foreign offerings.

Three of us dropped in on a busy Friday night to find that service from a young and friendly staff was swift, three glasses of gin and tonic arriving within minutes of being ordered.

The restaurant offers two main courses for only £10.45, with starters at an additonal £2.50 each but we decided to select from the full menu. My companions declared themselves more than satisfied with their starters.

One took a trio of oven-baked fish cakes – prawn biryani in pakora batter with minted yoghurt and cucumber, Thai haddock in a pico crumb with red pepper and chilli sauce and Mexican salmon in a nacho crumb with roasted tomato and smoked garlic chutney. The other settled on grilled field mushroom with goat’s cheese and rocket, pineapple and cracked black pepper chutney.

I was not so lucky. The Croxton Manor cheddar and Ruddles ale rarebit tart with caramelised shallots in thyme pastry topped with a roasted tomato and smoked garlic chutney was rather bland, failing to live up to its grandiose title.

However, sheer novelty attracted me to a main course which turned out to be a winner.

I’m not normally a burger fan but I succumbed to the lure of a surf ‘n’ turf version.

This turned out to be a 100 per cent British beef burger topped with tail-on tempura prawns, with Tickler cheddar and grilled bacon in a toasted rustic flour bap with mayonnaise, lettuce, plum tomato and red onion, served with chips and a roasted tomato, with smoked garlic chutney on the side.

It was absolutely delicious.

An aubergine, feta cheese and beetroot cannelloni topped with a tomato and oregano sauce, minted yoghurt and cucumber with garlic ciabatta and a mixed salad went down well with one of my companions.

The other found a couple of ingredients missing from her Loch Fyne smoked Scottish salmon and king prawn salad, with rocket, mixed salad leaves and baby spinach, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes and cucumber, fresh chopped mint and chives, with avocado oil, lemon and cracked black pepper dressing.

So it went back to the kitchen where the omissions were swiftly remedied.

Desserts of white chocolate and pistachio cheesecake with a cardamom-spiced crumb and toffee sauce, banoffie tart with maple and walnut ice cream, toffee sauce and sliced banana, and an upside-down summer berry trifle with double cream and dark chocolate sauce all met with approval.

Add a bottle of Three Pebble Bay Zinfandel rosé at £11.95 and the bill for the evening came to £78.81.

Perhaps a polite word to the management? Some of Ye Olde Talbot’s dining chairs are a tad too ‘olde’. Two of us found ourselves on seats with decidedly wobbly legs.


Food: 4
Service: 5
Ambience: 3
Value for money: 4