Hadley Heath, near Droitwich
Tel: 01905 620294

SPARE a thought for your Worcester News food reviewers. We enjoy lovely meals but we also have to brave the bad ones, too.

So there’s always a tense moment as you get ready to dig in and discover if this evening will be a triumph or a disaster.

In this case, it was a huge triumph.

We were at the newly re-opened Hadley Bowling Green Inn, Hadley, near Droitwich, which is a lovely 16th century halftimbered pub with rooms and its own crown bowling green.

The place has fallen on hard times of late, culminating in a two-month closure before coming under new ownership.

When we visited the pub was quiet – but that was not altogether unexpected as it was just days after it reopened. We were offered a drink in the bar and shown a refreshingly simple menu.

We opted to sit in the formal restaurant where our attentive waiter brought out some warm, fresh bread. Mental note: good start.

I kicked off with mushrooms on toast (£4.95) while my other half plumped for the duck and port pâté with a tomato and courgette chutney (£4.95). My starter arrived and I could have cheered.

It was a fabulous-looking chunky doorstep drizzled with a plentiful supply of garlicky mushrooms. I was not disappointed.

The smooth, rich pâté, accompanied by crunchy toast, was also declared delicious.

Next I chose ribeye peppered steak with chips (£14.95) and a side order of red cabbage (£2).

I knew I was on to a winner as I cut into my steak and realised I needed to exert no pressure with my knife. The home-made chips were chunky and tasty while the red cabbage was spot on.

My other half chose fish, chips and mushy peas (£9.95). The fish was perfect – thick and covered with a thin, crispy layer of batter.

He felt the chips were slightly on the al dente side for his taste – although I noticed that nothing was left uneaten.

The meals were artfully presented but where that sometimes means skinny portions – here they were just enough and a little bit more.

For dessert, I had chosen Eton mess (£4.50) on the recommendation of the waiter. It would have been nice but nothing special except for the scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream hidden at the bottom which somehow elevated it to new heights.

My husband’s chocolate bread and butter pudding (£4.50) was quickly despatched with gusto.

I’m not exaggerating when I say neither of us left a morsel of our meals.

Could this evening get any better? Well, two three course meals and drinks cost us just over £55. For food of this quality I thought that was a steal.

Life is not perfect though so I will add that the pub’s décor was a little tired, although our waiter told me the new owners have big plans for change.

One thing’s for sure. If the food and service stay this good, this pub will not be quiet for long.


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