Upton Snodsbury
Tel: 01905 381631

THERE’S something about Barry White and Upton Snodsbury. Last year, a visit to the other main eaterie in the village saw my wife and I serenaded by the luscious tones of the love walrus.

And who should be playing as we took our seats at the Oak?

Yup. Big Bazza again.

Nice to have an old friend in the background as we looked over the interesting menu on the first weekend of the new year, keeping a watchful eye on the vaulted ceiling above us constructed mostly from empty wine bottles.

“Don’t worry,” a fellow diner reassured us. “It’s never fallen down and we’ve been coming here for a while.”

Judging by the menu, it’s easy to see why there are contented regulars. We were still working off the post-Christmas bulge and so decided against trying anything steak-orientated, but the other choices were so varied we had a time making up our minds.

In the end, my wife decided to start with the goat’s cheese and cherry tomato tartlet (£4.95) and I with warm pork belly, black pudding and apple salad (£5.50).

What was that I just said about eating big?

As things turned out, the dishes were the stars of the evening. My wife’s tartlet came with a roasted red pepper coulis and my dish with a wholegrain mustard dressing and both were faultless.

For mains, I went for pan-fried pheasant breasts, served with potato rosti, roasted parsnips and a woodland berry and port sauce (£11.95). The game was tangy and the rosti nicely crisp but I would have preferred the sauce to be a tad less overwhelming. My wife chose the Oak’s famous fish pie (£9.95) – flakes of fish topped with creamy mash and Monterey Jack cheese and served with vegetables.

It got pass marks but might have benefited from a chunkier texture to the fish.

And to round things off (literally), I manfully stuck to the task of dessert (all £4.95) and ordered an Eton Upton Snodsbury mess, which was perfectly fine and came with the less-often-used ingredient of nougat.

My wife has made it her mission to find the perfect crème brulee in Worcestershire and she got pretty darned close at the Oak. The vanilla crème was beautifully offset by the raspberries and shortbread biscuits.

Service was efficient and pleasant and with two pints of a very creamy Oyster stout and two diet cokes (it’s my turn to drive next time), the bill came to just over £52.

Big bad Barry had given way to James Brown by the time we left and we felt good.


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