Callow Hill,
Near Bewdley,
DY14 9XW
Tel: 01299 266286

WHEN I booked our table at the Royal Forester, near Bewdley, it never really crossed my mind that the date coincided with St Patrick’s Day.

However, it turned out to be the happiest of coincidences that Sean, the landlord of this recently refurbished rustic eatery, was a most jovial and welcoming Irishman, keen to celebrate his nation’s patron saint.

No sooner had we settled at a table in the bar, he was over with a round of drinks on the house as well as a shot each of the (in)famous Irish spirit poitin (pronounced ‘potcheen’) to accompany them.

Well, that was an interesting experience. Let’s just say it was a good job neither of us were driving!

It was genuinely refreshing to receive such a warm welcome and, coupled with the live Irish music being played in the bar, it made for a lively opening to our evening.

The inn, which dates back to 1411, is thought to be one of Worcestershire’s oldest and provides an intimate dining experience due to the meandering nature of its restaurant, despite the fact it is spacious enough to cater for up to 80 people.

Our meal got off to a superb start with an excellent pair of starters. My wife really enjoyed the crumbled goat’s cheese, grape and walnut salad (£5.50) which was available on that night’s specials menu, while my king prawn and spring onion risotto served with deep fried halloumi and parmesan (£6.50) – from the a la carte selection – was a triumph.

The roast breast of duck (£16.95), which was accompanied by fondant potato, roast root vegetables and a damson gin jus, that I chose was a lovely dish.

My wife sent her rib-eye steak (£14.95) back for a few more minutes in the pan for it to be medium to well done, but the waitress was happy to oblige and when it returned, the dish was perfect.

The steak was served with fantastic hand-cut chips, while we added a side order of the interesting garlic and chilli roasted brocolli stalks.

To finish, we shared a selection of cheese served with biscuits, celery, grapes, chutney and port (£8.50).

It’s not simply the luck of the Irish that makes the Royal Forester such a great venue, it’s the perfect combination of a charismatic and welcoming host at the front of house and a talented and inventive team behind the hot plate.

Food 4
Service 5
Ambience 5
Value for money 4