January & February 2016 food bites

King and Thai food

Broseley restaurant scoops award

The King and Thai in Broseley are again celebrating a win – in November, they were crowned regional winner of the Waitrose Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year Awards. The King and Thai had been nominated by customers as the top local restaurant in the Midlands, and beat off stiff competition from some of the region’s best-known restaurants to take the title.

Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose Good Food Guide editor, said, ”The King and Thai is a brilliant local gem, the kind the Good Food Guide and its readers love, offering very good home-cooked Thai food. The menu may be full of classic, familiar dishes, but they’re very simple and effective with clear, fresh, punchy flavours. Chef Suree Coates makes all her sauces from scratch, and the quality, freshness and taste of the food is truly impressive.”

Suree said, “I’m so delighted to have won this award for the Midlands. I was speechless when I heard, which is very rare for me! I’d like to thank everyone for voting for us and our local suppliers for their consistent quality of produce – and last but not least my team for their ongoing shared passion and hard work.”

Visit thekingandthai.co.uk to find out more about the restaurant’s upcoming events, ethos… and menu.

Masala Magic impresses Dragons

A product that helps cooks create their own curries has won a Dragons’ Den-style competition held at Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury.

Lajina Leal of Telford-based Masala Magic has developed two spice pots, which she sells in local farm shops. Lajina (pictured) and fellow finalist Suzanne Welland of Roly Poly Puddings each had 35 minutes in which to face the Dragons, and Lajina triumphed, winning six months’ free tenancy at the Food Enterprise Centre, which she hopes will commence in March. Suzanne Welland makes luxury puddings – and she impressed the Dragons so much, they offered her a unit at the Centre over Christmas. Both entrepreneurs also won a bespoke package of support that includes creative design work and social media, helps with costs, and promotions advice. Find out more about Lajina’s products and cookery courses at masalamagic.kitchen.

Lajina said, “Thank you to the Dragons for the very constructive challenges they threw out to me and their advice on how to push myself and my ambitions forward.”

The experts were Clive Wright, Shropshire Council’s chief executive; Marcus Bean, award-winning chef and owner of Brompton Cookery School; Shrewsbury Food Festival organiser Beth Heath and Peter Guy, Shropshire Star’s advertising manager and vice president of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.

Clays on the small screen

Broseley enjoyed a starring role on BBC TV towards the end of last year as a Shropshire family exchanged homes with a couple from Bolton for a short break. Home Away from Home followed the Lancashire couple as they explored the Broseley and Ironbridge area and enjoyed a meal at Clays in Broseley High Street – and they spoke very highly of the increasingly popular venue, which usually hovers within the top three Telford restaurants on Trip Advisor.

Over the festive season, Clays paused its popular TF12 menu, which celebrates Broseley’s postcode with a menu offering two courses for £15, but proprietor David Clay says they’re planning to reinstate the deal in January. Visit claysofbroseley.co.uk to find out what’s on the menu at the moment.

Eggs-troadinarily good puds

Shrewsbury-based confectioners Flower and White have added to their range of sweet treats with Custardz. These gourmet chilled pots are the ultimate in indulgence and are available in five irresistible flavours including Sticky Toffee and Passionfruit Curd. The pots are made with hand-separated free range eggs and double cream and layered with sauce or compote. As with their Merangz range, the company’s eggs are locally sourced from free range hens – and Flower & White’s bakers crack more than 30,000 eggs each week. All Flower and White products are available online at flowerandwhite.co.uk.

Dark ale proves a hit

Craven Arms brewery Wood’s are delighted with the success of their new oatmeal stout, Ebony. Sales manager James Owens said, “Stouts are making a comeback with ale aficionados – they’re becoming increasingly popular with both male and female drinkers. Our new stout has deep chocolate and coffee notes and goes wonderfully with steak and smoked cheese.”

Visit woodbrewery.co.uk for more information or to buy online – Wood’s beers are also available in the Co-operative, Sainsbury’s, Tanners, and selected off-licences.

Moroccan treats in store

Broseley’s Birchmeadow is set to host another of its popular themed evenings, which deliver a three-course meal and a specially selected film for just £9. The previous French, Indian and Italian nights have been sold out, and tickets for the latest event, which features a Moroccan tagine and the film The Sheltering Sky, are selling fast. Organiser Maggie Humphry (pictured) says, “The aim is purely to put on a sociable evening that brings together the community.”

The Moroccan night takes place on Saturday 27 February from 6.45pm and tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are available from Downes’ greengrocers in the High Street or from the website at Birchmeadow.org.uk. Vegetarians should advise when booking.

Butchers show off skills

Ludlow Food Centre’s butchery manager John Brereton (pictured) has been awarded a silver medal in the WorldSkills UK National Competition. Held at Birmingham’s NEC in late November, the finals featured six top butchers as part of a showcase for skills across a range of professions.

John said, “The standard of butchery at the NEC was incredibly high so to come away with a silver medal is brilliant. It’s always great to be given an opportunity to demonstrate your talents and encouraging to see so much young butchery talent in the UK.”

Romance on the line SVR1

Couples can enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day meal with a difference on board one of the Severn Valley Railway’s heritage steam trains. Guests will be served a three-course meal in the luxury surroundings of one of the SVR’s beautifully-restored dining carriages while their train travels through the wintry scenery outside. The service departs from Kidderminster at 12.50pm on Sunday February 14. Tickets are £36 plus train travel ticket; advance booking essential – call 01562 757900.

Brewery proud of winning stout

Hobsons Shropshire Stout hasn’t even been around for a year and it’s already picked up an International Beer Award. The stout brewed by the Cleobury Mortimer brewery clinched a bronze medal at the 2015 International Beer Challenge at the end of last year. The competition was judged by UK beer experts including retailers, importers, publicans, brewers, writers and flavour analysts, as well as highly experienced judges.

Kate Pearce of Hobsons said, “We’re very pleased to receive such an acclaimed award for our new stout; credit to our brewers for creating a stand-out beer which impressed the judges against 630 beers from around the world!”

Wroxeter set to rock ‘n’ roll

The Wroxeter Hotel near Shrewsbury has long made food the focus of its wedding packages, with Vintage, Winter Wonderland and Woodland events offering cream teas, cosy comfort food, and rustic buffets. Now the luxury setting is set to offer a new deal for brides and grooms who want something[L1] out of the ordinary – the Rock ‘n’ Roll package will feature American-style burger sliders and pulled pork buns.

“We’re finding customers are becoming more discerning than ever in their search for that special something to make their event stand out,” says owner Hannah Hall. “Whether that’s pulling out all the stops for the best gourmet experience or going slightly off piste and doing something completely different, we aim to meet their needs.”

Pheasant rewards loyal diners

After a hectic first year, the Pheasant at Neenton has introduced the Loyalty Club to reward the ever-growing band of customers who eat and drink regularly at the community-run pub. The scheme provides a £10 welcome voucher and more vouchers follow as diners come back to the venue near Bridgnorth, as well as special offers and deals for members. For details visit www.pheasantatneenton.co.uk.

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