20 restaurants in Stafford
Restaurants in Stafford:
1 Spitfire Close, Stafford, ST16 1ST [Map]
Brewer's Fayre restaurants offer a warm welcome to those who want a reliably tasty meal in pleasant surroundings, with plenty of choice, minimal fuss and friendly service. With a reputation going back 25 years they should have a fair chance of doing that, but don't take our word for it. Give them a try and see if you agree that this is how good quality pub food should be served.
Whether it's snacks, grills, pub classics, fish, Sunday roasts or side dishes they think their way through the options, talk to their guests, and then come up with the goods. Not everybody wants a full meal so they've considered the needs of those who want to keep the gap filled and the children contented, perhaps on a journey or a day out.
Hot filled baguettes are always popular be it sausage and red onion or a classic chicken club sandwich. Jacket potatoes are good on their own but filled with mature cheddar cheese and beans they take on a new dimension.
More paced occasions demand a wide menu, perhaps with starters of breaded butterfly prawns, chicken goujons or breaded camembert bites. Grills are there for the hungry and whole rack of meaty BBQ pork ribs served with extra sauce, chips and coleslaw can be very welcome. The days of the mixed grill are back - or did they ever go away - a 4oz rump steak, two pork sausages, and a gammon steak topped with a fried egg served with all the trimmings will remind you if they did.
Salmon and prawn fishcakes are served with buttered new potatoes, tartare sauce and a lightly dressed salad. A combination of sea and land comes with a rump steak, whole grilled chicken breast and breaded breaded butterfly prawns, served with chips and a side salad or garden peas.
The rise of eating out in pubs has brought into our daily lives a whole legion of what might be termed 'pub classics'. Many of them have their roots in what used to be called 'good home cooking' and include such dishes as sausage, egg and chips, beef and ale pie, chicken and mushroom pie and for the very daring a beef lasagne. Well, all of them and many more are on the menu at Brewer's Fayre, supplemented by such new regulars as vegetable Goan chicken curry, pork chop, chilli con carne and grilled chicken and bacon salad.
It has often been said that chicken tikka masala is now the most popular dish in Britain. Some may not really want to believe that, much as they love curry, but travel, population movement and other factors have widened our scope and they are probably pretty keen on fish and chips in Timbuktu.
What is certain is that the great British Sunday roast is exclusive to these islands, though copied maybe elsewhere or in ex-pat outposts. No surprise therefore that it's on the Brewer's Fayre menu. A trade of three roasts with an opportunity to trade up to a mega roast for a modest sum. With it come two Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetables and that important element - gravy.
A fine list of immensely tempting desserts may well bring the most ardent weight-watcher to their knees. A short but well thought out wine list offers all choices, except champagne, by the glass. Staying the night - check to see if there's a Premier Inn next door - chances are you'll be lucky.
A quick click on their Website is always worth while. The only thing that stays still permanently is the quality which is helped by a changing menu, and some very special offers.
Salt, nr Stafford, ST18 0BX [Map]
The Holly Bush Inn in the village of Salt, close by the River Trent, is seriously popular and seems to thrive, as many successful restaurateurs are aware of, on giving people what they like, not what you happen to think they ought to. Leave the education process to the subsidised elements of this world.
Furthermore, if you happen to be running the reputedly second oldest pub in the country, set in attractive country near a major conurbation, you are off to a head start anyway.
A visit on any weekday towards evening might reveal the true scope of their popularity with a friendly and diplomatic staff who manage the bar as well as the restaurant with admirable efficiency.
The menu could include starters of Staffordshire oatcakes stuffed with spiced black pudding and herby tomato sauce or pan fried calves liver in garlic butter with mixed leaf salad. Main courses number at least twelve on any day and top contenders for dish of the day could easily be the homemade steak and kidney pudding with a rich onion gravy, a traditional venison casserole cooked with home cured bacon, button mushrooms and red wine or the deep fried cod with mushy peas.
Should that not tickle your fancy there is the House mixed grill, a journey down memory lane with generous helpings of gammon, pork chop, sirloin steak, liver, kidney and not least the hand-made local sausages. The steaks, again from Mr Perry of Eccleshall, are a revelation with a 20 oz T-bone on the menu. For cheeses, think in terms of Fowlers of Earlswood, the oldest cheese making family in England.
The real ales are a revelation, with about four variations monthly, and a wine list offers fair choice at prices that will not spoil your appetite. There are no frills when it comes to the supporting tackle, though you can eat in the bar, and the dining room does make some concessions in that direction.
This may not be Michelin star country, but it is a place for hearty eaters who appreciate sound cooking, as well as a celebration of what Staffordshire can produce in the way of honest local ingredients. Whilst it has an array of awards to support this, the real proof lies in the overflowing car park.
The Holly Bush Inn is very proud of the fact that they were awarded Best British Food 2003 at the prestigious Publican Pub Food Awards. Hosted by celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson the ceremony was held on the 13th November at the Queen Elizabeth Centre, Westminster where Holly Bush Landlord Geoff Holland accepted the award.
For masses of additional information, do visit their extremely comprehensive and interesting Website.
British, Pub, Seafood
A5, 1 Ivetsey Bank, Watling Street, nr Stafford, ST19 9QT [Map]
This place comes as something of a surprise to anyone who remembers the old Little Chef on the A5 near to the turn to Wheaton Aston, next to the Bradford Arms, since it's been completely transformed and turned into a very stylish Indian restaurant, with a quality of cuisine to match the décor.
No garish flock wallpaper here, instead a cool interior of muted colours that provides an ideal background to enjoy an excellent evening out.
The menu is also far more enterprising than at your normal Indian establishment; instead of a bewilderingly huge tome of many variations on a similar theme, here you are offered thoroughly individual dishes, showing off the real diversity that exists in the Indian sub-continent.
There's a range of appetisers, interesting options such as maachli chaat, succulent mackerel cooked in garlic, tomato and capsicum or bhelpuri channa with chick peas, tomatoes, aubergines and garam masala. The usual suspects make their presence felt with prawn puree, king prawns cooked with tomato puree, onions and green herbs served with puffy, light bread and sheek kabab, rolled and spiced minced lamb cooked in the tandoor.
The main courses run from the chicken curry from Goa, marinated meat cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, chilli, cream coconut, coriander and hot curry paste through to Chittagong style king prawns, half cut shelled prawns with ginger, garlic, grated onion, lime juice and coriander; maybe you should try the lamb saqi, a creamy dish of barbecued meat simmered in coconut milk, ground ginger and mint or North Indian chilli garlic chicken, cooked in hot chilli garlic sauce garnished with coriander.
More standard choices include a range of tandoori dishes, biryanis, baltis and even the ubiquitous chicken tikka masala, apparently Britain's most popular dish these days, as well as the traditional curries, like korma, bhoona, madras and dansak.
Side dishes are impressive as well, with an excellent tarka dall, a vegetarian delight of assorted lentils cooked with garlic, or aloo gobi, cauliflower and potato with light spices, and begon bhajee, aubergine with tomato and onion.
Their excellent Website provides you with details of Cafe India's full menu, the takeaway service - with a 10% discount - and their special banquets for parties of ten or more. They can also provide an outside catering service for weddings or special occasions.
20 Greengate Street, Stafford, ST16 2HS [Map]
Bella Italia is a restaurant that pulsates with Italian style and fashion, where the day starts with breakfast, not least the Inglese, the familiar bacon, sausage, mushroom, tomato and fried or scrambled eggs and sauté potatoes with ciabatta toast so beloved of hearty eaters seeking a good start to the day, particularly when they don't have to prepare it. A vegetarian option is available, along with the bambini of sausages, tomato and scrambled egg, or a strapazzata, scrambled eggs on ciabatta toast. A cappuccino or hot chocolate offers a more gentle awakening and croissant or pastries are welcome at almost any time.
It is always worth remembering that eating Italian is a great opportunity to work away through something rather more liberating than the conventional 3 course English meal. Little and often seems to be the motto but move on to the antipasti and it's immediately obvious this is no easy task, confronted with well over a dozen dishes, not one of which you really have the heart to turn down. The selezione classica assembles a few of the favourite starters; oven baked lemon and rosemary chicken wings, spiced meatballs, calamari, mini garlic butter-filled calzoni and lightly battered courgettes served with flamed pepper and lemon herb dips.
A speck e rucola pizza, added to a traditional margherita brings together two traditions with Italian speck ham providing the second, but it is within the pasta and risotto dishes that you can adapt almost any main ingredient, as well enjoy some of Italy's most traditional treats. Who can deny a well formed spaghetti Bolognese or penne Marco Polo? And not for nothing is a nicely prepared spaghetti carbonara the preferred dish of many.
From a selection of five choices amongst the secondi many will head unerringly for controfiletto ai ferri, a 7oz sirloin steak char-grilled to preference and served with garlic butter, roast field mushrooms, fries and rocket, or the fritto misto, lightly battered prawns, cod fillet, calamari and courgette with fries and a herb lemon and caper dip.
Could anything be more appropriate than The Godfather, for 1 or 2 naturally, with nutty chocolate fudge brownies, vanilla and toffee ice cream with chocolate sauce, fresh cream and wafer curls, and rest assured the coffee will do justice to the meal.
With a wine list that makes few concessions to other countries - and why should it - good Italian food can receive an equally national baptism by wine. For further enlightenment, news about their on-line shop and special deals, a click on their lively Website will reveal all.
3 Market Square, Stafford, ST16 2JH [Map]
Pizza Express remains a hugely popular bedrock of casual eating. Its popularity is testimony to the fact that across the country, they have restaurants where you will always be guaranteed a good nosh, with children's tastes being well catered for.
Pizza Express has gone even more Roman, and following the success of that particular example of listening to their public have introduced Romana pizzas, including the scorching Etna and the hearty Siciliana.
These pizzas are now thinner, bigger and crispier, and if that sounds like a marketing line, it is. However, unlike many such lines, this one is true, and their quality is always consistent, though cleverly they have still managed to retain a homemade feel to their pizzas.
As an alternative to pizza, try their pollo pesto - cavatappi pasta with torn chicken breast, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella in a creamy gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce and finished with grana padano - or the niçoise salad with mixed leaves, yellowfin tuna, free range egg, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes with olives, anchovies, capers and house dressing.
Many of the big chains have come a long way, and Pizza Express is certainly amongst them. One of the first to be quoted on the Stock Exchange - in 1993 - Pizza Express is not a franchise operation and retains tight control through its own staff.
Their wine list - though short - contains some surprisingly good offerings, especially their intense Australian Chardonnay, and a big, full-bodied Merlot from Cusumano, Sicilia.
Pizza & Pasta
The Hough, Litchfield Road, Stafford, ST17 4LL [Map]
46-46a Greengate Street, Stafford, ST16 2JA [Map]
This former 18th century coaching inn has a prime location in the centre of town, and with 300 years of service and a major £1.5m modernisation by The Lewis Partnership behind it is well able to deal with the demands of modern life when it comes to creature comforts such as eating, drinking and relaxing.
In 2009 the brasserie won 'Brasserie of the Year' in the prestigious Taste of Staffordshire Awards. Its reputation for live music in Stafford under the Swan Live programme is enviable, with the Courtyard Garden pressed into service.
Brasserie, Modern British
35 Greengate Street, Stafford , ST16 2HZ [Map]
Bistro, Modern British, Modern European
More restaurants in Stafford:
Featured Group Restaurant
Brewer's Fayre restaurants offer a warm welcome to those who want a reliably tasty meal in pleasant surroundings, with plenty of choice, minimal fuss and friendly service.
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