The 1912 restaurant promised much with an excellent web site and its fabulous location halfway up the eastern side of the Malvern hills. But there the promise ended.
Loud piped music in the bar, a disinterested barman and dinner orders not taken in the bar but at the table started the disappointment. Bread arrived after the starter and the wine and water not at all until I reminded a waitress that I had ordered wine. Feeling of disinterest in us, as we were not staying the night there, made worse by the table next to, and who had arrived after, us had their order taken first and their bread and wine arrived promptly!
As to the food itself; mediocre I am sorry to say. To start my wife ordered the cured sea bream which even she realised was a mistake. Raw fish served this way has to be the freshest possible, caught that morning at the very latest, and that is just not possible in Malvern. I opted for the lamb sweetbreads which was very tasty but had been thrown on the plate in a very messy way. It needed something to bring it together; bread or toast or something similar.
For the main course my wife chose the Sirloin of beef. When I suggested to the a waitress that she should ask how it should be cooked she was aghast that anyone should ask such a thing. Flustered she said well it will be served pink. That would have been fine but it arrived totally raw in the middle. We should have sent it back but we were there to celebrate a birthday and wanted to eat together rather than one person then the other when it would have been returned.
My choice was the braised shin and oxtail cottage pie. It arrived in its cooking utensil on a paper napkin on the plate! Why oh why do restaurants think it is chic to serve food in the dish in which it has been cooked, utter laziness! The vegetable of purple sprouting broccoli arrived in another metal utensil. I want a meal when I go out presented on a plate, not to have to eat out of two separate metal cooking pots. The cottage pie itself was more mash than filling. I would think the correct proportion should be about 80% filling and 20% topping. In this case it was 15% filling and 85% mashed potato.
This report would have been with a two star rating had it not been for the deserts. I have to admit they were to die for. Glazed bananas for my wife and the chocolate mousse for myself.
If you must come to the Cottage in the Wood then miss the starter and main and just go for coffee and a desert.
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