Friday, 4 January 2013

The Mary Arden Inn, Wilmcote, Stratford-upon-Avon

This is not full of the Tudorbethan olde-worlde ambience you might expect. It has a slightly shambolic, dusty atmosphere that does not reflect the artful nonchalance of the current vintage or retro trends. It just looks shabby. The furnishings in the bar area were a mismatch - tub chairs, tall backed padded dining chairs, large dining tables. The chairs were comfortable enough, but the table we chose was very sticky.

We were only there for a light lunch and were tempted by the sandwiches menu although the choice was limited. I opted for tuna mayonnaise. There being no bloomer loaves left I chose white bread. Drew went for a ham salad baguette. It was not that good. We waited over twenty minutes and it was not honestly worth the wait or the £5.50 cost per sandwich, even from menus that boast the use of local produce. For an establishment that announces itself as a brasserie, I expected a leaning toward the more artisan content and presentation. Instead, I was presented with two slices of white sliced bread with the slightly doughy, stretchy feel of the pre-packaged loaf, cut into four triangles with a tuna mayo that had the suspiciously creamy, too-smooth texture of the catering tub. The salad accompaniment was leaves, shards of red and yellow peppers and just over a quarter of a tomato*, heavily drizzled in balsamic vinegar. To be fair, Drew quite enjoyed his salad, but we both agreed that the accompanying Doritos were the size and shape of the generic, supermarket own brand. His ham salad baguette contained a thick slice of ham, plain tasting and not too salty with a few squashed rocket leaves.

In fairness, we may have missed a trick. There were four people on a table next to us having the soup, which seemed to be served in huge shallow bowls and they seemed to be enjoying it. Access is limited, but not impossible. There is a single step into most rooms, but the staff were friendly enough, so assistance would be forthcoming.

* Yes, faithful blogee, I'm afraid I measured it.

Access: *****

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