Some of you may know that I’m actually from the West Midlands. A tiny town, not far from Stratford-Upon-Avon. So when I go back, I do occasionally like to venture out that way. Last weekend we visited Loxleys in Stratford for lunch, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in the Midlands.
Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar is a cute two floor, contemporary restaurant in the heart of Stratford, on quaint little Sheep Street. Inside (and out on the terrace where we sat) its exposed walls and floor, wooden furniture, royal blues, plants, candles and prints gave it a rural yet modern feel.
From the minute we stepped inside we were made to feel special, and we noticed it wasn’t just us who received this treatment. Suzanne who was the manager on duty, gave us a very warm welcome, and both herself and our host Savannah were very chatty and friendly, helpful with recommendations and efficient. Service may have been efficient but not once did we feel rushed. We had a lovely leisurely lunch, taking our time to ensure we picked the right meals and drinks to start. Anything to avoid that food envy!
You see, the menu at Loxleys is pretty big!
It features a large selection of dishes which are based around gastro pub cuisine, but with modern/elegant touches to bring them into the current day and give the a more fancy feel. There’s so much choice – which makes it tough to choose! There’s a selection of small plates/tapas, several starters, a handful of classic dishes, even more main options (nine) and five choices from the chargrill. See what I mean?!
The starters feature quite the range of options from soup of the day, to twice baked cheese souffle and a British Charcuterie Plate.
The ‘Thai-spiced’ Salmon Scotch Egg was fantastic. The salmon was pretty meaty, and had a good spicy kick, with a delicious thin crisped coating. The egg inside was perfect, still soft. Whilst the sweet chilli mayonnaise, crispy shallots and coriander cress finished the dish well – the mayo added a creamy, yet still slightly spicy touch, and the shallots a fab crunchiness.
The Chicken Liver Parfait was the best we’d had before. It was served with a Chorizo Emulsion and toasted brioche which we’d never had served with parfait. Rich, creamy and smooth, it had a more delicate finish to those we’d had before. It went beautifully with the brioche, this adding the slight sweetness, whilst the chorizo emulsion just a touch of added creaminess. It felt like a premium take on a chicken pate and was absolutely delicious. Above all, I’m glad we shared both!
On to the mains and the choice got even more tough…
The classics at Loxleys include Hooky Ale Battered Fish of the Day, Lasagne and a super salad. Whilst the other mains feature chargrilled lamb cutlets, lemon sole on the bone, and saffron, pea and buttermilk risotto. In addition, choices from the Chargrill include 28-Day, Dry Aged Hereford Beef steaks, a burger and ribs.
The 6oz Fillet Medallions, selected medium, were perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. They had a fantastic flavour without any sauce. However the peppercorn was a fab, creamy delicious option alongside. The double cooked chips were crispy, yet fluffy in the middle and delicious too. All steaks on the menu come with a mushroom and tomato too, and those also appeared to disappear on the plate across from me pretty quickly!
The Spiced & Glazed Gressingham Duck Breast, with Parsnip, Pear, Stilton Bon Bon, Pistachio, Watercress, Red Wine Reduction was another superb dish. The duck was beautifully cooked (a little more fatty than the steak), and the pistachio crust was fantastic. The stilton bon bons (like potato croquettes) were strong, but creamy in the middle, and had fab lightly breaded coating. The red wine reduction was rich, adding to the depth of the dish, whilst the pear and parsnip puree really helped balance the flavours. One amazing dish!
If there’s a time when our eyes were a little too big for our tummies, this is it.
I spotted the Beef Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil salad amongst the buttered kale, honey glazed carrots and skinny fries on the side dishes and was reminded of our trip to Italy so had to order. The mozzarella was creamy, the beef tomatoes super juicy and there was just enough fresh basil. In conclusion, definitely a side to order for a little added freshness.
If we hadn’t already had enough for a lunchtime, the dessert menu and recommendation from our host Savannah sucked Chris in a little too much. The menu itself has a large selection of cheeses and a handful of sweet options too. These included the likes of a 70% dark chocolate fondant, buttermilk pannacotta and a selection of ice cream. There’s also dessert wines and liqueur coffee, as well as an espresso martini which I had initially eyed up.
The Glazed Citrus Tart with Toasted Italian Meringue, Lemon, White Chocolate Ice Cream was a fantastic recommendation.
It was super zesty, the pasty was buttery and not too flaky. The ice cream wasn’t very strong in white chocolate flavour, but still delicious with the tart. However the meringue was soft and combined made it almost like a lemon meringue pie. It’s a good size and definitely one to share if you don’t have space for one each – like us!
If you’re wondering what we had to drink (although you probably spotted them in the pics already), we couldn’t resist an Aperol Spritz as soon as we saw it on the menu. Well we were sat outside, in the summer sun on the terrace – well kind of in the shade but still enjoying the weather!
The Aperol was perfect, and just what was called for to start our meals at Loxleys.
The drinks menu itself is pretty extensive, with a small cocktail menu alongside. We also had a non-alcoholic martini made from cranberry juice and pineapple juice which was juicy and refreshing. This was Chris’ as he was driving but I’d have been happy with this number. A glass of Pinot Noir was selected to accompany my duck. It was smooth, and not too rich or full-bodied. It was a beautiful red, and fab alongside the duck.
We finished with an earl grey and a coffee which rounded off our meal well.
- Price: Starters between £5.95 and £9, main from £12.95 to £24.95 (steak), sides at £4 and desserts about £8. Cocktails are between £8 and £9, and bottles of wine start a £18.90. We think it’s moderately priced, and definitely worth it for the service and overall experience at Loxleys.
- Food: Modern takes on gastro pub cuisine. Everything we tried was superb. Having brioche with the creamy, smooth chicken liver parfait was quite something. And the duck was amazing with those blue cheese bon bons! Above all, quite the creative menu, and very tasty dishes!
- Drinks: Plenty of options including wine and a handful of cocktails. They do a fab Aperol Spritz and the Pinot Noir is beautiful!
- Atmosphere: A cute, minimalist, contemporary restaurant with rural yet modern feel. Service is second to none – Suzanne and Savannah made us feel very welcome, were super chatty and friendly.
- Wait: It wasn’t that busy when we visited, but overhearing a phone call was one of the hosts it does book up in the evening so book ahead if possible.
Do you spend much time in Stratford? Where do you usually lunch?
*I was invited along to review Loxleys. All views my own.