It’s spring, time to reacquaint ourselves with the natural beauties of the
Shropshire and Herefordshire countryside.
It’s always pleasant to sample the delights of hostelries sprinkled across our nearby counties
in the company of friends; our small group of ‘luncheon club' foodies
gives us the ideal opportunity to do so.
The Riverside Inn is situated deep in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside just on the southern edge of the Mortimer Forest, yet still close to Ludlow and Hereford, ideal for walking, hiking, fishing and all kinds of country pursuits. Authentic and atmospheric, the 16th century black and white building is surrounded by the natural beauty of the River Lugg valley. The Inn sits on the river bank in the small village of Aymestrey. The river and its banks are full of wildlife – dragonflies, dippers, otters, kingfishers, brown trout and grayling all live here.
The bar and restaurant are deliberately kept in a traditional style – log fires, candles, hops and oak beams, bricks and stone. There is plenty of space by the river or in the terrace garden to eat when the weather allows. Our table was ancient, Beloved thought it might have been made of elm because it was covered in thousands of black scratches and marks, much like the wood of elm looks like under the bark. You had to keep an eye on your cutlery, a careless shove could have sent it down the open cracks between the thick planks.
The place is totally unpretentious, no fine napery or fancy drapery; everything is plain but in excellent good taste. We sat at the table under the big picture in the back, there was ample room for the six of us before our dishes arrived; after that it was a bit cramped, there was rather a lot of food. Every course was generously proportioned.
This is exactly what the Lugg (funny how all our local rivers have these one syllable names, as if the ancients had barked them out in disgust) looked like today. Millie came too but I wouldn’t let her go for a swim, it was just too cold in a rather bitter wind. Instead she got a massive doggie bag. We could of course stop with two courses, or maybe have just a starter and a pudding, but when you are in a first class eating establishment you want to sample as much of the delicious fare as possible. We were three couples and each couple ordered different dishes, so we could have a taste of each other’s food. Bad manners, I know, but we’re not really bothered. Rules and regulations are ignored when you’re indulging yourself.
I think we’ll probably go back very soon, with or without our luncheon companions. There’s only one thing wrong with a meal like this at lunchtime: I have absolutely no need of anything else to eat for the rest of the day.