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Perched on the picturesque banks of the River Avon and located just a short drive from Stratford, The Four Alls has undergone its very own renaissance of late, courtesy of an extensive £1.9million redevelopment and restoration project earlier this year. With it, this quiet Warwickshire pub has flourished into one of the region’s most sought-after rural dining hotspots, marrying both the warmth and opulence of its historic surroundings with the effortless sophistication of the very best in 21st century pub-chains.
Entering The Four Alls to the warming glow of a traditional inglenook fire, exposed oak beams, intimate booths and plentiful wood panels quickly give way to the hustle and bustle of a contemporary bistro. This marriage of old and new creates an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication, successfully capturing the authentic spirit of rural Warwickshire… but with a distinctly continental twist.
A brief glance at the evening menu revealed an equally imaginative and varied choice of modern Mediterranean-inspired dishes. These included a delicious range of hand-crafted Italian pizzas cooked fresh by wood-fired oven alongside house speciality fillet, sirloin and rump steaks, roasted leg of lamb and pollo picante chicken with harissa mayonnaise; each lovingly grilled over Jospher charcoal for all to see. Added to this was a generous selection of ‘build your own’ salads - with optional toppings such as chargrilled halloumi, Loch Duart salmon, avocado and beetroot falafel - alongside fireside ‘pub grub’ favourites like ham, egg and chips, fish of the day and roasted pork belly. Also available was the more daring choice of Eastern-inspired Moroccan-spiced cauliflower steak, served with superfood grains, rocket, courgette, red pepper & garlic hummus and toasted pumpkin seeds.
With optional breakfast, brunch & lunch and dinner packages - not forgetting the obligatory lazy Sunday roast - this is a restaurant chain that knows its audience down to a T, combining tried-and-tested gastro-pub classics with an imaginative menu of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes and regular daily specials. Throw in a surprisingly affordable kids menu, copious cocktail and spirit selection and a flexible choice of seasonal party packages for groups of up to 50, and you have every excuse you need to escape to the country!
Opting for an appetiser of Gambas Pil Pil - sautéed prawns cooked in garlic, chilli, white wine and tomato sauce, accompanied by a side-serving of chargrilled puccia bread - it was clear that every possible effort had been made to ensure an authentic taste of the Mediterranean was present in each bite. Served al dente and infused with a subtle but tangible kick of chilli, both the freshness of the seafood and intensity of the tomato sauce really shone through. Similarly, my partner’s choice of lamb meatballs served in harissa sauce was testament to the venue’s absolute commitment to fresh produce. Generously seasoned, made with only the finest seasonal lamb and finished with an earthy kick of rich Italian-style tomato sauce, it was simply delicious!
After sampling a glass or two of Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, it was time to put the venue’s signature ‘Jospher grill’ menu to the test. Opting for the pub-grub classic of 8oz sirloin steak served with dressed rocket, garlic & basil-marinated tomatoes and house fries, my fear that excess of style might somehow triumph over substance dissolved with my very first bite. Mouthwateringly tender, chargrilled to perfection yet lifted by the sharp, peppery kick of fresh rocket, my steak was not only generous in size but packed full of great flavour. For his choice of the Jospher-grilled sea bass, served with courgette & pepper, kale & pumpkin seed pesto and sweet potato hash, my partner was equally awash with praise! Perfectly cooked with a light flake, the smokiness of the sea bass married exquisitely with the earthy, salty notes of the pesto, whilst the sweet creaminess of the potato hash complemented the dish beautifully.
Bringing our evening to a triumphant close, there was just enough time to tuck into a richly indulgent dessert of banoffee sundae (chocolate brownie pieces, Madagascan Bourbon vanilla ice cream, mascarpone cream, sliced banana, crushed biscuit and baked banana caramel sauce) before braving the autumn chill once more.
Special mention must go to our wonderful waiter, Matt, whose friendliness, charisma and attention to detail left us feeling warmly welcomed, well-nourished and eager to return as soon as possible.
With the UK’s once-flourishing pub industry in steady decline, it’s refreshing to see a franchise like The Four Alls thriving in these turbulent times. Combining cosmopolitan refinement with an atmosphere of cosy rural tranquility, its strength lies in knowing its market inside-out. Whether catering for a hungry family holidaying in the nearby Cotswolds, dishing up Sunday lunch for day-trippers or pulling out all the stops for a special-occasion birthday or christening meal, The Four Alls’ affordable yet up-market ethos, resounding commitment to quality produce and friendly yet sophisticated approach to service makes it wholly deserving of its success.
All’s well that ends well - so Will Shakespeare once said - and that’s certainly true in this case...
Review by Katherine Ewing
Overall value ★★★★
The Four Alls, Binton Bridge, Binton Road, Welford-on-Avon, CV37 8PW
Tel: 01789 332184
Posted on Wed 22 May
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