Express & Star

Food Review: All boxes ticked at The Wayfarer, Stone

After a lovely morning’s work doing some seasonally-appropriate pumpkin picking with the little ‘un, her mum and I decided that a nice lunchtime treat was very much in order.

popcorn chicken

Red-blooded to the last, I had a craving for a decent cheeseburger, and I had an inkling as to where I might find one.

Run by the Parogon group, The Wayfarer in Stone has been one of the town’s proud bastions of strong, contemporary cuisine for some time.

Priding itself on a menu that offers a mixture of Asian-inspired dishes and Western flare, the restaurant caters to a range of tastes, and on previous visits I had been impressed by the number of boxes it had ticked. Though, with a particular thirst to quench, would The Wayfarer come up with the hearty goods I was craving?

On approach to the restaurant, the little ‘un had an unfortunate ‘accident’, and I only mention this because the front of house team at The Wayfarer were particularly outstanding and helpful with this.

A discreet and charming maître d’ made this somewhat stressful experience a lot less so, and as such deserves applause and a very heartfelt thank you. We were quickly able to get back on with the business of some relaxing tucker.

The decor at The Wayfarer is stylish and trendy, yet also warm and welcoming, and makes for a fabulous environment to dine in. Settled in at our table, replete with high chair for Little Miss Morris, we got cosy and perused the menu.


While there were plenty of tasty-sounding treats to choose from, my eyes instantly lit up at the sight of the Black and Blue burger. Success. The promise of a brisket patty adorned with Shropshire blue cheese sauce and red onion jam had me salivating; this was what I had been hoping to find.

For an appetiser, I opted for Crispy Sesame Belly Pork. I’m never able to resist belly pork when it pops up on a menu, and the honey and grapefruit sauce that The Wayfarer’s was served with had me intrigued.

Baby’s mum opted for Popcorn Chicken served with a lime and Cajun mayo to start, and for her main a warming Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie.

Orders were taken by a lovely and smiling waitress who, particularly considering how busy the restaurant was, was taking everything in her stride. The team at The Wayfarer were clearly running a very tight ship, and every diner seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We didn’t have long at all to wait for our dishes to turn up, and when they did, they were all that we’d hoped for and more.

The Crispy Sesame Belly Pork was, in a word, fabulous. As the plate approached I was salivating and the resulting taste did not disappoint. Unexpectedly, said belly pork had been deep fried, with a wonderful light coating garnishing its exterior, and the sesame seeds punctuating this to perfection. The bed of salad that it rested on was filled with just the right number of delicious red chillies to give this stater the pop it deserved, and the pork itself was cooked to perfection.

belly pork

It’s been a long time since I indulged in an appetiser this good, and quite frankly, if The Wayfarer offered a quad-portion of this deliciousness as a main, I could happily have been buried in it. Top marks, chef. Top marks indeed.

On to the main event, my glistening burger approached to the applause of my ravenous belly. Presented well, the beautiful beef patty was nestled sumptuously between a toasted bun, with a generous serving of blue cheese sauce applied. The requisite salad gave it a lovely crunch, but the pièce de résistance was most definitely the red onion jam. This gave the wonderfully salty burger a sweetness that offset it with a deft skill, and meant that every mouthful was not only tasty, but an odyssey in flavour.

black and blue burger

For this cheeseburger hunter, the hunt had been more than successful, and the kill was a true prize to behold.

The additional fries were 10 out of 10 – crispy and golden, yet perfectly fluffy in the middle. In a school of chip-cookery, they would have come out with a first-class degree, and they more than did justice to the dish they were supporting.

As with my belly pork, baby’s mum’s popcorn chicken starter was presented with gusto. Nestled atop a similar side salad to my own appetiser, beautiful nuggets of choice deep-fried tandoori chicken were served proudly, and along with a ramekin of the lime and Cajun mayo. I was treated to a bite, and they were, quite simply, melt-in-the-mouth wonderfulness. The addition of a lime meant that was thoroughly squeezed on brought out the beautifully sharp flavour of the dish, and again, this was one that I could happily have been buried in.

The Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie seemed to go down an absolute treat – a wonderful almost-winter warmer that ticked every box for a chilly Sunday afternoon.

chicken ham and leek pie

Far too stuffed for a pud, we left The Wayfarer entirely satisfied. It can be rare these days to find a restaurant that, on a Sunday, ticks all the boxes with its à la carte menu, but The Wayfarer was this diamond in the rough. With staff who paid special and charming attention to the little ‘un while also delivering a first-class plate of food, the only way seems to be up for this gem of an eatery.

It had not, as mentioned, been my first visit to The Wayfarer, and it certainly will not have been my last. With the festive season not far away, restaurants across the land will be getting booked up for the parties to come, and I’d recommend this one wholeheartedly to anyone in charge of getting their Christmas do in order.

The setting is spot-on, the team are tip-top, and the grub is absolutely grand. Be prepared for a fantastic all-round experience that will get you back time and time again. Top service, top tucker, and, therefore, top marks well deserved.

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