The Junction, Bewdley - food review
A new kid on the block creates an air of curiosity. So when a restaurant opened up in her home town, Lisa Williams decided to check it out. . .
In a small town when a restaurant opens it’s big news. Particularly when the town in question, Bewdley, is dominated by curry houses, Chinese takeaways, tea rooms and pubs. There aren’t a great deal of dining out destinations to choose from so it’s no surprise that residents flock to something brand new. Exciting times.
The Junction Café Bistro has recently opened its doors offering food and drink throughout the day and early evening. It was previously a curry house (surprise, surprise) and when it closed down the building remained empty for some time. Then, last year it reopened as a coffee shop (yep, another one) but failed to make its mark, shutting its doors at the end of last year. But it was quickly snapped up becoming The Junction, a café and bistro with a crisp and clean frontage and train stationesque signage.
It’s given itself the best of both worlds by offering up brunch dishes such as pancakes and bacon sarnies, lunch which includes paninis and jacket spuds along with teas, coffees and cakes from 10am. Yum. Not forgetting of course the evening options too.
Popping in on a Friday night was all about lots of food and drink and forgetting a long week at work. Myself and significant other booked a table for 7.30pm and on arriving there were a few empty tables but ours was tucked away sufficiently to be one of the more private ones. Always a good thing.
It’s pretty cosy inside, dimmed lighting and candles on the tables, ah the romance!. We were greeted by warm and friendly staff who proffered menus and left us to decide on drinks and food. We went for a bottle of house red while we decided what to eat.
The waitress, Gotsa, was bright and bubbly and immediately informed us of the specials, beef stroganoff and chicken in a tarragon sauce, which gave us even more to think about.
It’s quite a pubby-type menu including dishes such as Bewdley bangers, burgers, southern fried chicken, chilli, lasagne, and steaks and is all the average kind of pub price too.
The food is simple and uncomplicated but interesting enough to catch the eye. What’s more is that it seems to be home cooked, and not like a chain pub’s pierce and ping ever-so-slightly generic fodder.
Not wanting to feel bloated and unable to eat all our mains, we decided to be good and share a starter. We fancied the nachos as a light and not too filling bite.
For the mains lasagne was the first thing to catch both of our eyes. It sounded like a feast served with chips, salad and garlic bread. After several years of a mince-free existence I was all for anything containing this particular variation of the meat so was not prepared to forsake my decision to have it.
Luckily he was taken by the beef stroganoff with rice so our quest to each have something different was accomplished. He also added a garlic bread side to his order.
The order was taken swiftly and politely and we soaked up the chilled out and relaxing ambience.
The restaurant itself is all wooden tables and chairs, retro-ish brick effect wallpaper covered in posters, all very homely and quaint.
The menu does state that food orders must be taken by 8.15pm, which seems rather early, as the restaurant closes at 10pm and one couple came in after this time but it all seemed laid back and they were seated and fed just fine.
The wait for the starter did seem excessively long considering it was only for nachos but we weren’t in any rush so it didn’t really matter so much.
When it did arrive we were pleasantly surprised at the portion size. It would have been way to big for one as a starter so was just right for sharing. The tortilla chips had a good crunch and hadn’t been made soggy by the huge dollops of toppings. It wasn’t overwhelmed by either the guacamole, salsa or sour cream and there was a light covering of melted cheese and a scattering of jalapeños adding a touch of fire. The salsa had a little kick to it, dampened nicely by the cooling sour cream. We polished off the lot, and were not left feeling overly full so ready for our mains.
Other diners ventured in and filled the remaining empty tables while we waited for our mains and it never once felt too busy, noisy or rushed.
The mains arrived in good time and looked amazing. Nice and neatly presented the lasagne came in a white tin camping dish, the chunky chips in a teeny bucket, with just more than a garnish of lightly dressed salad and half a small baguette of garlic bread.
I absolutely loved my lasagne. Just the right amount of meat ratio, to pasta and sauce. Fragrantly seasoned and not too big a portion to make you feel stodgy. It was light, meaty and full of tomatoey and herby flavours. The chips were crunchy and fluffy in equal measure and the salad had a deliciously piquant dressing, perfect with the sweet tomato sauce. The garlic bread was pretty good but could perhaps have done with being a little more buttery but that’s just me, I’m obsessed with the stuff.
The beef stroganoff special was fulsome and hearty and served with a thick creamy sauce, which was nice enough but seemed to be lacking a little kick of seasoning to give it that peppery taste. There was plenty of rice to accompany it, but my dining partner (being the carb freak that he is) had gone for that side order of garlic bread. He was slightly disappointed that what was presented to him was a baguette and not a flatbread that he usually favours. But – while it was tad overcooked – it went down a treat.
If anything, the proportion of beef to mushroom was slightly askew and a little more meat would have been welcome, but overall it was a great choice and a lovely meal all in all.
The only minor gripe about the special was that our wonderful waitress Gotsa didn’t point out the price of the dish, which weighed in at £13.95 – towards the top end compared to the rest of the menu. Not the end of the world though.
After clearing our plates, we were way too full to even contemplate a dessert each so decided to do the sharing thing again. I mentally picked two off the menu I rather fancied and luckily for him, his choice was on my wish list. Sticky toffee pudding with two spoons please.
It was absolutely gorgeous. The super soft and springy sponge was sweet and moist covered in the hot toffee sauce which was sprinkled with the candied pecans. These added a lovely nutty crunch to the soft, squishy dish. The ice cream, which was the posh stuff – not bright yellow out of a supermarket plastic tub – was deliciously vanilla complementing the pud perfectly. All gone in a matter of a few minutes and he said it was ‘the best one I’ve ever had’. High praise indeed.
It’s worth noting that The Junction also has a bit of a gin thing going on so fans of the spirit would love it here. There’s a good selection on offer including Brockmans, Tarquins, Monkey 47, Cotswolds, Salcombe ‘Start Point and Silent Pool. It gives a detailed description too so you can make an educated choice on the one to go for. Each one is served with a posh Fever Tree tonic water.
The bill came in at just over £50, pretty reasonable for such good food in warm and welcoming surroundings.
We’re definitely all board and would happily say The Junction is one place worth alighting for.