This evening we took a stroll through Bewdley, Worcestershire’s most picturesque small town, past Georgian terraced houses and along the verdant banks of the River Severn, until we saw the sunny exterior of The Mug House Inn & Restaurant, made resplendent with hanging baskets of the brightest summer blooms.
For more than 200 years, thought to date back to the original quay (circa 1798), The Mug House has been a popular destination serving Bewdley’s local residents and visitors, offering excellent food and drink, (including award winning real ales), 4-star lodging and a riverside location so profoundly beautiful that it is impossible to ignore.
The Mug House is extraordinary in more ways than one; offering three distinct zones, each with a character of their very own: the simple elegance of riverside dining next to nature, the cosy comfort of a traditional pub lounge and bar, and perhaps the most surprising: a recently renovated beer garden that has been transformed into a Mediterranean-themed hideaway bursting with warmth, light and colour.
Water’s edge dining with a masterpiece of a menu
The menu here is a uncluttered contemporary masterpiece, offering a la carte options for every popular dish, (steak, chicken, lamb, fish and vegetarian), as well as small plates, traditional pub classics, and a comprehensive choice of salads, sandwiches and sharing boards. There is an outdoor BBQ kitchen on the terrace which features a wood-fired pizza oven, and provides a great selection of burgers, hotdogs and freshly-made classic crowd-pleasing pizzas with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.
We chose to dine at the water’s edge in order to best appreciate the stunning views over the River Severn on this fine summer’s eve, and our table was perfectly positioned to sit back and watch the world go by. I selected a South African Sauvignon Blanc to accompany my starter of fresh mussels with white wine, garlic and cream, served with a freshly baked baguette.
Although I thought that very little could distract me from the excellent company and the beautiful view, I was mistaken; these mussels were delicious beyond all expectation, and all conversation ceased from the very first mouthful. Only days before I had the pleasure of dining on fresh mussels at a beach-side restaurant in Cornwall, and of course, they were good, but these were better: succulent, perfectly cooked, bathed in a creamy sauce so delicious and well-balanced in flavour and consistency that I was tempted to drink the leftovers like soup. My companion offered me a bite of his paprika spiced sardines, chickpeas and roasted pepper en-croute, and it was a sensory delight; the paprika was an innovative taste that balanced well with the sardines.
Stunning food and friendly customer service that goes above and beyond
I asked the chef to recommend a main course to compliment my starter, and he sent out a dish from the a la carte menu: baked cod in a white wine and caperberry sauce topped with sauté herb garlic new potatoes, accompanied with house salad. This next chapter in my seafood journey was out of this world; the baked cod, steaming hot, fell apart when touched, and the sliced new potatoes in their creamed garlic sauce were the perfect follow-on from the previous course. I accompanied this with an Italian Pinot Grigio that was light and refreshing.
While I was in seafood heaven, my fellow diner was enjoying a lamb shank in a shiraz and mint jus served with dauphinoise potatoes and fine French green beans. He complimented the tender meat which fell right off the bone, surrounded by rich gravy with a hint of mint that had the ‘perfect consistency’.
This is a superb menu, indeed. The Mug House has exactly the right amount of variety with dishes that are made with the finest and often locally-sourced ingredients, aesthetically beautiful presentation and warm and friendly customer service that goes above and beyond.
A perfect blend of tradition and contemporary magic
As dusk fell over the river and the evening wore on, the only sounds were the appreciative hum of nearby diners, the gentle murmuring of nearby waters and the distant lullabies of nesting birds. We decided to take an after dinner coffee on the terrace, and walked through a welcoming traditional interior on the way through the building. It was everything a village inn should be: deep red walls, dark wood, exposed bricks, cosy corners and original features such as fireplaces and beautiful oak-beamed ceilings throughout.
Imagine my surprise then, as I passed along a corridor into a garden that was like stepping into an entirely different continent, somewhere distinctly Mediterranean in style. An expansive wooden deck invited us onwards, covered by grape vines and everywhere, colourful flowers, and string lanterns casting a warm glow across the entire terrace. Ahead I could see the wood-fired pizza oven and even further, beyond a carp pond and past an outdoor bar, there was an open air grotto dominated by an ancient magnolia tree festooned in fairy lights.
As we relaxed under the stars enjoying the uplifting sounds of a Spanish playlist, I rather regretted not leaving room for dessert, (although my double expresso was expertly crafted and quite delicious), and I had the distinct feeling we weren’t in Bewdley anymore.
Table reservations can be made online @mughouse.emarketonline.co.uk
Vegan and Vegetarian
Gluten Free, (including pizza)
Open all week
THE MUG HOUSE INN & RESTAURANT
Telephone: 01299 402543
12 SEVERNSIDE NORTH, BEWDLEY, WORCESTERSHIRE DY12 1EF
Review by Lisa Evans for Grapevine Birmingham |Insta. @Lisa_doeslife