Mike Quigley

Irish horse racing, betting and other stuff

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Ludlow Races: February 2008 

Life is not always what it seems…………

I’ve known busier days …..

During the past few years, Ludlow , in Shropshire , has burst into life. Georgian Houses have been renovated, it has become the gastronomic capital of the countryside, and eminent people from all spheres of life are moving in. Off the beaten track, with the nearest motorway one hour away and no direct service to London , Ludlow is no longer a rundown rural backwater. Instead, it has become a paradigm for a modern kind of civilised living”. Anthony Everett, 1999.

Mr Everett’s quote is a bit over the top but he’s definitely right about the quality of food in these parts.

There’s not a huge amount to report from our latest trip to the races other than the fact that my race going friend Adrian copped the Placepot of £244.80 for an investment of £16. I staked slightly more yet managed to get the proverbial five out of six places. As quoted in the Racing Post, Peter Jones said when stepping down from the Tote:

“The good thing about the Placepot is that everyone who plays thinks they nearly won it”.

 Never a truer word.

Anyway back to the food!

If I am eating at the track the only choice for me is the prawn curry from the fish stand directly behind the winners’ enclosure/weighing room. However, with so many good places to eat in the vicinity I favour eating before or after the races. Here is a guide to the best places within five or six miles of the track:

The Clive  ( www.theclive.co.uk )

Just a few minutes from the track on the A49.

Currently participating in The Times/Sunday Times three courses for £10 promotion (mid week/until 30 Apr). Good quality eats using local produce and terrific value if you can collect the vouchers!

The Jolly Frog ( www.dinewithus.co.uk/the-frog )

Six miles from the track close to Leintwardine.

Not what it seems - looks like a country pub but is, in fact, a Mediterranean-style fish restaurant which serves local beer. Definite value play here is the fixed price menu - three courses for £15 served at lunch-time but also available up to 6.59pm . Very pleasant waitresses from Warsaw .

I had silver mullet, a fish I’d not eaten before - not dissimilar to sea bass in appearance and taste. Superb.

Whilst in Leintwardine I would recommend you visit the Sun Inn a "parlour bar" run by Flossy Lane , who is 94 years old. You sit in her front room on a bench. There is no conventional bar, the beer is served from barrels on the kitchen floor. Excellent (gravity delivered) Hobson’s Best for just £2 a pint. Another place which is not what it seems. It looks like a terraced house and is therefore quite tricky to find: -

Is it a house? Is it a pub?

Chang Thai (www.thailudlow.co.uk  )

Ludlow town centre.

Again appearances are deceptive. The sign outside says “The Globe” (see picture below) which was its name when it was a pub. Now it’s an exceptionally good Thai restaurant. Lunch is particularly good value (not Mondays) at £10 for two courses.

 Not really The Globe it’s the Chang Thai……….

The Roebuck ( www.theroebuckludlow.co.uk )

Four miles south of Ludlow just off A49 at Brimfield.

I must confess I’ve not been here since the Michelin listed chef, Olivier Bossut recently took over. More pricey now as a result - fish of the day is priced at £14.50 whereas at The Jolly Frog that’s a choice within their £15 three course menu.

If it’s fine dining you’re after then these are your best options:

Mr Underhill’s ( www.mr-underhills.co.uk )

Walking distance from town centre on the riverbank.

One of the best restaurants I’ve been to. Michelin starred. Dinner £45-£55 per head, not open for lunch, wines reasonably priced considering quality of the restaurant.

La Becasse ( www.labecasse.co.uk )

Situated in Corve St, almost opposite Tesco where Hibiscus used to be. Latter was Ludlow ’s two Michelin starred restaurant now relocated to Mayfair with prices to match.

Dinner at La Becasse is similarly priced to Mr Underhill’s. Lunch is a better option at around £25 for three courses. Watch the wine prices though – alcohol is not cheap. Have a few drinks before you go in and then order the tap water!

And last but definitely not least (and unfortunately not within five miles of the track):

The Stagg ( www.thestagg.co.uk )

The first pub ever to be awarded a Michelin star and thus a high quality restaurant masquerading as a country pub. I recommend the scallops. The Stagg is on the B4355 between the towns of Kington and Presteigne. It’s  27 miles south-west of Ludlow and 22 miles north-west of Hereford. So you could venture out here after racing at either track (or if racing is abandoned and you have a few hours to kill).

It’s well worth the effort.

Check out the cheese board for instance:


Many of the cheeses on offer are locally produced…

Ludlow pubs

The best pubs in Ludlow are the Church Inn and The Charlton Arms. The best local beer is Ludlow Gold (brewed in Corve St) which is currently served in both of these pubs.

As they say …enjoy your meal.