In the Press

We've only been open a few months, but we do seem to have caught the attention of some of the press. A few sample articles below!

Shropshire Star

Shropshire Star - 30th August 2016

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It may be a little out of the way, but the drive out to the country is well worth it. Andy Richardson enjoys a dreamy dinner by talented chefs...

It can’t be easy cooking for your old boss. And it must be particularly unnerving when your old boss was a Michelin-starred chef whose much-loved restaurant was named the best in the UK, beating the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Heston Blumenthal and other lesser-known but equally-talented chefs. 

Cooking for people like that is the sort of gig that would reduce most chefs to a vodka-drinking, Marlboro-Red-King-Size-smoking wreck. Yet Charlie Bradley, formerly of Mr Underhill’s in Ludlow, has taken to the task like a surfer to a board. He’s cooked for his former bosses Chris and Judy Bradley four times since taking the reins of The Baiting House, at Upper Sappey, near Tenbury Wells, three months ago. Their verdict is revealing: “It’s the best gastro pub in the region.”

The food is big on flavour, seasoned with skill and is pretty on the plate. It doesn’t go for glory, there are no whistles and bells. It’s all about classic flavours, simple combinations and ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. And that’s a recipe that’s likely to transform The Baiting House into one of the busiest and most popular destinations in the region. No doubt as Charlie and co settle in and get used to the pace of life somewhere south of Tenbury Wells, they’ll add more mystery and adventure to their menu. But for now, it’s damn near perfect.

I started with potted duck leg that was served with rosemary toast and a deliciously piquant chutney. It was heavenly. The shredded duck had just the right amount of fattiness. Its richness was balanced by the sharpness of the chutney while the herby, aromatic bread was light, had good texture and was decidedly tasty.

A ham hock terrine with a sweet and sour pineapple chutney was similarly impressive. Good texture, complimentary flavours and more colours than a Tokyo lightshow made it easy on the palate and easy on the eye. As the waitress popped over to ask whether we’d enjoyed our starters, she was greeted by three empty plates.

Our mains offered the chef one shot at glory. For as appetising as the menu was – a fish dish with samphire and bisque was particularly appealing – we all opted for the same. A large, slow-cooked slice of lamb shoulder was served with a lamb ragout, charred spring onions, herby new potatoes, an intensely-flavoured jus and carrot purée. It tasted as good as it looked. The shoulder came apart with minimal pressure, offering moist and delicious chunks of savouriness. The carrot was vibrant and sweet, the jus was as overwhelmingly satisfying like a £3 million Lottery win and the ragout was brilliantly cooked and seasoned. As the waitress popped over to ask if everything was okay. . .  You know the rest – three empty plates, purrs of satisfaction, smiling faces and compliments to the chef.

Desserts were a chance to show off. A coconut panna cotta with a mango granita was light, delicate and enchantingly exotic. It was the culinary equivalent of a trip to the Maldives. It was like sitting on a hammock in Sri Lanka beneath azure skies as waves of warm sea lap at the shore. An apple trifle was similarly pleasing. Served in a small glass jar, it was playful, fun, light and crisp. Delicious doesn’t cover it. Good as the panna cotta was, it had ‘Fool – You Should Have Chosen Me’ written all over it. Next time, I will.

Charlie and co are onto something good in the wilds near Tenbury Wells. The Baiting House is surrounded by remote, undulating countryside – that almost makes the drive worthwhile itself. It’s England’s green and pleasant land at its finest, a voyage into windy roads, endless fields and dramatic skies that make Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night seem bland.

The venue itself is a triumph. Warm, friendly and ever-so-slightly stylish, it’s comfortable and welcoming. And then there’s the food. Any chef who’s spent three years working on the region’s best Michelin-starred team has got to be worth his salt – and Charlie and Scott are. Bright plates, starry combinations, classy cooking and bags of flavour; food at The Baiting House is a revelation. It may not be the sort of food that will ever win a star – but it may make Chef Charlie just that.

Worcester News

Worcester News - 25th February 2017

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AA inspectors impressed by quality of food and accommodation at reopened pub during its first year.

A VILLAGE pub on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border, which cost more to refurbish than to buy 18 months ago, is turning out to be worth its weight in gold.

The Baiting House at Upper Sapey, near Martley, has just been awarded the prestigious two AA rosettes for its food and an AA four star silver award for accommodation less than nine months after it opened.

Villagers Andrew Corthwaite and his wife Kate Lane acquired the pub in October 2015 and embarked on a major make-over including extending the bar and creating a restaurant and terrace/outdoor eating area.

The aim was to provide a village pub which offered good quality food and a small number of luxury en-suite bedrooms.

Andrew said: “We are local people and I have lived in the village for five years. My wife’s family goes back further. The village pub was not that good and it closed. We have seen a number of villages with no shop, no pub and no school.

“We bought the pub in October 2015 and we reopened it in May. We had to re-plumb, rewire and do various things with the kitchen. It cost more to refurbish than to buy it.”

The owners also appointed Tim Lawson as general manager and Charles Bradley, formerly of Michelin starred restaurant Mr Underhills in Ludlow, took over as head chef. “I did have a very strong sense of what I wanted to do with it,” said Andrew.

And the refurbished pub has proved a great success with local people and visitors.

Andrew added: “Last year I inquired with the AA about what we would have to do to qualify for a rosette. They said they would be in touch and would not do anything before Christmas. About two weeks ago one of their inspectors came unannounced.

“We were hoping to get a rosette because the food is quite good. A lot of places have taken two or three years to get one and then work towards two rosettes.

“We were striving for it but we thought it would take two years. We are over the moon. The rooms side of things has gone really well too. In the summer we could let the rooms three times.”

The AA explained that around 10 per cent of restaurants nationwide are of a standard worthy of one rosette and above. Under the AA award guidelines, two rosettes credit “excellent restaurants that aim for and achieve higher standards and better consistency”.

The two-rosette rating also awards “greater precision” in cooking and “obvious attention” to the selection of "quality ingredients”. Only around half a dozen establishments have the coveted two rosette award in the county of Herefordshire.

Andrew praised his staff for their work in achieving the accolades. “We are very proud of the level of skill and dedication of our team of chefs led by Charles Bradley. For a small family-owned inn to be awarded two rosettes is amazing.”

“The bar and accommodation side of the business, run by Tim Lawson, has also been recognised by the AA inspectors with a four star Silver award, which mirrors the four star rating given to our accommodation by Visit England late in 2016. Tim and his team have done an amazing job in providing a consistently warm welcome to guests.”

The business is set for significant expansion in the summer with the opening of The Lodges at the Baiting House – eight detached wooden lodges in a meadow setting, set back from the pub itself yet only a few minutes’ walk away. Each lodge will have its own kitchen, bathroom, terrace with barbecue and many will have hot tubs. They will sleep two to six people.

Daily Express

Daily Express - 26th May 2016

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A COMMUNITY has pulled together to save their 200-year-old pub from demolition

Villagers in Upper Sapey, Herefordshire, were dismayed when their local pub, the Baiting House - which has been the watering hold for the village since 1840 - closed last year. And worried it was set to be demolished, more than 30 members of the community banded together with a plan to save their boozer.

Lawyer Andrew Cornthwaite, and his wife Kate Lane, a sheep farmer, set down £350,000 to buy the 19th century building and save it from the scrap heap - after being promised help to transform the run-down pub by fellow villagers.

More than 25 local tradesmen agreed to come on board to help restore the public house - with another local couple, experienced landlords Tim and Abi Lawson, agreeing to run the bar.

Mr Cornthwaite, 50, said: "Including the whole community was a deliberate decision to send out a message showing we are committed to the area. "Everyone was behind the project and we're proud that the whole village has come together to save out local pub. 

"Everyone knows someone who's working on the project and people are looking forward to seeing what their husband, son or brother has done." Upper Sapey has a population of just 460 people.

Local Builder Phil Edwards, who drafted in 12 sub-contractors to help with the six-month project, said it had been a privilege to work on the pub. Mr Edwards, 34, said: "It's been a real honour - both to be asked and to do the project. "All the guys who've worked here are all friends I've worked with on previous jobs and we're thrilled to be bringing the place back to life." The job was also close to his heart as it's a place his family have been visiting for years.

He said: "It's been a local of mine for many years - my mother and father always drank in here and my mum still does. "It's so important to have a good pub opened back up here, it's how it should be, it would have been a great shame to lose it. "It's exciting that Andrew has taken on the project and allowed us to be a part of it." 

Electrician Jason Yarnold, of Jey Electrical, undertook the complete re-wiring job with two other electricians he drafted in. The 30-year-old said: "It's been a difficult and pretty stressful job but I feel really privileged to work on this as it used to be my local, and it's great to have a job right here on my doorstep.

"I'm really looking forward to hanging my tools up and enjoying a pint today when it opens."

Mr Cornthwaite, a 50-year-old lawyer who works in finance and his part-time sheep farmer wife Kate, 49, have spent the last six months spearheading the restoration project. He said: "I'm just a villager who wants my pub back. When it went on the market last year it wasn't being sold as a going concern.

The Baiting House, named after wagon hauliers historically stopped for 'bait' (food) as they travelled through, closed in spring 2015 after years of declining sales and was put on the market.

Mr Cornthwaite said that locals feared the pub, and its accompanying five acres of land, would be bulldozed for housing so he and his wife decided to save the pub out of their own pocket for the community. He said: "We just fell in love with the place. It's been a labour of love and we hope it will pay its way." The pub, which harks back to 1840, had to be gutted and needed extensive structural work including masonry work, re-wiring and plumbing.

They also had to splash out on a new kitchen, re-vamping six en-suite bedrooms, expanding the bar and the terrace. Mr Cornthwaite admitted: "It probably would have been cheaper to knock it down and start again but it's an historic building and if we did that we would have lost its character and charm." 

The pub will create around 20 jobs with day-to-day management being led by seasoned landlords Tim and Abi Lawson who ran their own pub in Worcestershire for ten years.

Bar & Restaurant Opening Hours

The Bar

Sunday - Thursday

Noon – 11pm

Friday – Saturday

Noon – 12pm

Open later at our discretion
for overnight guests

Lunch

Tuesday – Saturday

12.00 – 2.30pm

Sunday

12.00 – 3.00pm

Dinner

Tuesday – Pub classics only

6.00pm – 9.00pm

Wednesday – Saturday

6.00pm – 9.00pm

Sunday & Monday Evening – Closed