A fresh take on a Midlands classic
Granny Mouse Bistro
By Garth Johnstone
Granny Mouse Country House and Spa recently completed a major makeover to its Bistro and entertainment area, creating a contemporary, light-filled space which retains its warm, inviting country feel.
The menu also has a country feel, with the focus on fresh ingredients, an emphasis on creativity and a sense of fun.
The hotel is running ongoing specials on meals and drinks to encourage locals to come and see the new restaurant and enjoy the experience.
General manager Sean Granger filled us in on the new look.
“The original Bistro and Mouse and Lion Bar went through a complete renovation. The shell is the same, but the furniture and décor has changed completely. It had grown outdated. Even though it was still very English and country-style, the look and feel needed to fit more with an upmarket, fresh style.”
Granger said the addition of a glass conservatory had doubled the space. “It has retained its English feel, the glass conservatory being a popular feature in the UK. It allows in a lot of sunlight – enough to make you feel like you’re sitting outside, but you’re cosy and warm under cover.
“The idea was to bring the look and feel of the surroundings into the building.
“The new-look Bistro needed to be fresh and unique, words we played with at the beginning. Fresh and unique plays an important role now on the Midlands Meander and the Meander needed something a bit different. A place where, day or night, you could walk in and feel at home, and take in a bit of nature and the beautiful surrounds.”
The dining style of the Bistro is more family orientated and even when it comes to burgers or pastas, the focus is on fresh ingredients.
The kitchen team, headed by culinary artists Wayland Green and Theo Mannie, and pastry chef Jhayde Jones, put a great deal of effort into presentation, as was evidenced at a recent media event.
For breakfast, the venue offers a continental option with all the trimmings, as well as a number of cooked items, from traditional English-style to eggs Benedict, shakshuka and kippers on toast (now there’s one we haven’t seen in a while). Vegetarians are also catered for.
When it comes to the lunch/dinner menu, you are spoiled for choice with traditional and contemporary fare.
Open sandwiches include lamb kofta, bacon and brie, smoked pulled barbecue brisket and home-made harissa hummus.
To die for
The burger menu features chicken and beef, as well as a spiced lentil burger, while pastas include a prawn stir fry and mushroom and olive ravioli.
Among the mains are lamb tagine, Vietnamese pork rashers, chimichurri beef fillet, a pie of the week, curry of the week, fish and chips, chicken schnitzel, pork ribs and lamb chops to die for. We know, we had them.
Adding to this sweet deal are an alcoholic brownie sundae; ice cream, frozen yoghurt or sorbet trios; swirled pavlova; and a lemon cheesecake mousse.
The Bistro is open every day of the year, unless the hotel has been hired for a function, so bookings are recommended.
The focus of the venue’s other restaurant, The Eaves, is sophisticated country-style dining. Also open to the public, it is a little more upmarket. “From a culinary point of view, it has a completely different style, but still embraces the use of lots of fresh ingredients, a lot of greens, the use of flowers.” Granger said the dining style was unique in the area.
Another entertaining space is The Cellar, which can be used for private functions for up to 10 people. It is also where tastings are held.
The hotel and dining areas operated uninterrupted throughout the Bistro’s renovation, which was completed in April.
“It was stressful, but we managed,” said Granger. “The unique challenge came in linking three different buildings, at three different heights, together.”
When asked what set Granny Mouse apart, Granger said. “We are very family orientated. It’s very personalised. In a lot of the hotels there’s a lot of formality, you fear you might put a foot wrong. Here, it’s like we’ve been friends forever. When you walk in you will get a warm greeting. We show the same respect (as others), but it’s a lot more low-key. It’s like welcoming someone into your beautiful home.”
He said he wanted to dispel the perception that the hotel was very expensive. “We need to keep a close hand on the property and will never let anything get run down, which does cost money. I think the perception is that it looks expensive, therefore it must be expensive. We are running food specials and accommodation specials (see the website). I invite locals to pop in to see for themselves.”
Tel: 033 234 4071