Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

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The Boat Inn puts Staffordshire on the Top 50 Gastropubs map

The Boat Inn at Lichfield fought off tough competition to put Staffordshire on the map at Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs awards ceremony earlier this week. The judges praised chef-patron Liam…

The Boat Inn at Lichfield fought off tough competition to put Staffordshire on the map at Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs awards ceremony earlier this week.

The judges praised chef-patron Liam Dillon for transforming The Boat into a ‘very special venue’ and a worthy winner of the Newcomer of the Year title for 2019.

“Liam’s menus boast maturity, uniqueness and, above all, skill and great balance of flavour,” according to the panel of industry experts – including The Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter and Managing Director of Inn Places, David Hancock – who awarded the Best Newcomer prize. “He has created a gastropub that delivers on all fronts, from excellent service the moment you walk through the door, to outstanding dishes.”

The award was presented in a ceremony at Lillibrooke Manor in Maidenhead on Monday.

“It was a great day and a fantastic achievement,” Liam told Sauce. “The team are over the moon with the award and we have all been working very hard to put The Boat Inn where it deserves to be. We are all honoured to be in the same bracket as the amazing establishments in the Top 50 list.”

Liam worked for Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley in London after graduating with a degree in the culinary arts from Birmingham College of Food in 2006. Thus began a decade of striving to work in the best kitchens in the world, starting off in Sydney at Quay before taking in Eleven Madison Park and Noma in Copenhagen, among others. Since opening The Boat, he’s gone on to win Best Chef at the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards last year and the venue picked up Best Independent Restaurant at the Taste of Staffordshire Awards 2018. 

Look out for our interview with Liam in the Spring edition of Sauce, out in March.

The Boat Inn
Walsall Road, Lichfield, WS14 0BU
www.theboatinnlichfield.com

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Sauce Autumn/Winter 2018 out now

If you haven’t already laid hands on one, make your way to one of our stockists pronto to pick up Sauce Autumn/Winter 2018. Yes, the second edition of Sauce magazine…

If you haven’t already laid hands on one, make your way to one of our stockists pronto to pick up Sauce Autumn/Winter 2018.

Yes, the second edition of Sauce magazine is now out and available at cafés, restaurants, pubs and shops across Staffordshire. This time around, you need to look out for the lobster!

To give you an idea of what to expect, this issue is even bigger and – some might say – better than the first. Of course we have our regular reviews and recipes, along with introductions to some award-winning Staffordshire-based producers, from Seed Chocolate to The Good Life Meat Co.

The spotlight is very much on the Stone Food & Drink Festival (5-7 October) in our interview with chairman Richard Stevens, while our Town Focus takes us up to Leek, a thriving little market town in the northern reaches of the county.

We had the pleasure of speaking to some fantastic foodies for this edition, from MasterChef finalist Louisa Ellis to Andy Watts, executive chef at Weston Hall. We’re whetting appetites with features on the glorious seafood being served up at The White Lion in Knighton, the American-inspired delights on offer at Smoke & Rye in Stone, and the Indian culinary wizardry of the Viceroy at Milford. Plus there’s an exclusive behind the scenes look at The Moat House at Acton Trussell as the venue celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year.

As ever, we hope you’ll buy a little something when you pick up your copy of the magazine to support our fantastic local food and drink scene. And, once you’ve read the magazine, we heartily encourage you to get out there and try the dishes and destinations for yourself, let them know you saw them in Sauce, and even post a quick photo tagging in @staffordshiresauce.

If you’re interested in stocking Sauce or featuring in the Spring/Summer 2019 edition, contact team@staffordshiresauce.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you.

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Opening this autumn

It’s time to get excited, because the opening of these new Staffordshire food and drink destinations has recently been confirmed. Bod Stoke Work is underway at this very moment to…

It’s time to get excited, because the opening of these new Staffordshire food and drink destinations has recently been confirmed.

Bod Stoke

Work is underway at this very moment to transform what used to be the first class lounge at Stoke train station into the newest ‘bod’, with access from both Platform One and the pavement on Winton Square.

Due to open its doors to the public on Monday 8 October, the café and craft ale bar will open early in the morning serving breakfast and coffee. From lunchtime until late in the evening commuters and locals will be able to enjoy award-winning ales along with their food.

Burslem-based Titanic Brewery, who also own seven pubs across the county, opened their first bod in Weeping Cross near Stafford in a former Co-op store earlier this year.

Titanic are also looking to create a third branch of bod at Trentham in the former NatWest Bank premises on Longton Road. Their planning application has been submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, so watch this space.

www.facebook.com/bodstoke/

Blanc NRI

A new fine dining Indian restaurant, Blanc NRI, is set to take over the former Bengal Lodge building on the A34 near Tittensor.

Blanc NRI will be the second restaurant from Husban Ahmed, the 31-year-old chef behind the award-winning James Dahl restaurant in Birmingham’s China Town. Ahmed worked at the Bengal Lodge as a teenager and has described how taken he was by the “love and support of the customers who came in and used the restaurant”.

Now he’s opening his own sleek and modern new restaurant in the space, which has undergone extensive interior and exterior renovation over the last few months. In terms of cuisine, Blanc NRI is promising vibrant and flavoursome Indian dishes blended with the fine dining ambience of France or Dubai.  

www.blancnri.co.uk

BEAR Stone

BEAR announced earlier this month that an opening date for their new Stone location has been set for Thursday 1 November.

As we noted in the autumn/winter edition of Sauce (available now – see our list of stockists for details of where to get your copy), local entrepreneurs Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley opened the first branch of BEAR on Uttoxeter High Street in January 2016, followed by a second in Derby at the end of 2017.

The team are now busy converting the former HSBC bank at 57 High Street, Stone, into a new coffee house, kitchen and bar after their change of use planning application was approved. They’ll be serving up a heady mix of sustainably sourced coffee, seasonal fresh food, cocktails and craft beer from the freshly refurbished premises.

And they say they have “loads of exciting things planned for Stone throughout October, so keep your peepers peeping towards our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all the fun.”

www.bemorebear.co

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