The world-famous Severn & Wye Smokery launched its brand-new foodie space, The Barn, at the tail end of 2017 – encompassing a food hall and fish counter, café and restaurant all under one revamped roof of a formerly derelict outbuilding. It’s a jewel in the Forest of Dean’s crown, and the restaurant is quite simply a seafood lover’s dream. Check it out.
Founded in 1989 by Richard and Shirley Cook, Severn & Wye Smokery in Westbury-on-Severn has a world-renowned reputation for its smoked fish – while championing campaigns such as those to support British sustainable eel, found in the nearby River Severn and River Wye.
Last year saw the end of an extensive three-year renovation project to bring its derelict farmyard outbuildings back to life – and hence the new foodie destination, The Barn, was born.
Far from it. We could hardly contain our excitement as we got a first look at the menu on our Wednesday afternoon visit, seated for lunch in the bustling open plan restaurant situated upstairs in The Barn. It’s quite simply a celebration of everything seafood – cured, cooked on charcoal embers, roasted, fried and yes, occasionally smoked too.
A selection of taster nibbles set the bar with good quality olives and sun-dried Italian cherry tomatoes, melt-in-the-mouth smoked sprats and our first ever try of crispy salmon skin crackling. A delicious take on the porky favourite.
The menu includes a great choice of hot and cold plates – think seafood tapas – which we chose from as starters. The scallops cooked a la plancha, on a high heat flat top grill, were a good quality, but simple dish alongside the herby chimichurri sauce. My in-house cured salmon gravadlax, meanwhile, was a flavourful and well executed take on the Scandi classic, with great mouthfeel.
The main of deep fried fillet of sustainable cod in a beer batter was a classic success. A nice crunch giving way to succulent cod, alongside proper chunky chips, real mushy peas and tangy tartare sauce.
It was my shellfish platter that won title of standout dish, however; a bounty of scallops, oysters, crevettes crab and mussels cooked quickly over charcoal embers, slathered in garlic and parsley butter. All the elements were perfectly cooked, packed with flavour and literally finger-looking good.
It’s refreshing to see the Severn & Wye Restaurant really sticking to its seafood-speciality guns, but there are a few choice selections of dishes to cater for everyone. There was a Longhorn sirloin, Cotswold lamb best end chops and confit Barbary duck leg to choose from on our visit – all cooked over charcoal embers.
Severn & Wye is famous around the world for its fish smoking, and you’ll find the likes of its own in-house smoked salmon, haddock, kippers and eel on the menu.
The shellfish platter is not only a bounty of seafood delights, but is also one of the best-value dishes on the menu too. Prepare to get mucky fingers but well worth it!
By James Fyrne
Friday 02 March 2018
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