An inn for all seasons

PUBLISHED: 10:49 20 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:45 20 February 2013

Martin Griffiths visits the Old Court Hotel, Symonds Yat and finds portions as big as the welcome

Martin Griffiths visits the Old Court Hotel, Symonds Yat and finds portions as big as the welcome.

Situated just off the A40 between Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth this 16th century hotel has beamed ceilings, rustic charm and is at the gateway to the regions most spectacular scenery. In summer, the large gardens and terraces offer plenty of space and in the winter the ancient fireplaces and log fires welcome many a walker or exhausted canoeist from the nearby Wye.

Victoria and Jonathan Smith-Milne, owners for six years, are proud of the way they have established a strong local business, entertaining visitors, from those who come to stay (the beamed traditional bedrooms are a quirky delight) to those who need just tea and sandwiches. Victoria puts their success down to being customer focused, I feel we are a traditional inn where you can be well fed, drink and relax. Jonathan adds: We try to offer a complete range of food options from a bar menu to an a la carte menu served in the restaurant. I believe our food is wholesome, generous and good value for money, I dont want people going away still hungry. The full tummies means repeat business motto seems to be working as they usually serve more than 1,000 meals a week and last year cooked in excess of a thousand prime Herefordshire steaks sourced from the excellent Risbury Court.

We enjoyed interesting starters of smoked wild duck breast and black tail prawns before attempting the huge main portions of venison Wellington and Risbury Court braised shoulder of lamb. While I felt the venison didnt need the pastry and stuffing; the lamb certainly suited the almost baronial setting of the restaurant and as Mrs G said: Theres enough there for a banquet all by itself. The lamb was wonderfully tender and is just one of many meat options that has been proudly sourced from local suppliers or nearby woods and fields by Jonathan. Eating at the Old Court is less about the finesse associated with fine dining but is as Jonathan says, good old fashioned feasting. Victoria adds: Success is our customers coming through the door and telling their friends they want to come back.

Service is efficient and very friendly and the Old Court staff take pride in the relaxed atmosphere. They certainly work very hard at it and its an especially lovely place to enjoy a winter drink and a meal from the extensive bar menu.

Whatever you choose to eat, youll probably go home with a full tummy and whatever the season, its a good place to find yourself in.

Old Court Hotel

Symonds Yat West, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR9 6DA. 01600 890367.

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