The Clive Arms' chef, Luke Wignall, on the perfect meal and a Ludlow lifestyle

The LGL team recently had a beautiful and memorable meal at the recently opened Clive Arms just off the A49, minutes west of Ludlow town centre. Formerly called The Clive Restaurant with Rooms, we were really charmed by the first rate food and its new decor.

The hotel has added three more rooms bringing the total to 17 in this former Georgian coaching inn. Guests will find that the new look and the menus are all about staying local — part of a farm to fork dining destination. A classical British décor with many of the furnishings and art sourced locally. The restaurant gets its supplies from the nearby Oakly Estate farms and walled garden and also makes full use of the Farmshop’s in-house bakery, dairy and well-known butcher.


We talked to its chef Luke Wignall about the food philosophy that guided the refurbishment of the restaurant and inn and how he’s finding working in Ludlow.

Have a seat…the Bar at The Clive Arms

Have a seat…the Bar at The Clive Arms

LGL: We would like for our readers to get to know more about The Clive Arms and your ambitions for it. Let’s start with the usual: What drew you to the position at The Clive Arms? What would you like to achieve?

LW: I would say it can’t be one single thing that drew me to the Clive, it has to be multiple things, the on site bakery where we get out bread fresh every morning, The butchery that is In the food centre, the walled garden where some of the produce in our menu is grown, the dairy where Dudley and his team make the cheese for out cheese board and the farm where out meat comes from, it’s an absolute dream for a chef to have this at their doorstep. What we are trying to achieve here at the Clive is pretty simple in essence, we want farm to fork dining using as much local produce as we can, and offer our guests a relaxed dining experience.

LGL: You live in Shropshire and work in Ludlow compared to other places you’ve lived and worked what are key differences to life and work in the rural depths of the Marches?

LW: Growing up just outside Nottingham is a world away from Ludlow, I love it here, the pace of life is so much more relaxed and slow, things are left for time so that the best is got out of it.

LGL: Tell us a bit about your ethos and using suppliers within 25 miles of the restaurant? It’s a movement that is gaining traction across the UK, why do you think your customers should care?

LW: I think it’s important that our guests know where their food come from so they know that local business are supported, and it’s always nice to know that you’re eating seasonal british produce that hasn’t travelled several hundred miles just to get on the plate.

Produce in minutes not miles

Produce in minutes not miles

LGL: What elements comprise a good meal for you?

LW: For me a good meal had to have balance, the right amount of bitter, sweet, salt and umami, of course the way food looks is very important but some of my favourite meals are the simplest and don’t always look amazing, it’s about the taste and how it makes you feel. If I’m out for dinner and a dish reminds me of a memory from earlier on in life then that’s a hands down winner!

LGL: Let’s Play Desert Island Disc but for cooking! If you were going on an island (plainly one that would have all your ingredients) which recipe would you take with you’re and why?

LW: I would have to say that It would be just a simple lemon tart with clotted cream, I love the light texture and the modest flavour of the filling.

Desert island choice? A simple lemon tart

Desert island choice? A simple lemon tart


Simple Lemon Tart

for the pastry:

250g unsalted butter

175g icing sugar

2 eggs

400g plain flour

Pinch of salt

METHOD

Cream the butter and the sugar together, gradually add the eggs then incorporate the flour and the salt, the mix should become one piece of dough, wrap this in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

After the hour on a floured surface roll out the pastry until you can fill a tart ring.

On a baking tray place one sheet of baking parchment then place the tart ring on top. Pick up the pastry and place inside the ring and make sure the edges are covered.

Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the pastry and line with baking beans, cook this at 160 degrees for 18 minutes.

Take the baking beans and parchment from the top of the pastry and prod the base with a fork to create air holes, place this back in the oven for a further 12-15 minutes.

When the case is cooked brush the base lightly with 1 egg yolk to seal the holes and place back in the oven for 2 minutes to cook the egg

Remove from the oven and cool.

Filling:

205g lemon juice

4 egg yolks

4 whole eggs

235g caster sugar

125g unsalted butter

METHOD

Over a bain marie in a bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until you can visibly see think ribbons appear, then take off the heat and add the butter but by bit until it is completely incorporated, then simply pour into the pastry case and allow to cool.

You can keep this in the fridge for one day.


To book ahead for a stay or book a table go to www.theclive.co.uk or call (01584) 856 565 / 856 665

Location

The Clive Arms is just five minutes from the train station and centre of Ludlow. It can be reached in just over 3 hours by train from London Paddington or 150 miles by car via the M40. Birmingham sits 40 miles away, Manchester 100 miles, Bristol 80 miles, and Chester is 70 miles away.

Booking

To book for a stay or book a table go to www.theclive.co.uk or call (01584) 856 565 / 856 665.

Rooms (comfy doubles/twins) start from £95 a night with the new suites (large comfy lux) starting from £165 a night on a B&B basis.