Just minutes from the town centre and only yards from the Castle walls is Elliotts, a lovely bistro-style restaurant headed by French chef, Olivier Bossut. Taking advantage of the lunchtime menu, Claire and I decided to try a more sophisticated style of working lunch. Spending time in Elliotts feels like spending time in the quietest corner in Ludlow town centre.
Elliotts is part of the historic Dinham Hotel whose pretty Georgian exterior is a long-standing Ludlow landmark. Dinham feels like you’ve been invited to stay in the large country home of good friends. It manages to be smart but not formal. Although it’s furnished in a traditional style with elegant drawing rooms and cosy fires, the overall vibe is relaxed and cheery.
On the day we turned up for our lunch, it was blowing such a gale, the local market had been cancelled and the town centre was deserted. I made it across town from the car parking lot to the door of Elliotts on the strength of a single gale, my feet barely touched the ground. The restaurant entrance is separate to the hotel, intimate and welcoming and walking into Elliott’s was like entering into an oasis of calm with the light streaming through the windows, soft music and lovely views of the sunny courtyard. It was an instant panacea given my blustery walk.
Claire and I were immediately shown to our table in a quiet corner overlooking a pretty courtyard garden bathed in sunshine. We wistfully imagined a summer day sitting outside with a glass of fizz and all the time in the world. Pretty tables settings reflected the wall illustrations and sparked a slight twinge of interior envy.
There was the choice for a two- or three-course menu. We opted for the very reasonably priced two-course menu for £16.95. Moules Frites was on the menu so there was never a contest for my choice of main course. Claire picked the pork casserole, perfect sustenance for a bitterly cold day. We also ordered fresh garden vegetables which arrived al dente: colourful, crunchy and in true French fashion, brushed with butter.
Now I have to sing an ode to the bread, which came ahead of the meal and was delicious: perfectly crusty on the outside, soft and light on the inside with a subtle nutty flavour. Like the plates, we could have quite happily taken a few home with us!
My moules marinières arrived steaming, plump and in a generous white wine sauce infused with onion and fresh herbs. The frites were crisp, perfectly salted and most importantly, hot. Claire enjoyed her pork casserole but found it too ‘heavy’ to finish without forfeiting dessert. A woman with clear priorities!
We both settled for the crème brûlée to round off our meal. It was divine with just the right balance of sweetness. A lovely crunchy, caramel crust, delicate cream and served with an almond wafer and a scoop of ginger ice cream, a genius pairing.
Our waitress was attentive throughout and mindful of time, we managed to squeeze in a quick coffee all within our very responsible working lunch hour. Given its location in one of Ludlow’s smartest hotels in Ludlow, traditionally Elliotts is the place we treat ourselves to for special occasions. But given the warm welcome, efficient service, great food and a very reasonably priced menu, now I wouldn’t think twice about popping in for lunch with a friend (or colleague, of course).
To book a meal at Elliotts Bistro, visit Dinham Hall