Summer on the Severn: Five days out to enjoy

We’re sure it won’t have escaped you, but we’ve been having one of the warmest and driest summers for a long time. It’s beautiful in Arlingham, right along the River Severn and on the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal at this time of year. It’s well worth a visit for the day for adults and children alike. If you’re visiting, of course, we’d love to welcome you to The Old Passage for some breakfast, lunch or dinner – we’re the perfect stop off place to relax and enjoy some delicious food. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do during summer.

Walking

We had to start with walking. It’s free, accessible and a simple and fun day out. There are plenty of walking routes around Arlingham that take in the River Severn and the farms and countryside. You’ll find maps online, or just go out and explore.

Severn Bore

The Old Passage is famous for it’s Bore Breakfasts, which we run for good Bore forecasts in autumn and winter, early mornings. However, the Severn experiences Bores all year round, they’re just not always as big as winter ones and in summer they tend to be in the evenings. That’s means if you haven’t been able to make it to one of our Bore breakfast you can always see it one evening after some dinner. You can see the full timetable with times and star rating here. We happen to know they’ll be a 3* bore on the evening of August 14th at about 10.15pm and a 4* Bore on September 11th at about 9.10pm. Or you can book up early for our first two Bore breakfasts of the autumn season – details here.

Fun for the children

Just down the road from The Old Passage is St Augustine’s Farm, a great place to take young children. Lots of animals to visit and feed, open fields, play areas and their Camera Obscura, it should keep them busy for a while. If you’d like to bring children for lunch, we are more than happy to create children’s fish and chips of fish goujons (fish fingers) and chips for them!

Canal trip

Enjoy a canal boat day trip or hire a narrowboat to enjoy the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal. Or if you prefer just take a walk or a bike ride along the canal. If you have disabilities, The Willow Trust, offers canal boat rides for those with disabilities and have boats moored at Saul Junction, Frampton on Severn.

Eat at the Old Passage!

Last but by no means least – you could visit The Old Passage for some delicious food and drink. Don’t forget we also do wonderful reservation-only breakfasts and we’re open for lunch and dinner – see opening times on the website. Or how about joining our monthly Wine and Food Pairing Evenings on the first Wednesday of every month at 7pm? For £32.50pp you’ll enjoy a selection of wines, presented by our wine expert Fred, accompanied by little plates of food by our head chef Jon

The Old Passage named the Cotswold’s Restaurant of the Year 2018

The Old Passage took home the most coveted prize at the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards on Monday – Restaurant of the Year.

Despite being a small, independent restaurant in the small village of Arlingham, The Old Passage fought off stiff competition from popular restaurants in Cheltenham and Chipping Campden to win the award.

It completes a fantastic 12 months for the restaurant, located on the banks of the River Severn. In October last year The Old Passage celebrated its 10th anniversary, closely followed by winning Best Seafood Restaurant in the South at the national Food Awards.

Then in April, Waitrose magazine named The Old Passage one of 10 best places to eat fresh fish in the country.

Owner Sally Pearce, said: “The last 12 months have been a real whirlwind of celebrations for us at The Old Passage and this last award is the icing on the cake, especially since nominations came from the public. As a small independent restaurant, it’s tough to compete with the growing chain restaurant offerings, especially when we’re not in a town or city centre.

“However, we’ve always played to our strengths and that seems to work. People travel here to eat because of the beautiful rural location and river views, and our food offering is unique and high quality. We have a commitment to sourcing the very best quality seafood we can including oysters and lobsters, which we always have available. And our head chef Jon Lane and his team are constantly innovating and experimenting with new dishes to delight our diners.

Sally added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Jon, to my front of house manager Rosita Redwood, and the whole team at The Old Passage, because we wouldn’t have got this award without them.”

The judges of the awards said they were ‘wowed’ by the amazing selection of seafood available and the warm friendly service at The Old Passage. They said: “The location of the restaurant is superb with breath-taking view of the riverside, the ambience made the judges feel at home and it was commented that they couldn’t have asked for friendlier service. The seafood sampled was cooked to perfection and it was learnt how they source as much produce as locally as possible and sustainably catch their seafood, which impressed the judges.”

The Old Passage is one of the top 10 places to eat fresh fish in the UK!

The Old Passage has been featured by Waitrose magazine in their list of the ‘top 10 places to feast on fish straight from the sea this summer’.

The article, in the May edition of the magazine, includes some well-known seafood restaurants from around the UK including the likes of Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant in Rock, Cornwall.

We are delighted to be featured in the guide, amongst the best fish restaurants in the UK. The feature says: ‘On the banks of the River Severn, this is a light, airy restaurant in which to indulge in some first-class seafood. Dishes might include seared scallops or plaice with cuttlefish. Or push the boat out with the seven-course taster menu. Time your visit to catch the Severn Bore tidal wave and celebrate with a special three-course breakfast.”

 

Our list of five things to do this Easter

We hope you’re looking forward to the long Easter break coming up. We’ve got some ideas for ways to spend the break (which incidentally all involve visiting The Old Passage!). We’d love to see you, and now the weather seems to finally be on the turn, Arlingham is a beautiful place to visit, as well as nearby canal-side villages like Frampton-on-Severn.

1. Enjoy some delicious eggs for breakfast, visit the Old Passage one morning! We serve breakfasts, which are pre-book only, but are a wonderful treat for you, your friends, or the whole family. Eggs are on the menu, of course, in many different ways, including with salmon and crab. We have traditional items like porridge and a Full English – on the other hand we have lobster and champagne!

2. Take a long walk along the River Severn. As spring finally arrives it’s time to dust off those walking shoes and take a stroll around Arlingham and along the River Severn. There are several sign-posted walks. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, pop in for a spot of lunch.

3. Enjoy some seasonal spring delicacies. Crab is good at the moment and so is pollack for example, but a favourite with our diners at the moment are our amazing St Austell Bay deep sea mussels, you won’t taste anything better. They are plump, large and juicy and Jonnie from The Flying Fish (our fish supplier) was even on BBC2 with Tom Kerridge talking about them last week!

4. Watch the Severn Bore – an amazing natural phenomenon. If you still haven’t seen the Severn Bore, you are really missing out. This unusual tidal wave that flows up the river at certain times of year is a real spectacle and surfers often ride the waves, making it great fun to watch. We have a few tables left for our famous Bore Breakfast on Saturday, March 31st. Booking is essential. The Bore is due at 07.52am and a delicious three course breakfast will be served after.

5. Enjoy a romantic evening meal. A long weekend – must be the perfect excuse to go out for dinner! We’ll be open in the evening on Friday and Saturday for the Easter weekend, Sunday we are open for breakfast and lunch only. Mondays we are closed.

Spanish wine and food pairing evening

Hot off the back of our fantastic South African wine event, we’re pleased to invite you to a Spanish wine and food pairing evening, hosted by a wine expert, with food to match by our head chef.

These wine and food pairing evenings are fantastic fun, a delicious treat, and a great way to learn about wines and broaden your taste and knowledge on wine types.

A few of the food plates that accompanied the wines at our South African event in March

On Wednesday, April 4th at 7pm, we’ll be hosting our next one, which will focus on Spanish wines – some well-known ones and some much less-well known, to give you a real feel for the spread of excellent wine this country has to offer. Each wine will be accompanied by small plates of food by our head chef Jon Lane.

The evening will be hosted by wine expert Frederik Van Niekerk, who has 12 years experience in the wine industry and is WSET qualified, which is the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

You will need to book tickets in advance, they are £32.50. To book call 01452 740547.

 

A Mother’s Day treat

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, are you searching for the perfect treat for your mum on Mothering Sunday (March 11th)?

The Old Passage will be open for delicious and indulgent breakfasts, which you could follow up with a refreshing walk along the Severn in Arlingham – a great way to start the day. Or why not start off with the walk and finish up at The Old Passage for a lazy lunch? We’ll have our full ‘a la carte’ menu on offer, so plenty of choice from classic fish and chips, to mussels and lobster.

Or our beautiful fritto misto below is a lovely sharing starter, including crispy oysters, smoked haddock croquettes, crab samosas and squid.

You will need to book, both for breakfast and for lunch, either online or call 01452 740547.

Wine and food pairing evening

We are delighted to announce another of our popular wine and food pairing evenings at The Old Passage.

Enjoy an evening learning about, and of course tasting, South African wines, with wine expert Frederik Van Niekerk, from fine wine suppliers Domaine Direct, on Wednesday, March 7th. Frederik has over 12 years experience in the wine industry and is WSET certified, which is the industry training for wine professionals from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

He will be taking everyone through a selection of well-known and not so well known wines from South Africa, and this will be accompanied by small plates of food from our head chef Jon Lane to perfectly match the wine. This will be a fun, friendly and informative evening of fantastic wine and food.

The evening starts at 7pm, and should last around two hours. The cost for the evening is £32.50 per person. Pre-booking is essential and we are only taking phone bookings for this event.

 

Seasonal seafood

The quality and seasonality of our seafood is our main priority at The Old Passage. A great dish can only start with a great ingredient, that’s why we use a fish supplier that guarantees seafood from ship to restaurant within 48 hours. Flying Fish Seafoods supplies many top restaurants and the likes of Paul Ainsworth and Tom Kerridge. They deliver up to five days a week to ensure we have the freshest fish available from the markets of Cornwall.

In the winter months seafood can be scare, and more expensive. This isn’t because there isn’t good quality seafood in season, but because in bad weather day boats can struggle to fish and bring back their catches each day, creating short supply. However, there is still plenty of fish and shellfish to enjoy in peak condition. Here are a few of our favourites at the moment:

Cornish deep-sea mussels

One of our favourites and a popular option with our diners is mussels. At this time of year we are getting fabulous plump, juicy mussels with beautiful clean black shells and a distinctive flavour, grown in deep sea beds off the coast of Cornwall. They thrive in the rich Gulf Stream and the clean water and nutrients ensures a perfect growing environment for the mussels.

We’ve got mussels on our menu as a starter or main with smoked bacon, cider and cream.

Line caught cod and pollack

Cod prefer a cooler climate, and the cool waters off the Cornish coast at this time of the year is the perfect location for these predatory fish. In Cornwall cod stocks have massively benefitted since the introduction of the ‘Cod Box’ which is a seasonally closed off area on the North Coast of Cornwall.

Meanwhile pollack are coming straight into Looe market from small boats using techniques honed over many years. By fishing for short periods of time and only hand-lining these fish, it means they remain in perfect condition. Pollack is a great alternative to cod, with firm white flesh, delicate and delicious. We have a brand new pollack dish with incorporates beef shin ravioli, crispy kale and ale jus – it’s a fantastic combination which works with the meaty texture of the pollack.

Day boat lemon sole

These beautiful and delicate fish are just coming into season and Flying Fish Seafoods are getting supplies of these fresh from day boats coming into Looe Harbour. Again, doing short day trips before returning with the fresh catch keeps them in top condition, and they are some of the best Cornwall has to offer.

Bore Breakfasts 2018

We now have the first dates for the Severn Bore in 2018 – and so it’s a chance to book one of our popular Bore breakfasts.

The dates are as follows:

Thursday, January 4th at 08.21 hours – a 3* Bore

Friday, February 2nd at 08.08 hours – a 4* Bore

Saturday, March 3rd 07.53 hours – a 3* Bore

Sunday, March 4th at 08.33 hours – a 4* Bore —— NOW FULLY BOOKED

Both February 2nd and March 4th dates are almost fully booked, so please ensure you book up to secure your table for our famous Bore Breakfasts. Enjoy watching the spectacular natural phenomenon followed by a delicious breakfast.

You can find more details and a sample menu here.

New Year’s Day Brunch – celebrate in style

Start your 2018 in style with a delicious brunch on the River Severn with us. For the first time we’re making an exception to our own rule and we’ll open on a Monday – just for New Year’s Day!

Our New Year’s Day Brunch will be available from 11am – 3pm and you can view the delicious menu HERE.

It includes breakfast classics like Full English and grilled kippers, alongside decadent alternatives like hot char-grilled salmon with poached egg, caviar and Hollandaise or our Pilots Breakfast: scrambled eggs, fresh crab, smoked salmon, lobster, parmesan shavings, rocket on toasted brioche.

Or we have warming main dishes including mussels with cider, bacon and chips, Old Passage hot pot with steak, ale and lobster or steak, chips, mushrooms and tomato.

Of course you can’t have a New Year’s Day brunch without cocktails on offer and we’ve got Bloody Marys and Bucks Fizz with Three Choirs Cuvee – as well as our usual wine and drinks list.

To book call 01452 740547 or make a reservation online.