This guest blog is written by Lynne, also known as the Moorlands Eater. Based in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Lynne loves good food and shares recipes from her kitchen, recommendations for eating out and tips about food and drink producers & suppliers at https://moorlandseater.com/

Missing dining out due to COVID restrictions, drawing up my top ten Staffordshire restaurants was the perfect opportunity to look back at some great dining out, but also whet my appetite for what’s to come as hospitality opens up again.

The Moorlands Eater


The Red Lion, Bradley, Staffordshire. Photocredit: Moorlands EaterThe Red Lion, Bradley

What I love about The Red Lion is its combination of imaginative, modern British cooking plus perfectly executed pub classics. The kitchen produces both with huge skill.

So, you could start with a chicken and wild mushroom terrine with prune chutney, follow that with bangers and mash, then have ice-cream taco with black coconut ice-cream for pud!

The Red Lion is in a wonderful village setting too: in a beautifully refurbished seventeenth century building, next to a picturesque medieval church.


The Flintlock, Cheddleton

How lucky am I to be able to include in my top ten Staffordshire restaurants one that’s just a few minutes’ walk from home?

The Flintlock, with local, seasonal produce cooked well and imaginatively, attracts foodies from further afield as well as Cheddletonians like me.

If you enjoy fine dining in a casual, unpretentious atmosphere then I think you’ll love this canal side restaurant.

Prices are incredibly reasonable for this standard of cooking. As well as the a la carte menu, on selected days there are set price menus plus a sensational Sunday roast.


Chicken liver parfait at Duncombe Arms, Staffordshire. Photocredit: Moorlands Eater

The Duncombe Arms, Ellastone

Serving modern and classic British food of an exceptional standard, I was hugely impressed when I first ate at The Duncombe Arms three years ago. But I think the quality today is even better.

As with many of my picks, the name of the game is using local and seasonal produce to create imaginative, wonderful plates of food. Desserts are always intricate and beautiful.

This isn’t a stuffy formal restaurant though, but a relaxed and characterful country inn. If your tastes run to classic pub food, then you’ll find it done to a remarkable standard here.


Venison dish at The Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire. Photocredit: Moorlands EaterThe Boat Inn, Lichfield

Awards came swiftly after Liam Dillon, Head Chef and owner, took over The Boat Inn.

But it’s no wonder. The menus are full of imaginative dishes executed with beautiful attention to detail in both flavour and appearance.

I absolutely love the tasting menu: a series of perfect plates with flavour and complexity that’s only hinted at in the understated menu descriptions.

But whether it’s the tasting menu, the a la carte, or a set price meal, you’ll find excellent cooking and dishes full of interest.


No.26 at Aston Marina, Stone

Named after the lock on the nearby canal, No 26 at Aston Marina is another of my favourite Staffordshire restaurants with an accent on seasonality and local suppliers.

Part of Aston Marina, with its popular wedding and events venue plus inland marina, this is a lovely spot.

I’ve found No.26’s range of dishes excellent. So much so, you might find you have to decide what you don’t want on the menu, rather than trying to find something you fancy. It really does all sound so tempting.

With generous portions of well-flavoured food (I found the sauces particularly impressive) and attractively presented, I doubt you’ll be disappointed whatever you choose.


Sea trout dish from The Moat House Acton Trussell, Staffordshire. Photocredit: Moorlands EaterThe Moat House, Acton Trussell

When I go to dine at The Moat House, a beautiful manor house with duck and swan-filled moat, I know that I’ll eat very well indeed.

The food is beautifully balanced in flavour and texture. Ingredients are carefully selected and cooked with great skill. The plates look gorgeous.

There’s a lovely, beamed bar, but my favourite place to eat is the Orangery Restaurant. Set in an airy conservatory, colourful narrow boats glide by as you dine.

I know you’ll find lots to love on the inspiring a la carte menu. But I highly recommend a tasting menu. Put yourself in the expert hands of the kitchen and marvel at the parade of wonderful dishes that will come your way.


Little Seeds, Stone

I loved my very first visit to Little Seeds. Like the saying from which they take their name (‘From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow’) I felt they would go on to great things.

Based on subsequent visits, I’d say that was pretty accurate.

Describing its food as vibrant and contemporary British, Little Seeds offers breakfasts, brunches and lunches. In the evenings it’s a great spot for casual dining, serving up tasty, imaginative plates and impressive homemade desserts.

Look out for occasional themed evenings with set menus taking you to places like Istanbul, Greece, Sicily, or New Orleans.


Amore, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

You couldn’t say that Amore, with its classic Italian food, is cutting edge or strikingly modern. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is proper Italian food, expertly cooked.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve had such good pasta and meat dishes since visiting Bologna over fifteen years ago.

Which is not bad for a small, family-run restaurant hidden away in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Oh, and don’t leave without trying one of their homemade cakes or desserts, temptingly displayed on the counter.


Chef's take on Artic Roll from the Three Horseshoes Inn, Leek, Staffordshire. Photocredit: Moorlands Eater

The Three Horseshoes, Leek

This country pub and restaurant hits that sweet spot of pleasing both lovers of faultless pub favourites as well as those seeking a fine dining experience.

As I’ve a foot in both camps, it’s no surprise that The Three Horseshoes made it onto my list of favourite Staffordshire restaurants.

I love that you can get a steak and ale pie, fish and chips, or a cracking carvery Sunday lunch at the same place where I had a memorable and delicious malted pork cheek doughnut.


The George, Alstonefield

The George looks like the quintessential village pub, but it’s actually home to first-rate, creative British cooking.

With an emphasis on sustainability as well as the local, they aim to source within 15-miles. Produce from their own kitchen garden, eggs from their hens, as well as veg from local allotments all find their way into dishes.

The George has a hugely talented kitchen staff but has occasionally been joined for one-off evening tasting menus by up-and-coming chefs familiar to viewers of ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ and ‘Great British Menu’. Well worth snapping up a table if you can.

All photos published in this blog are courtesy of Moorlands Eater

Related

The Red Lion
Restaurant - Pub
The Red Lion

We are passionate about pubs and food and understand the importance of creating a great experience… you will receive a warm welcome from the Red Lion.

The Duncombe Arms
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Bar area at Duncombe Arms

The Duncombe Arms is a beautiful, traditional country pub restaurant and is a great place to visit providing a delightful setting in which to enjoy a drink, some lovely food from our lunch and evening menus.

The Boat Inn
Gastro Pub
Tasty Crab

Winner - Silver Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Independent Restaurant of the Year 2019. We have been very fortunate to be able to refurbish the pub so our guests can relax in comfort and one goal for the restaurant is to provide the highest quality, locally sourced produce cooked with great care and presented in an innovative style to please the eye and satisfy the pallet.

No 26 at Aston Marina
Restaurant - Casual Dining
No 26 at Aston Marina

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Independent Restaurant of the Year 2019. A passion for using the finest quality, local sourced ingredients is showcased in seasonal menus that feature British classics alongside globally-inspired dishes.

The Restaurant at The Moat House
Restaurant - Fine Dining
Atmospheric Moat House

Visit our 2 AA rosette, award winning conservatory restaurant, set in the tranquil canal side setting of rural Staffordshire. The Moat House provides the perfect setting for those special occasions be it business or pleasure.

Restaurant at the Three Horseshoes Country Inn
Restaurant - Casual Dining
Three Horseshoes Country Inn

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year 2019. The Country Inn offers award winning food served in a relaxing atmosphere with Oak Beams, Open Fires and views over the Staffordshire Peak District.