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Review: No. 34 Garden & Grill, Warwick

Warwick's latest dining destination is a botanical-themed wonderland which pays equal homage to its vegan menu as its carnivorous offering - here's what Muddy thought.

THE LOWDOWN

You may recognise the exterior of the building as The Racehorse in Warwick, but step through its front doors and a lot has changed (for the better). It’s now called No.34 Garden & Grill and has been taken over by Caviar & Chips – if you don’t know they’re the duo who run Kenilworth institution Virgins & Castle.

Now gone is the drab local and in its place a hipster, bohemian, jungle paradise. There’s a cocktail menu perfect if you fancy going for a drink and nibbles with the girls, and a complete menu revamp promising something different from your standard pub grub. It’s just out of town too so you can park onsite and be in the door in less than 30 seconds – always handy if you’ve got your heels on.

THE VIBE

Trailing plants galore with exposed wood as far as the eye can see and a nod to industrial chic. There’s mood lighting keeping things cosy and plenty of nooks and crannies to settle down for a quiet meal with your other half. The rooms are cleverly portioned off using brickwork and log fires so you don’t feel too close to other diners, and bigger groups aren’t too intrusive (no screaming kids interrupting your Affogato here).

SCOFF & QUAFF

There’s two sides to the menu – one plant-based and the other championing meat and sustainable seafood. Ingredients are locally sourced and there’s a real focus here on offering something different while creating oh-so-pretty plates of food. So, without further ado, onto the starters.

Is there anything more warming on a cold night than a bowl of pasta? Not that I need an excuse for carbs at any time of year but the homemade parmesan and soft herb gnocchi with fresh peas, baby gem and garlic cream (£7) was a wonderfully subtle plate with a healthy kick of garlicky heat and a nod to spring with the seasonal veg.

The grilled mackerel, roasted beets, horseradish, pea shoot and shallot salad with lemon dressing (£9) was equally light and moreish with a healthy portion size.

Mains were charred romanesco, baba ghanoush, crispy kale, dukkah and sauce vierge (£14.50). It was an absolute explosion of flavours and textures with an almost curry-ish undertone. I could have ate it twice, and everyday for the next week after. And most importantly – I still had room for dessert.

Believe it or not this lamb was not still baa-ing as it was served. It’s cooked to order, so if you like it well-done instead of rare then you can go as wild as you like. It comes with pomme anna, sprouting broccoli and romesco sauce (£18.50) and was a delicious hearty main with lots of that lovely sauce just hiding under the meat.

Pud was a gooey warm cherry and chocolate brownie, cherry gel and vanilla ice cream (£6.50) with a delicious sour cherry which cut through the richness.

I can’t resist a Bakewell tart (£6.50) and this one was a goodie. More cake than pastry, it was a surprisingly light option and the perfect way to round off the meal. Also, can we please appreciate how damn pretty these puddings are.

OUT & ABOUT

Need to walk off those calories? There’s Warwick Racecourse just two minutes away to walk around and if you venture into town there’s St Nicholas Park with a measured 1 mile walk. There’s also mini golf, boating, and a fun fair if you don’t fancy packing your walking boots. If you’re feeling a bit more, erm, cultured, then Warwick Castle is just around the corner. Or take a wander around the independent shops in the town. Muddy award winners Warwick Books is a particular favourite.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

GOOD FOR: Unpretentious dinners and lunches, date nights and drinks with the girls. It’s great if you’re looking for somewhere in Warwick where you can park in the same place as you’re eating too (no fighting for spaces and traipsing round town here).

NOT FOR: This place will probably book up fast on race days (the race course is close by) so if you don’t like crowds maybe check these out in advance or book ahead.

THE DAMAGE: Very fair, starters range from £4.50 to £9 and mains from £14 to £18 and flit around the £25/£30 mark for a steak.

No. 34 Garden & Grill , 34 Stratford Road, Warwick, CV34 6AS, tel: 01926496705

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