The Encore in Stratford-upon-Avon has had a makeover and Stratfordblog writer Jeanette Parkin was given a special preview. So what’s new at one of Stratford’s oldest inns?
I’ve always loved The Encore: the crackling log fire in winter; the cosy, candle-lit corners; the friendly locals at the bar.
The Encore, however, has always confused me. Is it a pub? Is it a restaurant? Can we sit upstairs? Can we eat near the bar?
The swanky new makeover – all kingfisher colours, stroke-able fabrics and patterned floors – has sought to address this. Downstairs, the sofas, high stools and velvety chairs surround tables laden with cocktail and drinks menus. This is where we drink in style. You can still order food downstairs, of course, and the swanky new ground-floor area extends towards the theatre end of the venue. The open fire is still a feature, thankfully.
Upstairs, the restaurant has been done out in the same muted-tropical colour scheme. This is where we eat in style. It’s a beautiful place to dine, with views out across the canal basin and towards the River Avon.
So, what can you expect when The Encore re-opens on Saturday November 17?
1 Bridge Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6AB; website
On the corner of Bridge Street and Waterside, The Encore enjoys an enviable position in central Stratford-upon-Avon.
Food and drink
Along with the new look, there’s a new menu. Starters include deep-fried brie, sweet chilli king prawn roll, and scallops of the day. My husband Darren – a dedicated and fervent fan of scallops – thought the idea of scallops, brie, bacon and pomegranate seeds was, and I quote, “ridiculous”. I only wish I’d captured his face as he ate his own words, alongside “some of the best scallops I’ve had in years”.
Mains include pizzas, salads, steaks, pork belly, spit-roast chicken, and lobster and crab fishcakes. I had the 7oz fillet steak with chunky chips and an ‘ale-glazed shallot tart topped with Cropwell Bishop custard, Stilton and walnut crumb’. The steak and chips were great; the tart was simply divine.
Two guests in our party had allergies and intolerances. Kristin, our superb host, went above and beyond to ensure that my friends could enjoy their dining experience. The comprehensive allergens guide, produced with no fuss, will set at ease the mind of anyone who has to live with a food allergy.
The dessert menu at The Encore contains classic sweet treats such as sticky toffee pudding, crème brulee and vanilla cheesecake.
The wine list is as comprehensive as ever, while, at the bar, you can try new cocktails. The pornstar martini, with a shot of prosecco, and the blood orange and passionfruit Collins were my favourites. I’ll be heading back to take advantage of the 2 for £10 cocktail offer (see special offers below).
While the décor has changed, the same warm and cosy setting, with a mellow buzz, remains. The Encore is a great date-night spot for a candle-lit dinner for two or a cool venue for larger groups (there are two private dining spaces upstairs).
Special offers at The Encore
There’s a Fixed Price menu available Monday to Friday, noon-6pm. Two courses cost £12.50, with three courses for £15.50.
A wider set menu is available on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6pm (two courses £22, three courses £26, including a drink or bottle of wine to share).
Two of the same cocktails are available for £10 Mon-Fri noon-7pm.
And don’t worry if you love the Bottomless Bubbles menu – it’s still on and detailed on Stratfordblog’s top 5 drinks experiences in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Value for money?
For a special occasion dinner, light lunch or a bite from the new weekend brunch menu, The Encore offers good value for well-presented and thoughtfully-created dishes in a gorgeous setting.
The Stratfordblog verdict
A huge thanks to the team at The Encore for a very special preview dinner ahead of Saturday’s re-opening.
The Encore has always been one of my favourite Stratford-upon-Avon pub-restaurants. While the new look is sure to lure in many more passing tourists, the food and drink offering will bring back locals like me, looking for a relaxed and comfortable venue in which to drink, dine and really enjoy.
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Information correct at date of publication