The 1792 Bar & Grill is the perfect location for a relaxing meal in the beautiful surroundings of Hawkestone Park, Shropshire
After a couple of fairly quiet years, things seem to be getting back to normal again here. And I’ve especially noticed that my sons’ lives are as busy as ever.
I hardly ever see my youngest son, Lyle, as he has such a packed life now with work and socialising. But we try to make a point of going out for dinner at least once a month so that we can really catch up properly.
So when Open Table asked if I’d like to try out their online restaurant booking system and review a restaurant, I asked Lyle if he would like to join me for the evening. Luckily, he managed to fit me into his busy diary!
Booking with Open Table
Open Table makes it really easy to find and book a restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can either book on the Open Table website, or download the app for Apple or Android phones.
You can book for a specific restaurant, if you have one in mind, or search for restaurants by location or cuisine. You can even search for restaurants which have tables available right now, which is great for those last minute dinner plans.
Once you’ve made your booking, you can ask for reminders to be sent to your phone. That’s really handy if you have a habit of forgetting the time that you booked for…
I wanted to visit a local restaurant so I searched for restaurants in Shropshire and quite a wide selection turned up. Unsurprisingly there were quite a few Ludlow restaurants listed, as it’s a real foodie destination. But it takes me about an hour to get to Ludlow, so I decided to choose one a bit closer to home.
The 1792 Bar & Grill at Hawkestone Park Hotel caught my eye, as it’s been a few years since my last visit to Hawkestone. I booked our table through the Open Table website and checked the box to send a reminder to my phone.
About Hawkestone Park
Hawkstone Park is a stylish hotel in Shropshire, set in 400 acres of Grade 1 listed landscaped grounds which includes three golf courses. The hotel is around 14 miles from Shrewsbury which makes it ideal for visiting Shropshire’s county town. If you want to venture further afield it’s also within easy reach of visitor attractions like Attingham Park and the Ironbridge Gorge.
The hotel grounds are also home to the famous Hawkestone Follies. This 100 acre woodland park was built over 200 years ago and features cliffs, caves, woods and fantastic monuments. There are walking trails to suit all abilities, which are perfect for a relaxing walk in nature or for tiring the kids out.
Hawkestone Follies is a great day out and certainly one of the best things to do in Shropshire. And once you’ve finished your round of golf or exploring Hawkestone’s grounds, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the hotel’s restaurant.
Dinner at 1792 Bar and Grill
Our table at the 1792 Bar and Grill was booked for a Monday night, so the restaurant was fairly quiet on the night that we visited. I did think that the lighting was a little harsh, perhaps better suited to a large party or event than a cosy dinner. It also made photographing the food a little tricky at times.
We arrived after dark on a rainy September evening, so we missed out on the glass fronted restaurant’s view over the surrounding gardens. A drink on the terrace outside the restaurant would be a lovely start to your evening if you visit Hawkestone in the summer months.
I ordered a gin and tonic to sip while we looked through the menu. The restaurant prides itself on having one of Shropshire’s largest selections of flavoured gins but I opted for a classic Tanqueray.
The 1792 Bar & Grill would be ideal to visit either for a light lunch or dinner, with a menu that includes some classic dishes plus a small selection of homemade pizzas. Gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options are all available on the main menu.
Lyle and I both found several tempting options to choose from. I decided to begin with the chicken liver parfait which was served with toasted brioche and a red onion chutney The parfait was beautifully smooth, very tasty and a really good start to my meal.
Meanwhile Lyle decided to choose the calamari starter. Rings of crispy panko coated squid were served with a sweet chilli sauce, and Lyle kindly agreed to let me have a taste. I’ve had some pretty bad calamari in the past which generally puts me off ordering it. But this squid was tender rather than rubbery and I really enjoyed the small piece that I tasted.
Other options on the night that we visited included a goat’s cheese and salt baked beetroot salad and a classic French onion soup.
Lyle was initially tempted by the steak for his main course, but eventually settled on the braised beef cheek instead.
The incredibly tender beef was served on a bed of creamy mash, surrounded by a rich sauce and accompanied by a selection of vegetables. I convinced Lyle to let me taste some of the beef cheek, and it was absolutely melt-in-the mouth tender. This was obviously good quality beef that had been cooked really well and Lyle really enjoyed it.
There were a number of main courses that looked appealing, like the cauliflower and black truffle macaroni cheese or the Shropshire Blue topped burger with triple cooked chips. But as ever, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to order belly pork for my main course. I absolutely love this cut and the 1792 version was a particularly good one!
As with Lyle’s braised beef, the belly pork was beautifully tender and packed full of flavour. The mashed potato underneath was perfectly smooth and creamy, and the lightly cooked greens on the side were the perfect foil to the fattiness of the belly pork.
And the dish was crowned with a perfectly crisp shard of salty pork crackling, which I really enjoyed!
We both savoured every morsel of our main courses and then took our time over choosing our puddings. Lyle really wanted to go for the cheeseboard, until he spotted that there was sticky toffee pudding on the menu!
That’s one of his favourite puddings and he always finds it very hard to resist. He was very happy with his dessert, which was served with a rich toffee sauce and topped with fresh berries. I’d like to be able to tell you what it tasted like but I wasn’t even allowed to try a morsel. I think that tells you how good it was!
But that’s OK, because I was tucking into my own delicious dessert at the same time!
I had also decided against the cheeseboard or the ginger cheesecake, opting instead for the apple tarte tatin. Ordering this pudding does mean that your table’s desserts take a little longer to arrive, but I think it’s worth the wait.
The buttery pastry and sweet caramelised apples were absolutely delicious, and I loved the contrast between the hot pudding and the cold clotted cream on top. If I was being picky, the crème anglaise could have been a touch thicker but it certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment at all.
We both just about managed to finish off our puddings and it would have been nice to relax in the cosy lounge area with a coffee afterwarads. But the road beckoned and so we reluctantly headed back off into the dark, rainy evening.
A meal at 1792 Bar and Grill: my verdict
We really enjoyed our evening at 1792 Bar & Grill. The quality of the food was very high, and our main courses in particular were cooked perfectly. I’m still thinking about that succulent belly pork and the salty crackling that accompanied it…
The restaurant was fairly quiet on the night that we visited but the staff were very friendly and the service was excellent. My only quibble was with the harsh lighting in the room. Softer, more atmospheric lighting would have made the evening feel that little bit more relaxing.
It also means that my photographs don’t really do justice to the quality of the food!
Our bill came to just over £80, which included three courses and two drinks for each of us. While that is quite expensive, especially in the current economic climate, we both felt that it was a fair price for the standard of the food that we enjoyed.
And I’m fairly sure that I’ll be back at 1792 Bar & Grill soon!
1792 Bar & Grill
Hawkstone Park Hotel, Shrewsbury SY4 5UY