An award-winning pub in Herefordshire presented its customers with a menu on St George’s Day (yesterday, 23 April) based entirely on locally produced beef from the Hereford breed of cattle.
Ross Williams – who has been both landlord and chef at the Wellington pub in the village of Wellington for over six years – created his ‘Festival of Beef’ using almost every part of the animal, from the tongue to the tip of the tail.
Enjoying the challenge of devising recipes using unusual cuts and components of the animal he says: “It gives me a great buzz to start with the raw ingredients and blow people away with what goes out on the plate.”
This was precisely the effect on his customers on Wednesday night, whose five savoury courses were each beef-based, while the dessert – of Bramley apple and mincemeat strudel with fresh vanilla custard – even included a pinch of beef suet. The highlight for many was the fillet, served with a pink peppercorn sauce, while the most unfamiliar was perhaps the pan-fried onglet, served with salad leaves, parmesan and vintage balsamic dressing.
The onglet itself is cut from the diaphragm, and although difficult to both cut and cook, is so prized for its flavour that it is traditionally often retained for the butcher’s own use.
The pub’s widespread success, including its recent award of GastroPub of the Year 2007, is based in part on Ross’s exceptional culinary skills (he was personally the National Winner of the PubChef Food Excellence Awards in 2008) but also on the quality of ingredients he uses.
Beef is sourced entirely from the nearby Broadfield herd of pedigree Hereford cattle, owned by Martyn, Mandy and Tom Jones from Kinnersley, and all other ingredients, where possible, are locally sourced.
“The Jones’s Hereford beef is exceptional for its flavour; it has been hung properly for 28 days and – because I can buy whole sections and butcher it myself – it is very economical”, says Ross “We have dishes on our menu that use every bit of the animal although we have to battle to get the parts we want, because of the widespread demand”.
The Broadfield herd specialises in supplying beef direct to the pub and restaurant trade and includes numerous prize-winning establishments among its customers.
The Wellington, Wellington, Herefordshire