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Herefordshire Michelin Star News


The team at Pensons are utterly thrilled to announce that the restaurant, located on the historic Netherwood Estate on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, has retained its Michelin Star in the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2021.

Pensons remains the only Michelin Star restaurant in the region and the news,delivered via a virtual awards ceremony last night, was just the tonic to lift the spirits of our whole team during what has been a very difficult time for the hospitality industry and many others.

Pensons Restaurant opened two years ago and champions the ethos that reconnecting with the land inspires a more interesting menu and local provenance and quality are at the very heart of the cooking. Head Chef, Chris Simpson, embraces this with his imaginative, ingredient-led menus that showcase the very best seasonal produce that grows in the kitchen garden, on the Estate or whenever possible, is sourced from trusted local suppliers.

The restaurant’s passion for sustainability and this local approach ensure that the team are working to ensure this extends beyond the kitchen to every aspect of the business. The restaurant has collaborated with local artisans and craftspeople so the fabrics and napkins were woven on the Estate, the steak knives were forged by the neighbouring blacksmith and the lampshades were crafted by a local basket-maker using willow from a wood a field away. Meanwhile, rainwater is harvested for irrigating the garden, all food waste is composted and new initiatives are constantly being tested such as cultivating mushrooms in used coffee grounds.

The Michelin Inspectors summed up the Pensons dining experience as ‘Classically inspired dishes with modern overtones and an unfussy, pared-back style: flavour is to the fore, contrasts are sophisticated and there’s good balance between the courses. The delicious bread is a must and service is endearing.’

Chris and the team have created a menu that is based around the seasons and led largely by what produce is at its peak each month. In the evenings there is a 5-course tasting menu reflecting the produce currently at its peak and dishes include a starter of mushroom, hazelnut, potato, Jerusalem artichoke and a main course of quail, parsnip, leeks, smoked onion butter dressing.

The wine and drinks list also puts a strong focus on local with the ale and cider served from local producers such as Little Pomona and HPA in addition to seasonal cocktails using fruits and herbs from The Netherwood Estate. To accompany the tasting menu, guests can enjoy a paired wine flight to complement the dishes.

During the current lockdown, Pensons is offering fortnightly At Home meals based on what would usually be on the menu, but adapted to be easy to reheat and assemble at home.

Peta Darnley, Managing Partner of The Netherwood Estate and Owner of Pensons comments:
“On behalf of the whole team, we are absolutely delighted to have retained our Michelin Star for 2021. Chris is an exceptional chef and his dishes are alive with flavour. We are also incredibly grateful to our wonderful guests who have supported us whenever they have been allowed to eat out in between the lockdowns and we can’t wait to welcome them back through our doors.”

Chris Simpson, Pensons Head Chef, comments:
“I’m immensely proud of the whole team who have kept smiling and shown great determination to succeed despite the challenges placed upon us during this tough year for the hospitality industry. We look forward to a time when we can return to the kitchen with renewed energy and a great enthusiasm to embrace our next chapter for the restaurant in 2021.”

Heidi Chamberlain-Jones, MD of Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire responds:
“To achieve a Michelin Star is no mean feat, to retain it is just as much of an accolade. As an ESL Member, Pensons is a beacon for Herefordshire’s impressive foodie scene, leading the charge and flying the flag for the produce provenence of our delicious county. Peta, Chris and the entire Netherwood team are to be congratulated on their consistent delivery of excellence, and in remaining the county’s only Michelin Star destination.”

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