REVIEW: The Clifden Arms, Worminghall
17th Jun 2012
Remember the restaurant I’ve been trying to get into for weeks? I went at 12pm one afternoon and it was fully booked. Next time I called, and tried to book four days in advance and no joy (unless I wanted a 7pm start). Two weeks ago I finally made it into The Clifden Arms in Worminghall for dinner to see for myself what the fuss is about.
Worminghall tickles the underbelly of mid-Buckinghamshire. It’s just below the Claydons and very close to the Bernwode Fruit Trees in Ludgershall that I wrote about the other week (so perfect for a morning outing with lunch tacked on). The Clifden Arms is actually a pretty country pub, thatched roof, beams, and a large, well-equipped garden for young kids in a quiet setting.
Though you can certainly order ‘pubby’ food if you like (burgers/ fish and chips etc) the menu goes way beyond these staples - no surprise when you find that chef/owner Matthew Butcher has worked at Le Manoir as well as doing time as sous chef at other Michelin-starred restaurants. The menus change daily, but if you get the chance, try my starter - seared scallops, with prawn and Chilli Balls and fennel and lime. It was divine.
The decor is the area that needs some TLC but as Matthew and his wife Kate only took The Clifden Arms last summer it’s probably on the to-do list. Currently it’s resolutely ‘pubby’ and for that reason, I’m more likely to use it as a lunch venue, or a casual dinner rather than a truly special occasion. But in an area that seems to struggle with truly quality gastropubs, The Clifden Arms makes the grade with ease.
Perfect for: a good quality lunch in the garden with kids; a local dinner with friends.
Not for: Readers of Wallpaper*.
£££: Around £80 for wine and three courses. I left feeling it was pretty good value.
The Clifden Arms, 75 Clifden Rd, Worminghall, Bucks HP18 9JR. www.theclifdenarms.com. Tel: 01844 339273