Ben Hollins, Chris Eldon Lee, Connie Hollins, Allan Price (as Arthur), Steve Glover, Charlotte Hollins cutting the bale twine!
Last Wednesday evening saw Fordhall Organic Farm in Market Drayton launch our brand new eatery; 20 years after Arthur Hollins shut the doors on the Fordhall Farmhouse restaurant, he returned to open the doors at ‘Arthur’s’ – the new evening restaurant at Fordhall Farm.
The sun shone down on guests as they arrived for the launch celebration, with the strum of an acoustic guitar in the background and the chiminea alight, they gathered in the Fordhall Farm courtyard awaiting the grand opening.
Chris Eldon Lee, our chairman of the board of trustees of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI) welcomed the fifty VIPs to the event with a heart-warming speech, praising the Fordhall enterprise for how far we have come from the days of the campaign back in 2005, he said “It’s a momentous occasion for us all…”
“Arthur’s restaurant embodies the whole philosophy of Fordhall Farm because we can now serve sustainably produced, locally grown, organic food in a sustainably produced building; just as Arthur Hollins envisaged. And all the profits will be fed back into our vital community and educational work”
Chris went on to introduce our special guest of the evening, Arthur Hollins, played by local actor, Allan Price. Now that was a surreal moment!
Whilst ‘Arthur’ gave the opening speech and cut the baler twine to declare the restaurant open, our honoured guests and local dignitaries toasted with a shot of “yogtail”, one of the many inventions of the real Arthur Hollins back in the 1960’s. This is a curious mix of yoghurt and alcohol, which was quickly downed in one by our guests.
“They’re alcoholic and good for you; a rare combination.”
We believe we can claim Arthur’s to be Shropshire’s greenest eatery, with the distance the produce has travelled measured not in food-miles but food-yards.
Guests were treated to local Wroxeter sparkling wine, with a selection of canapés, giving them a chance to sample our restaurant’s menu including: pea and Shropshire Blue risotto, roast Fordhall sirloin steak with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish cream, lovage polenta cake with rocket pesto, and strawberry pavlova, just a few of the delights coming out of the kitchen run by our fantastic chef Barney Richardson. He creates ‘real’ food with elegance; sourcing all their main ingredients locally or organically – of course.
Bryan and Hannah enjoying the canape’s
The evening was a great success. We were delighted that Allan agreed to play Arthur for the opening, he had him down to a tee, including the fluffy grey hair. It was particularly heartening that the name for the restaurant was not chosen by us but by our customers. And the icing on the cake was Barney’s exquisite selection of canapé’s, demonstrating the very best of seasonal local food.
An enormous thank you must go to everyone who made the evening a success.
One of the many accolades of the evening came from the Mayor of Market Drayton, Steve Glover. He said “I last came to Fordhall Farm five years ago with a young man undergoing work experience. I can remember their small offices squeezed into portacabins and the run down buildings. It is wonderful to see what has risen from the ashes five years later. It can only continue to get better and better.”
Our chef, Barney, with mother of Fordhall, Connie
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the evening, the food actually tastes! It takes me back to my time in Africawhen everything you ate was fresh from the land around you. There is nothing better. These are the best canapé’s I have ever eaten. I wish the team at Arthur’s Restaurant the best of luck, I am sure it will be a great success.”
Chris Eldon Lee wrapped up the night’s festivities “I especially love” he says “the fact that we can enjoy such fantastic food, knowing that all the profits are going back into the community – everyone wins.”
We would like to say thank you to everyone who attended and to all the wonderful Fordhall staff, especially Katie and Becca, who worked extremely hard to ensure the evening went smoothly.
Arthur’s Restaurant is open on Friday evenings from 7pm, booking is essential.
Call 01630 638696 to reserve your table. We can also cater for group functions or private parties – try us out 🙂
PLUS Don’t forget it our Beer and Music Festival in just over one weeks time – have you got your ticket yet??