“A cascade of culinary catastrophes”

“A cascade of culinary catastrophes”

The Diglis House Hotel stands proudly on the River Severn in a quiet area of ​​Worcester, just a few minutes' walk from the magnificent cathedral

The Diglis House Hotel stands proudly on the River Severn in a quiet area of ​​Worcester, just a few minutes’ walk from the magnificent cathedral

The Diglis House Hotel stands proudly on the River Severn in a quiet area of ​​Worcester, just a few minutes’ walk from the magnificent cathedral. Built in the 18th century, it housed some well-known Worcester families before, in 1900, it became a pub and then a hotel.

Now you can have a drink in the garden and watch the water as the swans glide to land on the river like a Concorde. Then, if you have booked for dinner, the delightful staff will accompany you to the restaurant’s upper terrace, deliver menus and take drink orders.

This is pretty much where the good things end. What follows is a cascade of culinary catastrophes; an avalanche of incompetent, lazy, indifferent cuisine that suggests the Digli are auditioning for a television remake of Fawlty Towers.

The menu promises a glorious British and European inspired feast. Then there are artisan bread, soup of the day, chicken parfait, burrata with traditional tomatoes, meat, fish or vegan dishes to share, pork belly, beef cutlet, crispy duck salad, sea bream fillet, haddock in beer batter , a burger, lots of puddings, a Worcestershire cheese board and more.

And there is a children’s menu: “Small plates”. Such a charm, such a choice. A lot of promise. From there our little ones opt for a “mini” hamburger and fish and chips. Their arrival has forced me into the new experience of sending back plates back because they are too hot: hot, hot that burns tiny fingers. The kitchen knew they were children’s dishes. Was it deliberated? Annoying guys. We will burn the little ruiners …

Diglis House Hotel's menu promised a glorious British and European inspired feast

Diglis House Hotel’s menu promised a glorious British and European inspired feast

We adults started by sharing plates of “ham croquettes” – lacking in flavor and seasoning as they were oversized, “salmon and chive bon bons” the cricket ball scale and without any hint of fish or herbs and “burrata [with] heritage tomato ”, where the burrata tears were dry and sad, and with absolutely no semblance of“ heritage ”in the cold tomato. These dishes were combined with the side dish of “summer vegetables” that we had intended for the main dish.

Oddly it was a plate of cold roasted carrots with a couple of strips of cabbage and about three peas on a plate of spring onions, radishes, lettuce and basil.

So far, so unusually sad. Then came the mussels. Here the kitchen delivered them overcooked in a heavy yellow sauce that had the spirit of those appetizers. She literally didn’t know about anything; MDF softened in shells in cloudy water.

Not wanting to embarrass the lovely waiters, I locked them in to request their removal. Could I have the grilled sirloin? I asked. A quick and easy solution for the chef, in my opinion.

More deceive me. Twenty-five minutes later a dish arrived that puts the slaughter of animals to shame. Overcooked – at some distance from medium-rare – and a sad and inedible specimen. Meanwhile, I noticed diners on a nearby table similarly despairing of their mussels.

I ordered a chocolate brownie from the kids menu – which was great, gooey center with good vanilla ice cream – and closed it.

We were staying in the hotel. Was the same person in the kitchen at breakfast? Cold, hard-boiled poached eggs on soggy bread, scrambled eggs that were gray and with the consistency of chopped peas and cuts of black pudding – or were they charcoal slices?

But, oh, the location, the unfulfilled promise of this place. It could be as historic, special and unique as the Waterside Inn at Bray. Maybe someday. But not today.

Read last week’s article: William Sitwell reviews Maria G’s, London: ‘The Amalfi Coast – by way of residential Kensington’

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