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STAFFORDSHIRE LIVING VISITS THE MAINWARING ARMS IN WHITMORE WHERE THE PAST MEETS THE PRESENT

Owned by Cheshire Cat Pubs and Inns this wonderful pub company was founded by pub and restaurant entrepreneurs Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin way back in 2009.

Tim had previously been Managing Director of 460 managed pubs with Greenall’s and then MD of Morrell’s of Oxford, Eldridge Pope and finally Brunning and Price, before taking the plunge into their own business with wife and business partner Mary.

Mary was formerly Managing Director of La Tasca and grew the Spanish restaurant chain from three to over seventy restaurants nationwide. Prior to this, Mary was with both Greenall’s and Devenish Pub Companies, having spent her early career with Disney and Harrods.

Cheshire Cat currently operates seven award-winning pubs and the Fitzherbert Farmhouse. All of which were either closed or on the verge of closure when Tim and Mary came along and rescued them. The challenge of restoring beautiful pubs, that many would have considered to be lost causes, is their passion. There is nothing more important to them than a great pub!

They have always set out to create individual pubs and Inns that offer character and atmosphere with differentiated food and drinks in each. Their people are like family and our pubs celebrate individualism…..that is what makes them special.

WELCOME TO THE MAINWARING ARMS.

Mainwaring Arms was founded in circa 1850. The pub sits proudly on the Whitmore Estate in the village of the same name, adjacent to the beautiful village church of St Mary and All Saints. In the distance is Whitmore Hall, the seat of the Cavanagh-Mainwaring Family, who named the Mainwaring Arms after their famous ancestor Admiral Rowland Mainwaring.

The Mainwaring surname (pronounced Mannering) was made even more famous by David Croft’s comedy called Dad’s Army, which featured a rather characterful Captain Mainwaring of course!

The Mainwaring Arms has a ‘big sister’ pub in the nearby village of Swynnerton, called the Fitzherbert Arms, rescued from closure by Tim and Mary nearly six years ago.

The Mainwaring Arms too fell upon hard times, closing its doors in late 2019. Sadly, due to the pandemic, any possible re-opening was delayed. But now it sits proudly on the corner of Whitmore Road and Three Mile Lane at the centre of the village again. Now sympathetically restored that complements the age of the pub and the wonderful history of the place.

The village boasts some lovely walks and is a great place to get out to and shake those cobwebs off!    It’s a great place to get something to eat after the pub champions local ales, only brewed by local microbreweries, it has a great selection of rums, paying homage to Vice Admiral Mainwaring and the Royal Navy he served in, as well as other interesting small-batch spirits.

Fresh, local food is at the heart of what they do and the team look after you in a warm ‘home from home’ way, in a beautiful, cosy, characterful pub.

 So, when Staffordshire Living were invited to go along and visit the Mainwaring Arms we jumped at the chance.

 

This was a pub that I often visited on the way to night out with my friends. I am not going to say quite how many decades ago that was, but RaRa skirts were all the rage and a sophisticated tipple was Vodka and Lime or half a lager and black.

At the time it was just another quaint country pub that you popped in for a drink on your way to somewhere else. Now it is a completely different story, a destination eatery where the food and drink is renowned to be second to none. Nestled in the picturesque village of Whitmore, Staffordshire, The Mainwaring Arms offers a delightful blend of superb cuisine, an impressive selection of beverages, and an inviting atmosphere that makes it a must-visit destination. This historic pub, once known solely for its drinks, has become a haven for food enthusiasts, thanks to its exceptional menu and welcoming environment.

 

During our visit, and after a very warm welcome, we noticed how lovely the interior décor matched the equally impressive exterior, with its low beamed ceilings, cosy nooks and rustic but sophisticated layout, with comfy cushions and three main areas to either sit and chill with a pint or meet up with your friends from a nibble sharer with your friend.   After a Cholmondeley gin and tonic we began our culinary journey with the King prawn starter with chilli butter and the little seafood pot. The prawns were succulent, perfectly cooked, and served with a tangy, flavourful sauce that complemented the natural sweetness of the seafood. The seafood pot, a delightful medley of fresh fish and shellfish in a rich, aromatic broth, was equally impressive. Each bite was a testament to the skill and creativity of the chef, David Sanchas, who hails from Lisbon, Portugal and not to forget the sous Chef Joe Foster who has been at the pub since it reopened.

For our main courses, we indulged in the steak and kidney pie and the steak. The steak and kidney pie was a hearty, comforting dish, filled with tender pieces of meat and a rich, savoury gravy, all encased in a perfectly pastry crust. The steak, cooked to perfection, was juicy and flavourful, a testament to the quality of ingredients used at The Mainwaring Arms. Both dishes highlighted the chef’s ability to elevate traditional pub fare to a gourmet level.

 

We concluded our meal with the cheese board, a well-curated selection of local and international cheeses that paired beautifully with the array of ports available. The ports, rich and velvety, enhanced the flavours of the cheeses consisting of Kidderton Ash Goats cheese, Kirklands Cheddar, Cranberry Wensleydale and Harrogate Blue creating a delightful end to our dining experience. The variety of rums offered at The Mainwaring Arms is also worth noting. With an extensive collection from around the world, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

 

The Mainwaring Arms boasts several private dining rooms, accommodating groups of six or twelve, making it an ideal venue for intimate gatherings and special occasions. The ambience is equally appealing for both ladies and gentlemen, offering a warm and cosy atmosphere that encourages relaxation and enjoyment.

The transformation from a drinking pub to a dining destination is evident in the attention to detail and the quality of service. Daniel, the manager, and his dedicated team go above and beyond to ensure every guest feels welcome and well-cared for. Their professionalism and friendliness add to the overall charm of the place.

The outdoor courtyard areas are beautifully maintained, providing a tranquil setting for al fresco dining during the warmer months. The ample parking facilities and the stunning views of the surrounding countryside further enhance the appeal of The Mainwaring Arms.

In conclusion, The Mainwaring Arms is not just a place to grab a drink; it’s a destination for exceptional dining and a cosy, inviting atmosphere. The talented chef from Lisbon ensures that every dish is fresh, tasty, and beautifully presented, making each visit a memorable experience. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, The Mainwaring Arms is well worth a visit for its superb food, excellent service, and a vast array of amazing drinks – rums gins, real ale and cocktails.  So if you are local or just visiting the area to see many of the amazing places Staffordshire has to offer, The pub is a short drive of 8 minutes to Izsak Walton Cottage and Trentham Estate, and 10-minute drive are The World of Wedgewood or slightly further afield are the market towns of Stone, Newcastle Under Lyme or any of the local Potteries, Emma Bridgewater, Moorcroft, Gladstone, Middleport and  Portmeirion

It is worth noting that  the private dining rooms are free to book for your  birthdays, anniversaries, and small gatherings  but please book early to avoid disappointment.

www.mainwaringarms.co.uk

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