The Malt Shovel at Barston is a delightful country pub and restaurant that combines a peaceful rural location with the convenience of being just a couple of miles from both the NEC and Birmingham Airport. With log fires in winter and a beautiful patio garden in summer, it's a pub for all seasons and diners can choose between the award-winning and newly refurbished restaurant in a barn conversion and the bar menu served in the main pub. Chef Max Murphy has been in situ for almost a decade and has been awarded a second AA rosette in the 2011 guide. The Malt Shovel is also Michelin-recommended and has picked up plaudits from none other than Rick Stein for the quality of the fish and seafood, which is a speciality. The main menu changes seasonally and is always supplemented by a selection of daily specials. Cask ales and a good wine selection complete a very attractive package.
Having been to the Malt Shovel in the past we enjoyed the food so I booked for my birthday with my wife and arrived at 12.15 to find the door locked. After knocking on the door without success we tried again, this brought a response of "hold on I'm coming," the door was opened by a waitress and when I stood aside to let my wife,"are you coming in or not?" Having established we had booked in advance we were given a table in the corner although only one table was occupied. We asked for another table and ordered two gin and tonics.There were 3 waiters and 1 waitress, no attempt was made to bring our drinks and after 13 to 14 minutes we got up and walked out. We shall not be returning.
My family organised a surprise dinner for my birthday at The Malt Shovel. I had a fantastic time and really felt spoiled for a night. Not many restaurants do pay as much attention to you as they did there. The waitress was lovely and she even surprised me with a delicious cake full of candles and lots of smiles. We were booked in the restaurant area, relaxing atmosphere and beautiful set up but I wanted something a bit more lively so the manageress was kind enough to arrange a table for us in the bar area. Even though it was pretty busy we were served in time and we enjoyed the night near a warm fire place making us forget the freezing cold snow outside. We were given 2 menus and explained all the queries we had, they specialise in fish on the specials menu. I had Jamaican spiced chicken with lettuce and sugared mango as a starter and braised lamb shank with infused carrots and jus for my main. It really made my evening. The night finished with a couple of drinks at the bar and some fun time in the garden building up a snow man.
I had a great surprise birthday party beside my family but celebrating it at the Malt Shovel at Barston was the icing on the cake. I would highly recommend the pub but defiantly book in advance.
The Malt Shovel offers two dining experiences. You can choose the Restaurant with its fabulous medieval atmosphere. Small, select but expensive. Alternatively the bar serves the same food in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. Bar food is cheaper and equally excellent. The waiters and waitresses always seem to be from down under when I go! The Malt Shovel is a lovely village pub with a beautiful garden. Great in the summer for a drink although they do not serve food outside. Highly recommended wherever you live - it's worth travelling for. Enjoy!