It was the lead up to Halloween as well as the castle’s 1,100th birthday when Rob and I decided to pay Warwick Castle a visit. The autumn air was crisp and the atmosphere was buzzing with plenty of families roaming around enjoying the festive events and entertainment.
As we entered the main grounds, we were greeted by a rather comical, 8 foot tall giant, dressed in period style robes that interacted with visitors as they stood around fumbling with their maps, trying to get their bearings to begin exploring the surroundings of the castle.
Rob and I (also fumbling with our maps) set off to discover the grounds. With so much to see and do we decided to head to the much talked about, Peacock Garden. This Victorian landscaped delight featured manicured hedges as well as a beautiful pond, fountain and of course, several free-roaming peacocks.
Attracting snap-happy visitors all desperately trying to capture a picture perfect photo of their vivid feathers, these colourful and curious creatures were a real hit with everyone who encountered them.
Reluctantly leaving the beautiful birds behind, we followed the outline of the gardens, making our way back to the main castle grounds as we headed towards one of the four towers.
Personally, I thought the view from the towers was the best highlight of the castle. Although the steep steps and extremely narrow passage ways were daunting to someone who doesn’t cope well in small spaces and was often clumsy on their feet, the view from the top was well worth the hard work getting there.
Looking out through the gaps in the turrets, the bird’s eye view of the city was breath-taking.
As a very picturesque city, Warwick is blessed with beautiful churches, quaint Tudor-style houses and an abundance of greenery, making the view from the top very worthwhile.
As the sun retired for the day, the evening-lit sky was perfect for a Trebuchet Fireball Spectacular. Crowds gathered on top of the hill near the river Avon, waiting in anticipation as the medieval catapult was slowly drawn back by a team of energetic men, running in unison inside a human-sized hamster wheel.
As the giant timber arm of the catapult is spring loaded, the excitement of the audience builds to a crescendo. Suddenly, with a blink of an eye, the fireball is hurled up into the air, creating a fiery trail as it shoots across the evening sky, finally crashing into the ground and tumbling down the grassy hill near-by.
From exploring everything the castle had to offer, and more so from climbing the steep steps of the towers, Rob and I had worked up quite an appetite, so we made our way to one of the local restaurants within walking distance of the castle;Number 6 Castle Street.
New to the city’s high street at just 4 months old, this restaurant was set up by five local investors, all friends with a passion for food.
For a Saturday evening the restaurant was busy with diners enjoying dishes from their seasonally thought-out menu and regulars seemingly relaxed in conversation at the bar, sipping on delicious cocktails; inventions hand-crafted by the staff.
Upon entering, we were greeted by the restaurant’s Assistant Manager, Cat, who took our coats and showed us to our seats. As I glanced down at the menu I was impressed with the selection of dishes and I mulled over my choices carefully.
Cat also gave us a wine menu that exuded quality on every page and recommended that we try a glass of Ridgeview; a sparkling wine that the Queen enjoyed at her Diamond Jubilee – and I can see why!
From speaking to staff throughout our meal, it was apparent that they all had extensive knowledge of the menu. Cat explained to us that the meat, vegetables and cheese were all sourced locally as the restaurant supported near-by businesses, and other staff that were attentive to our every need, helped recommend what wine or cocktail complimented each dish.
For starters I chose the juniper & lemon cured Scottish salmon with horseradish crème fraiche, fresh blini and baby caper vinaigrette (£7.50) whilst Rob had the soup of the day, which was cauliflower and cheese, served with a generous basket of warm crusty bread (£4.95).
I found the salmon starter to be gentle on the palette as well as the stomach. The dish featured delicate flavours of fresh smoked salmon entwined with a dollop of creamy crème fraiche, which was balanced by the spongy texture of the blini and accentuated by the twang from the lemon and baby capers.
The aroma from Rob’s soup equally smelt just as delicious as my starter, and with not even a drop left in the bowl for me to try, it obviously tasted delicious too.
After clearing our plates and waiting for our main course to arrive, we both appreciated the modern décor and felt relaxed in the cosy ambience of the restaurant.
As our main course was brought towards us, we praised the presentation of each dish for being beautifully executed and we were excited to tuck in.
I had the Becks the butchers cut of the day, which was a 14oz T-bone steak marinated in truffle oil, accompanied by sea salt chunky chips, watercress, tossed mushrooms, an air dried tomato and a smoked bacon & Worcestershire sauce butter (£22.95) and Rob had the chicken breast with smoked ham hock pork pie, mashed potato, baby leeks, wilted spinach and cafe au lait sauce (£14.45).
It’s fair to say that with the lack of conversation during our main meal, we both thoroughly enjoyed our dishes!
My T-bone steak was cooked to medium perfection and seasoned very well and Rob was equally impressed with his meal as he loved the ham hock pork pie, which was stuffed full of tender pulled pork.
Alongside my meal I enjoyed one of the restaurant’s own cocktail concoctions, ‘Her Majesty’s Pillow’. This plum gin cocktail was shaken with plum & damson preserve, lemon, sugar and a pink peppercorn tincture – a real delight for gin enthusiasts.
Finishing off our mains, we were both almost bursting at the seams, when we were faced with the dilemma of deciding if we could squeeze in a third course; dessert. Needless to say, our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs as we couldn’t say no, especially once we saw what was on the menu.
After much debate deciding between several of the desserts, I chose to order the warm almond frangipane crumble with honey liqueur sabayon, roasted plums & damsons (£6.95) and Rob, craving something chocolaty, chose the bitter chocolate marquis with praline dust, dark cherry puree, glazed oranges and candied zest. (£6.95)
Alongside my mouth-watering final course, I was recommended to try the ‘Apple, Pear and Cinnamon Mojito’ as the subtle flavours of mint, apple and fresh lime muddled with poir Williams, cinnamon syrup & lashings of flora de cana rum would complement the sweetness of the fruit and cinnamon in the dessert – which it did, very well.
Overall Rob and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Number 6 Castle Street and thought it was extremely good value considering the high quality of ingredients used to create the dishes. It’s quite astonishing that Number 6 has only been open less than 6 months as their innovative menu, knowledge of food and their attention to detail alongside their already built up clientele is very impressive for a restaurant so young.
So if you’re visiting Warwick for the day and want to eat food fit for a king, then a visit to Number 6 Castle Street is an absolute must.