Milton Keynes is a town located about 45 miles north west of London. It takes around 1.5 hours to drive from London or about 35 minutes by train. As I will be visiting this area periodically over the next few years (while my husband completes his Doctorate program at Cranfield University), I am using my time to discover a few local gems. Doing a little research, following my successful discovery of The Carrington Arms, I hit upon The Birch at Woburn.
Situated on the outskirts of Woburn, about 5 minutes from Milton Keynes, is this family owned restaurant and bar. From the outside, The Birch looks much like any other whitewashed country pub. Upon entering the first impression is of a small and rather cramped bar area, but once we were shown around the corner we soon discovered that there is actually a very large restaurant. The light stone floors, pine tables, and clever use of mirrors give the feeling of quite an expansive space.
We are passionate about serving quality fresh food, accompanied with specialty selected real ales and fantastic choice of wine in a comfortable and modern environment served by our attentive and friendly waiting staff – Via Website
Walking to our table we noticed the open plan kitchen area in the corner of the room. The eclectic mix of chair colors, table sizes and settings, rugs on the floor, and flower displays and mirrors dotted around the room gives a very welcoming and cozy feeling in such a large area.
The Birch changes its menu with the seasons to ensure that the freshest local ingredients feature prominently. Having looked at the menu online, I already had a good idea of what I wanted to order but was pleased to hear that there are daily specials to tempt you further.
Our reasonably priced, seasonal lunchtime and evening menus offer exciting English food with a Mediterranean and New World twist – Via Website
David couldn’t resist the sound of the pea soup of the day (GBP 5.95), and thoroughly enjoyed the piping hot and very bright green colored soup that soon appeared in front of him. I passed on a starter and was thankful I did when my huge plate of food arrived for my main course.
I selected the fillets of Sea Bass with chef’s mango salsa; although I must admit the salsa disappeared in the mountain of food on my plate as I do not remember tasting that (GBP 18.95). All items offered ‘from the Griddle’ included two sides. I selected the steamed vegetables that were served in a herb and orange dressing, giving just a hint of sweetness. I loved the vibrant green color of the vegetables that made my plate so appetizing. I also chose the chargrilled beef tomato with salsa verde that proved to be quite a huge beef tomato so a very hearty portion. David enjoyed a British sirloin steak (priced per oz at GBP 2.95) and followed my lead with the steamed vegetables. He couldn’t resist the sound of the hand cut chunky chips with sea salt and was not disappointed with the somewhat intimidating gigantic cup of chips that adorned his plate.
There were quite a few desserts on offer such as sticky toffee pudding (GBP 7.50), pear and ginger crumble (GBP 6.95), plus an artisan cheese board selection (Platter of 3 for GBP 8.95 or 4 for GBP 10.95) However, when in the UK David does love his ice cream sundaes. Sadly no sundae was on offer, but as an alternative David got to choose from quite a large selection of ice cream flavors, priced per scoop at GBP 1.50. The ice cream arrived on a shortcake crumble base with a spun chocolate decorative topping that gave an added flair.
We had 3 or 4 servers during the course of our meal, all of who were extremely friendly and subtly attentive. I loved that we never felt rushed, although dining so early (we were the first to arrive and leave) there really was no need to ‘turn’ the table. I also really appreciated that the food was served hot, (on warmed plates) with a reasonable amount of time between courses. Dishes were not removed until it was clear that we had both finished. These things might not seem that important, but as I spend so much time traveling to different countries I find that I have gained a new appreciation for the dining etiquette in the UK.
I think this is a lovely location to enjoy a night out. The restaurant layout is very welcoming with the tables set far enough apart to avoid any issues with noise from neighboring diners. The menu has a good selection to keep all palates happy although I did notice that the menu said that the chefs would accommodate any food allergies or special dietary requests. While I would not say it is cheap, it’s fair to say that it is ‘reasonably priced’ for the quality, quantity, and type of food being served.
Address: 20 Newport Road, Woburn, Milton Keynes, Bucks MK17 9HK
Phone: 01525 290295
Hours: Food Served daily Monday-Saturday 12pm – 2.30pm & 6.15pm – 9.30pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm