Fragile winter sunlight is shimmering through tall fir trees on the lower slopes of the Malvern Hills as I look out over the town and farmland below.
If there’s a better vantage point to eat lunch an hour’s drive from Birmingham, I’ve yet to find it.
The room itself is large, airy and smartly decorated.
Beyond the large sliding doors is a terrace that would be an appealing place to eat on warmer days.
We’re at Aldwyn’s at Ellerslie, a stand-alone restaurant that’s part of a very smart and functional upmarket retirement village on the edge of the Malvern Hills.
I ever so slightly fall in love with a statue of a sleeping dog, who reminds me of my own weimaraner Kurt.
We’re eating from the all-day menu (there’s also a more ambitious dinner menu) and are delighted by our choices.
House-cured salmon arrives as a generous chunk of fish with a pleasingly firm texture and good flavour.
A dash of beetroot puree adds earthiness, the sweet-pickled cucumber brings a bit of zing.
There’s crunch from radishes and freshness from pea shoots and parsley oil.
This is a dish that looks and tastes vibrant.
Opposite, precisely-cooked scallops come with haggis bon-bons that cause my wife great joy.
There’s a cauliflower puree and lemon oil on a plate that’s harmonious and satisfying.
And now for the revelation of a great culinary discovery – the addition of haggis to buttery mashed spuds is genius, giving savoury depth and pepperiness to the potatoes.
Here the mash lay beneath tender, flavoursome calves liver accompanied by lots of sweet red onions, roasted heritage carrots, vividly green kale and a well-judge jus.
This was a dish that I’d happily eat at least once a week.
My wife’s home-made steak and ale pie with roasted and crushed new potatoes, glazed vegetables and a Maderia jus disappeared with a speed that suggested it was very well received.
She was too replete to manage dessert whereas I greedily progressed to a very pleasant peach and apple crumble tart that was accompanied by peach sorbet.
Don’t expect culinary fireworks if you make the trip down the M5.
Expect modern British dishes that are coherent, based on good seasonal produce, are well-crafted and easy on the eye – and easier still on the palate.
Need to know
Expect to pay between £6.50 and £10.50 for starters.
Mains range from £7.50 to £24.50.
There are also light bites and sandwiches during the day.
There are vegetarian options.
There’s a varied and reasonably-priced drinks list.
Parking is easy on-site.
Abbey Road, Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 3HL. 01684 879233.