The Boat Restaurant & Micro-farm

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The Boat Restaurant & Micro-farm

Gold Award

The small cathedral city of Lichfield may not be somewhere you’d particularly associate with fine dining, but it only takes one exceptional restaurant to put somewhere on the culinary map. In the case of Lichfield, that place is The Boat Inn.

Flaming torches guide you towards the entrance, immediately instilling an appropriate sense of occasion on arrival. Once inside, a vast open kitchen looks out over the whole dining room, allowing guests to catch a glimpse of the skilful chefs in action from their tables. The ultra-chic décor beautifully balances grand, silver ornament-lined feature walls and avant-garde artworks, with some more homely touches, such as footstools alongside every table.

The fact is though, however impressive the decor, nothing can distract from The Boat Inn’s exquisite food. Offering an à la carte or a choice of tasting menus, Dillon’s ingredient-led dishes ooze elegance and sparkle with know-how. Perfectly cooked salmon came sat in a shallow puddle of rich crab bisque, topped with lightly smoked eel and pickled grapes, and finished with crumbled nuts to complete the textural wizardry. Elsewhere, a playful open quail ravioli dish saw the pasta-wrapped pink flesh surrounded by a delicate mousse, with the addition of a crispy leg and smooth celeriac purée providing an extra umami kick.

To say that the best was saved until last would be doing a great disservice to the rest of the meal, but we were particularly taken with the rich chocolate cake-cum-sandwich. Coming artfully presented so that each individual layer was visible, the simple addition of three mint leaves played beautifully off the deep chocolatey flavour, while the accompanying quenelle of caramel ice cream left us wanting to lick the plate clean.

Having opted for the drinks pairing, wines were both cleverly and thoughtfully matched to each dish by our charming sommelier. A particular highlight was the Clos Ventas Terrasses du Larzac -  an organic wine exclusively available at The Boat Inn within the UK. A number of tempting cocktails can also be enjoyed either pre- or post-food, with some house specials on offer too.

There’s no doubt that The Boat Inn is a destination restaurant, so wait to book at your own risk because before you know it, there’ll be a significant queue for reservations. If you do decide to visit, we’d also highly recommend staying at the nearby Grade II-listed St John’s House boutique B&B for a luxurious night’s sleep after your meal.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Fine dining, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch, Sunday roast
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Chef’s table, Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
Birthdays, Celebrations, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


The Boat Inn in Lichfield is an award-winning fine dining restaurant serving modern British cuisine from an open kitchen. Chef and owner Liam Dillon originally opened the gastropub in 2017, having previously worked in renowned kitchens including MARCUS at The Berkeley, where he quickly received high praise for his intelligent and thoughtful cooking. Despite it being located a little off the beaten track on an A-road in Staffordshire, that hasn’t stopped diners flocking to the inn to try Dillon’s menus. It’s currently serving lunch and dinner Thursday through to Sunday, with vegetarian menus available as well. 

If you’re dining for dinner there are only set menus available – choose from either the four-course or six-course offerings. Although the menus change with the seasons, examples of dishes you might enjoy include truffled Cotswold chicken with roasted squash and kombi honey, fish raviolo with apple, leek, Dorset crab and fish sauce and Cotswold fallow deer with beetroot, watercress and pine sauce. For something sweet, you might be treated to a chocolate parfait with white chocolate aero, lapsang and malt ice cream. Do note that there is an optional wine pairing available with its set menus. 

Alternatively, you can opt to choose a bottle of your choice from the wine list. The menu focuses largely on organic and biodynamic wines, in keeping with its sustainable ethos, and includes a selection from all over the world. If you don’t fancy a whole bottle, or want to try a few different wines, there are a number of varieties available by the glass instead. 

The Boat Inn also boasts a stunning alfresco terrace where guests can enjoy a selection of snacks and small plates with drinks. This might include pigs head fritters with burnt apple, charcuterie and cheese, and LFC hot chicken wings.  


Is there a set lunch menu?

Yes, a set lunch menu is served Friday-Saturday and includes three courses for £45.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
The Boat Restaurant & Micro-farm

Liam Dillon

Chef & Owner

Liam’s career spans some of the countries top kitchens, starting in London with Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, The Five Fields in Chelsea and Restaurant Story by Tom Sellers in Bermondsey. He was inspired by international stints at Quay in Sydney, Noma in Copenhagen, and at three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park and two Michelin-starred Gilt in New York, before returning to his hometown of Lichfield in search of a place he could call his own.


Walsall Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14 0BU

01543 361692


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:30-14:30
Sat 12:30-14:30
Sun 12:30-14:30
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 18:30-21:00
Fri 18:30-21:00
Sat 18:30-21:00
Sun 18:30-21:00


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2 Reviews 


30 September 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Absolutely fantastic

Absolutely fantastic meal.  Amazing food, beautifully presented and great service.

Nicolette W

23 March 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5



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