What is the food like?
Sophisticatedly fine-tuned simple basics. The menu doesn’t look exciting on first glance. Choice of soup, soft boiled egg or salad for starters and choice of pork, fish and beef for mains. But the salivation starts as you interrogate the menu closer. There are crab, saffron, truffle, raspberry vinegar, halibut, ribeye steak – carefully picked ingredients for its collective flavours, textures, scents and aesthetics. When the dishes arrive, you will nod to yourself and understand why you are here – to indulge in a perfectly cooked delicious Michelin-star meal.
How is the drinks selection?
Extensive. For red wines, there are 11 selection of Burgundy Pinot Noir, 10 Beaujolais, 19 Pinot Noir, 16 Bordeaux Blends, 2 Cabernet Franc, 8 Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Cabernet Sauvignon blends, 7 Merlot, 5 Tempranillo, 6 Barolo/Barberasco/Amarone, 11 Sangiovese, 11 Sirah/Shiraz, 10 Grenache, 6 Malbec and 19 other mixed blends. Don’t think we need to say more. At the top of the range is a bottle of Chateau Latour’s Gran Cru Classe 1996 from Pauillac in Bordeaux for £1,200 – an exceptional vintage year.
On top of that, there is also Estrella, Mad Goose and Helles Lager on tap – now that’s something you don’t get in many Michelin-star restaurant.
What is the place like?
An undemanding gastropub. There are no white table cloth, nor fancy designer chandeliers but just your average dark maroon cushion wooden chairs, solid wood tables with iron stands and long banquette seat with studded brown leather back. But it is no slouch, the double height ceiling, large decorative flowers and fancy crockery give it a perfect balance. You will not be out of place with an evening gown or black tie or with just t-shirt and jeans.
Who are the patrons?
With its proximity to Cotswold and Stratford-upon-Avon, it is a popular location for holidaymakers in the region as well as locals from Birmingham and Coventry. Full house with mostly couples of all ages dressed for special occasions as well as a few tables on intimate family gatherings
How is the service?
Sharp and warm. Seated, order taken, food presented and plates cleared like a Swiss clockwork. But yet, always done with a smile and a little friendly chat.
Is it child friendly?
Yes. Full fledge children menu with similar dishes as on adult menu. Highchairs, colouring books and pencils at your disposal.
Is it dog friendly?
No, dogs are not welcome inside the pub.
Absolutely. Don’t think you will find another Michelin-star restaurant with a 3-course dinner for £65 per person. It charges an optional 12.5% service charge.
See below for what my dining companions and I indulged in for this review. We had the 3-course al la carte menu for £65 per person:
2015 Carmignano Riserva from Villa di Trefiano
Villa di Trefiano belongs to the Contini-Bonacossi family, the most popular Carmignano DOCG wine producer behind Villa di Capezzana (capezzana.it). It is an intense dark red Sangiovese with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Canaiolo from the heart of Tuscany. Scent of cherry on the nose. A medium to full bodied wine with black cherry and chocolate flavours. £112
Cornish Crab Soup
Perfect start to the evening. A wholesome and rich starter. The soup was bursting with the natural flavours of the crab coaxed out by the delicate flavour of Saffron spice. Sinfully paired with an indulgent butter fried brioche dressed with sweet crab meat mayonnaise and more Saffron.
Soft Boiled Free Range Egg
A signature dish from Chef Adam Bennett. Burst the soft boiled egg and enjoy a big spoonful of the runny egg yolk together with dark marmite-like truffle sauce, white cep-infused sabayon and crunchy croutons. Magical play of flavours and textures.
Fillet of Wiltshire Pork
The faithful pairing of pork and apple. Perfectly cooked tender cuts of pork wrapped in smoky bacon accompanied by black pudding, sweet roasted parsnips served with apple puree and pork jus. Just a touch salty for our tastebuds, but a fantastic dish nonetheless.
Fillet of Halibut
The gentle sweetness of poached halibut paired with a strong sour and salty avruga caviar sauce topped with a sprinkle of salmon roes for good measure. Served with parsley tossed potatoes and crunchy baby gem. The sauce was a touch too strong for our liking.
The star of the night. Fluffy and as light as air. Gratifying banana and caramel sauce with hint of brittle peanuts. A masterpiece.
Bountiful and indulgent. The fresh and sourness from the caramelised pineapple slice finely balancing the sweet and richness of the rum-saturated sponge cake and coconut sorbet.