The experience was steeped in romance - it was a surprise visit, coupled with the new Ethicurean cookbook which was presented to me by my other half only once we were sat down in the beautifully rustic restaurant. With all of this in mind, you could say I'm typing on a rose tinted keyboard. But honestly, I don't think so. And fantastic reviews by The Guardian and Foodie Bugle back me up!
'Ethicurean' adj. 'the pursuit of fine-tasting food whilst being mindful of the effect of one's food production and consumption on the environment'
The name of the restaurant sums up their whole ethos perfectly. Housed within the picturesque victorian Barley Wood walled garden with a vista of rolling hills, this place is run by a small team of family / friends. The menus are small, incredibly seasonal and change daily, showcasing the produce grown around them. Tucked away in a crumbly old greenhouse, adjacent to artists studios, this place feels magical, secret and special.
To start I went for the chilled beetroot soup & horseradish creme fraiche. Dave had the rabbit rillettes, anise yoghurt, apple & cucumber pickle. The first thing which struck me was the stunning presentation - easily as good as some Michelin starred plates I've seen in the past. My soup was stunning, the earthy flavour of the beetroot was incredible. The rabbit was soft and perfectly seasoned. We polished both dishes off in what felt like seconds!!
For our mains we had confit duck leg, burnt onion, potato cake & pickled mushrooms. Again, this was a stunning dish to look at. The duck melted away from the bone and the burnt onion puree was so good, I was surreptitiously running my finger along the plate to get every last bit!
I just had to share the below pics - silence descended as we devoured the milk stout pudding. Our faces say it all. Heaven. The recipe is in the cookbook so I'll definitely be trying to recreate it at home soon! Watch this space.
The Ethicurean at Barley Wood Walled Garden,
**We paid for our meal and The Ethicurean did not know that I am a blogger, or that I have written this review. They probably thought it a little odd when we sat there photographing everything to within an inch of its life but hey ho! High praise indeed. Thanks also to my personal photographer for such stunning pictures. Check out David Parry Imaging to see some more! **