Barnsley House - Cotswolds

Tasty venison and a high quality selection of British charcuterie were the order of the day in the Potager restaurant at Barnsley House. Not far from the picturesque village of Bibury is a small village called Barnsley. Set back along a picturesque driveway in the centre of the village sits the Cotswold stone Barnsley House.

Our dining experience starts with a fire side seat for an aperitif whilst we ponder over the menu. There is an extensive wine list, cocktails as well as a few bottled beers to choose from. So we plump for a Pomegranate Crush cocktail and a Cotswold Dark Lager. This was my first taste of a lager from the Cotswold Brewing Company and I will definitely be going back for more.

The menu offers a nice selection of high quality, mainly local produce. A nice touch in the menu is the way key ingredients are highlighted, including the Cana Nero Kale grown in the garden and the eggs which all come from their own flock of hens. In fact the locality and provenance of food was well described throughout the menu and excited my tests buds well before a morceau of food had tickled them.

Our starter choices were Dorset dressed crab and a selection of British meats. The charcuterie, served on a wooden board came entwined with a selection of gherkins, capers, dried tomatoes and watercress. All the meats were excellent, but the star of the show had to be the Bresoala style air dried beef. All of the dried meat dish’s flavour combinations were rounded off well with the Cotswold Dark Lager; the toasted barley notes picked up the flavours of the dried meats exceptionally well.

Under the direction of the waiter I opted for a glass of Rioja to accompany the venison. Served medium rare over a mildly spiced carrot and swede puree, the dish worked very well, with the spiciness of the Rioja bringing out the full flavour of the venison and its mildly spiced jus.

I was also lucky enough to get a good chunk my wife’s pork belly and crackling. It was everything pork belly should be, slightly gelatinous with a reassuring crunch to the crackling.

Our meal was part of a winter spa break package. The package included a room, a treatment in the spa and use of the spa, a generous evening meal voucher (£40 per person) and breakfast in the morning.

Prior to dinner, my wife had a pampering massage whilst I enjoyed dusk in the outdoor relaxation pool with bubbles and jets, we can both highly recommend the spa for a bit of pre-dinner relaxation.

We’re already planning our next trip. They have a small onsite cinema. We’re thinking about going to one of their Sunday Cinema Clubs which also includes afternoon tea prior to the showing, or dinner afterwards.

Definitely a luxury treat but well worth it.

For more information on their rooms, restaurant, spa and cinema club go to Barnsley House’s website.

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