Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pub Review: The Barleycorn Inn

Well worth the detour if you want delicious food, great service, and a pleasant atmosphere! On Eli's Pint Points system, this pub gets Six Pints.

From the street, this pub is a flat, white facade of a building with a long parking lot to its side. It is so close to the curb, you almost wonder how anyone can exit from the front safely. Had I gone by appearances only, I might have chosen any number of other pubs in the small town of Bishop's Waltham rather than this one.

But boy would I have missed out.

The Barleycorn Inn is anything but plain. The service was dynamic and efficient, and the staff very friendly and welcoming. There's a very large rear garden with different seating options such as bistro tables on the covered patio, round tables with parasols on an elevated patio, then a few steps up from there and you can eat at picnic tables in the grass. At the back of the garden, there's even a large play area for the kids. Dogs are welcome on leads.

Inside, the atmosphere is typical British pub, with wooden benches covered in cushions, mismatched chairs and worn wooden surfaces smoothed by decades' worth of happy patrons.

We went on a Sunday afternoon, around 1:30pm, and due to the lovely weather, we chose to eat outside on one of the grassy area's picnic tables. Since it was Sunday, the menu was a variety of roasts and a few other options. My husband ordered the roast gammon, my youngest ordered the roast chicken, and I ordered the nut roast with vegetarian gravy. Our eldest chose the chicken and leak pie since he's not a big fan of roasts.

The food arrived in a timely manner, on all different plates (something I love about pubs a lot of the times). It was absolutely delicious. Everything was delicious. The potatoes were crisp on the outside yet soft on the inside and had this mustard-seed coating (not a sauce, and not on all the potatoes) that gave so much flavour! The edges of the nut roast were a bit dry, but I like that texture, and with the gravy poured over it, it was just right. Each roast plate came with a square of stuffing and a Yorkshire pudding. Even our eldest—the typical pizza-hamburger-teenager—repeated several times how good the pie was. For me, the nicest surprise was the vegetables arriving in one big terrine set in the centre of the table.

Dogs are welcome inside at the public bar area, as well as out in the garden. "Doggy bags" supplied. While we were inside ordering, I also noticed a small shelf with half a dozen rolled blankets, something some pubs offer guests who chose to sit outside in colder weather.

This pub is definitely worth Six Pints.

We made an afternoon of it by visiting The Bishop's Waltham Palace, a free site within the English Heritage network, with parking, literally a five-minute walk.

Check the map for directions.