Friday 21 February 2020

Food Review: The Barnt Green Inn

AD / Gifted meal

Anyone familiar with Barnt Green will have heard of the Barnt Green Inn. With a reputation as one of the finest watering holes in the area, there's now a new and improved food offering to match.

Rebranded as "the all new Barnt Green Inn - Country Pub and Dining", there has been significant investment in the interior including a new seating section at the bar, a private dining area and an upgraded garden.

It's true, I have been to the Barnt Green Inn before, but sadly only for a drink in the garden on a gorgeous summer's day.

Luckily, I was able to finally enjoy a meal when I visited on a Wednesday evening alongside a select few bloggers and press.

Pulling up a pew at the Hendricks Gin Bar, we were able to pick a gin base (standard or Blood Orange Hendricks) and pimp it up with a selection of fruit and flavourings to make a bespoke G&T. I for one am a big gin fan and couldn't resist trying both a berry infusion and a blood orange and citrus blend of my own creation.

We headed to the back of the restaurant to our table and were greeted by one of the friendliest waitresses I've met. She was knowledgeable about the gluten free menu and guided us on our choices based both on allergen information and also on preference when we dithered.

As we looked a the menu, we were asked whether we'd like some oysters to start. Well, who can say no to oysters? I for one adore them but my dining companion is averse to the slimy sea creatures. No mind, all the more for me.

The oysters were salty and came with Tabasco. I prefer mine as they come or with a shallot mignonette so I swallowed these down whole and plain.

To start, my dining partner had the tempura squid whilst I had the massaman chicken skewers. Portion wise, the squid was exceptionally generous and was crisp on the outside but soft and easy to eat on the inside. My chicken skewers, although unusual to find on a menu, were delicious. The portion size in comparison was not as large but the three skewers were filling and the flavours were light and perfect for spring.

For mains we shared the eight bone free range lamb rack which comes served with crispy thyme baby potatoes, french style peas, sauteed cavolo nero and minted jus. Public service announcement - if you ever come here and eat meat/like lamb, this is the dish for you. The excitement started when the stands came to the table first ready to receive the serving plate, and continued when the huge plate was laid down in front of us. A veritable feast it was, filled with a huge portion of crispy potatoes, followed by rich buttered greens and the lamb itself, alongside two mini saucepans full of the minted jus. This dish has everything you could possibly want, from crispy herby potatoes to chunky green veg and soft lamb served a little pink to meet our preferences in the middle. The best part? The sauce the lamb sits on is a creamy, salty, oniony stew of flavours that went with everything from the veg to the lamb. I do love a meal that comes loaded with sauce and this certainly ticked that box.

For dessert we had an apple, plum and damson crumble and a sticky toffee pudding, both desserts that memories are made of and both gluten free! My sticky toffee pudding was a real childhood favourite, I remember eating these in primary school and I can't remember having one too many times since then. Gooey, warm and served with a caramelised banana and honeycomb ice cream, the presentation was spot on. The crumble was also good but I have a thing for a really overcooked crumble, where the sides are burnt on and the top is slightly crisp. Personal preference but I would still order this again.

From start to finish we had a wonderful night at The Barnt Green Inn. Right from the warm welcome to the great service at the table to saying goodbye, we were treated like welcome guests. The food is well worth coming in for and I'm so pleased that there's more on offer than cool drinks but a really hearty food offering for lunches and dinners too.

I can't wait to come back again and would highly recommend a visit for anyone who's in the area or wants to take a trip out to the countryside for some stylish British gastropub food.