The Barrington Boar, nr Ilminster
A village pub with rooms which genuinely embraces local produce to create incredible seasonal food
This lovely village pub with rooms has had something of a makeover by young husband and wife team, Alasdair and Victoria. Chef Alasdair was brought up on Exmoor and trained at Michelin starred Chez Bruce in Wandsworth Common and Victoria has a background in theatre design and learned her front of house skills at The French Table in Surbiton. Annie from Team Muddy headed over for that ultimate challenge: a good Sunday pub lunch. It did not disappoint.
The tiny village of Barrington, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, about 10 miles south east of Taunton and 10 miles west of Yeovil, in South Somerset.
A large, light and airy bar with a contemporary feel which would be equally welcoming in winter with a roaring fire as it was on the lovely sunny day we visited.
Host to a number of locals enjoying a quiet pint – always a good sign – it was instantly relaxed, super friendly and you feel like you are in capable hands.
Say hello to the Barrington Boar.
Outside, a tranquil patio garden for al fresco dining had a private area for staying guests as well as some tables at the front of the pub opposite the pretty octagonal church.
SCOFF & QUAFF
We ordered a pint of hoppy Quantocks Pale Ale and a glass of French Rose (Crenache/Cinsault from Languedoc/Rouissillon, Domaine de Cabrials 2017) and perused the menu: a mix of Modern British comfort food with European touches.
The House sourdough (a recent winner at the Barrington flower show) with Longman’s salted butter was the sort of sensational bread you want to eat all the time. Frankly, I would have been happy with just that.
For starters: Megavissey Bay mackerel with pickled gooseberries, kohlrabi and sorrel was an insanely good combination of sweet and sour flavours served with a creamy potato salad.
The Arista Toscana, thinly sliced loin of tender loin of Tremlett Farm pork cured in rosemary and fennel and served with green beans and crackling, was a simple, inventive starter with an Italian twist.
Onto the main event: the roast. The sirloin of Somerset beef with dripping roasties, Yorkshire pudding, root veg crush, Lopen Farm beans, carrots and cauliflower cheese was everything you could want for: a huge plate of tender meat, delicious crispy potatoes, well-cooked seasonal vegetables all served with a gravy made from roasting juices and red wine (no generic Bisto gloop here). Accompanied by a glass of full-bodied red wine, the Primitivo /Puglia, Terre Di Montelusa Italy 2017.
The delicious vegetarian main was beef steak tomatoes filled with Westcombe’s ricotta (didn’t know they did that) with globe artichokes, basil pesto and fresh truffle.
The roast Cornish hake with grilled prawns, crab sauce, hand rolled farfalle, courgette and basil was a perfectly cooked fish in a tasty and rich bisque sauce.
For desserts, a gooseberry fool with poached summer berries was an absolute winner …
…as was the bitter chocolate torte with raspberries and crème fraiche.
There’s also a good selection of West Country cheeses, like mature Cornish Gouda, Cerney Ash Cheese from Gloucestershire and Montgomery cheddar.
No surprise to discover the pub was a finalist in the Taste of the West 2018/19 awards: the food is excellent.
We weren’t staying over this time *sad face* but there are four en suite bed and breakfast rooms, each with king size bed, shower, flat screen TV and WiFi. If the lunch is anything to go by, the breakfasts will be worth getting up for.
OUT & ABOUT
Right on the doorstep: the National Trust’s Barrington Court, an empty Tudor manor house with stunning walled gardens, outdoor theatre and other events throughout the year. Abram Lyle of Tate & Lyle leased the house in the 1920s and the TV series of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall was filmed here. Assorted artisan workshops too, where I bought a wine cooler from local potter Paul Jessop (Barrington Pottery) who supplies them to the pub with the Barrington Boar emblem. Not far away, you can spot birds and bats amongst the ancient oaks of the RSPB Swell Wood nature reserve.
This place genuinely embraces local produce to create incredible seasonal food. A fantastic place to have lunch or go for dinner to treat yourself.
Good for: relaxed high-quality dining for couples, foodies, groups of friends and families wanting an excuse to get together for a really good meal. The pub is clearly enjoyed by locals and the community.
Not for: young trendies or people who want pub grub.
The damage: not bad: Starters:£6.50–£8.50; mains: £14.50-19; puds: £6-£8. They’ve just started a Thursday night seasonal tasting menu. The last one was a sell-out and the next one is in October. Want to stay overnight? £95 per night or £85 for single occupancy.
Pub opening hours: Mon and Tues 6pm – 9pm; Weds to Sat 12pm–10pm (11pm Fri/Sat); Sun 12pm – 9pm. The kitchen is open Weds to Sat 12.30pm – 2pm and 6.30pm – 9pm. Sundays 12.30pm–3pm. Best to book.
The Barrington Boar, Main Street, Barrington, nr Ilminster, TA19 0JB. Tel 01460 259 281. thebarringtonboar.co.uk