Dinner at: Tewin Bury Farm
A posh 'log cabin' delivers food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne a rural feast
A posh ‘log cabin’ delivers food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne a rural feast
About the restaurant
There’s something surreal about an upmarket restaurant in the middle of a farmyard. But then Tewin Bury is hardly your everyday farm. Developed over the years to incorporate a hotel, wedding and conference venue, it has built a strong reputation supported by the restaurant’s two AA rosettes.
Atmosphere and decor
The rustic charm boasted of by the website is all over the place but where elsewhere it could lapse into clich�, here it works. The beamed room is cosy, warm, comfortable and well furnished, a (very) superior kind of log cabin with all mod cons and a large outdoor terrace for the warmer weather.
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Four people patrolled the small-ish space and we had the benefit and expertise at different times of three of them. We were ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ (rather than the ‘you guys’ of recent experience), and while I’m not too bothered one way or the other, politeness makes a difference. We were greeted by smiles, food options discussed properly and our wellbeing checked regularly but not overdone.
Head chef Ivor Morgan and team offer ‘traditional British food with a Mediterranean twist’. Deft touches abound – tarragon stack and truffle oil with soup, celery carpaccio with ham hock terrine, chicory marmalade with cider-cured salmon. Supreme of turbot comes with samphire, while Shimeji mushroom jus graces a guinea fowl. In line with Tewin Bury’s environmental policy, the restaurant uses fresh, seasonal, locally-sourced produce where possible. Vegetables and herbs are grown on-site. Trout is farmed and caught in the grounds. All beverages are Fair Trade accredited.
An amuse-bouche of chicken terrine with fig chutney saw the meal off to a good start. Crispy black pudding (�6.95) was a ball of savoury delight surrounding a soft-boiled quail’s egg and accompanied by celeriac remoulade, parsley puree and tomato jam. Tempura king prawns with sweet chilli sauce (�3.50) from the ‘Tewin Bury Favourites’ section of the menu were equally tempting, served piping hot and demolished with equal enthusiasm.
A chilly evening led us to the meat section, with an 8oz Hertfordshire matured rib-eye steak (�18) catching the eye across the table. For the chef, it’s a nowhere-to-hide dish – it’s either good or it isn’t. This was and came with the full Monty – triple-cooked chips, mushroom ketchup, confit tomato and even king-size onion rings, obviously fresh. I chose Welsh rack of lamb, pricey at �22.95 but worth it, served with braised lamb shoulder, boulangere potato, roasted root vegetables, parsley root puree and thyme jus. A toothsome Argentinian 2011 Malbec-Bonarda from the well-crafted wine list was an ideal accompaniment..
If you have room, which we didn’t, Bramley apple, rhubarb and porridge oats crumble (�5.50) is the star. Other choices include warm carrot cake, passion fruit parfait or glazed lemon tart with limoncello and cr�me fraiche sorbet.
Though on the expensive side, this was excellent food, well prepared and presented, gracefully served and among the best I have had in Hertfordshire. My companion described the evening as faultless and I always agree with her. Lunch apparently is another treat, with regular special offers to watch for.
The cost of this dinner for two was �79.90 including a bottle of wine, plus tip. House wines are from �17. This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and drink editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
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Tewin Bury Farm Hotel
B1000 Hertford Road
Welwyn AL6 0JB