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Escape The City At The Pointer, Brill

June 2, 2018

Hotels & Spas | by Baldwin Ho

For those who are looking for a countryside staycation but concerned about the standard of accommodation and cuisine offered, then The Pointer in Brill is one place to consider having won a raft of awards from Sunday Times ‘Hotel of the Year’ and Michelin’s ‘Pub of the Year’. You might think Brill is in the middle of nowhere, but it is surprisingly close to world-famous Bicester Village and the food by The Pointer is worth the trip alone.

Co-owner Fiona Howden clearly saw a market for guests suffering from food coma and opened in recent years a guest house opposite their much-loved famous pub and restaurant. The four luxurious rooms have been lovingly designed by Fiona to create a clean, Scandi-style country chic.

We did feel very much like Fiona’s house guests rather than a nobody staying at a corporate behemoth. There were friendly, homely touches in the bedrooms like soft, sheepskin rugs and cute paintings of dogs to relate back to The Pointer theme. Privacy is an issue for the ground floor flats, as they look directly onto the pavement and even public guests in the pub can see through to your room. However, I suspect visitors might be spending more time in the hospitable pub and restaurant area and the charming village than actually lying in bed waiting for the next reality show to appear.

The bathroom is impressively spacious and has a charming modern-design; there are double vanities and a rain shower that can easily fit 2 people. A bathtub with slick contours looked inviting enough but I suspect might be too small for most guests. They provide Bramley toiletries which use plants made from the British countryside in keeping with the ethos of The Pointer.

They do have a cheeky sense of humour here as your breakfast is served with complimentary panadol for those who need to recover from a heavy night’s drinking in their pub from the night before. All the classic British breakfast options are on offer, but it is their a la carte restaurant service during lunch and dinner, where their kitchen really excelled and fully deserving of all the plaudits that have come their way.

Prices are higher particularly for the main courses which are between £20-£30 but this is the kind of freshness you just can’t find in central London. You will see a lot of mentions of “Pointer Farm” on the menu, as the owners have a 250-acre farm just a mile down the road where they source most of the ingredients from Violette artichokes through to rare breed beef. They use around 70 organic ingredients from their farm, some of which are lovingly listed on their menu.

This was very much in evidence with the beetroot and pear salad, the earthiness of the beetroot pairing remarkably well with the subtle citrusy, fragrant notes of the pears. Scallop was one of the few items not sourced locally as Brill is one of the most landlocked places in the country; however, it was one of the best dishes on the menu. Pillowy and soft, it had extra richness from the accompanying pulled brisket and pepper dulse, whilst the apple fluid gel and gem lettuce offered added freshness.

The vegetarian main course was a mushroom lover’s paradise with a risotto comprising of king oysters, chanterelles, and Paris browns. The indulgent tasting slow roast pointer farm middle white pork belly is a dish you will not be sharing with any guest unless they wanted to run the risk of being impaled by your fork. The fat helps to make this rare breed pork ultra tender and enhances the taste of the dish along with the scrumpy sauce and healthy doses of parsnip, haricot beans, and apple.

If you are looking for the ultimate field-to-fork experience, there is no substitute but to head out to a place like The Pointer for the weekend and enjoy the ultimate culinary feast.

For more information on The Pointer see here.

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