BARNSLEY, Cirencester, GL7 5EF
Not to be mistaken for its younger Yorkshire namesake, Barnsley is one the prettiest chocolate box villages in the Cotswolds and its only pub is as smart and well-mannered as the locals. The interior is warmly furnished and decorated, as befits the flagstones, oak floorboards, exposed timbers and open fireplaces. Also contributing to its appeal is a contemporary approach to English pub food, holder of an AA Rosette, with regularly-changing, largely locally-sourced menus. Vegetables, for example, come from 17th-century Barnsley House across the road. Starters include wild rabbit and ham hock terrine, pickled mushrooms and windfall chutney; or smoked mackerel pâté, toast, soft-boiled egg and watercress. Main course choices might include local pheasant, celeriac gratin, wild mushrooms and curly kale; Cornish sea bream with chorizo, red pepper and chickpeas; and rosemary and garlic marinated Black Angus sirloin steak with hand cut chips and béarnaise sauce. Desserts deliver plenty of comfort value in the shape of banoffee bread and butter pudding with stracciatella ice cream; or chocolate nemesis with salted pecan and coffee ice cream, perhaps accompanied by one of several sweet and fortified wines. A carefully curated board of British cheeses might include Cotswold-made Simon Weaver Brie or award-winning Perl Las blue cheese from Wales. Bar snacks of quail and black pudding Scotch eggs or onion bhaji and pickle go well with a pint of North Cotswold Shagweaver or Happy Daze cider, or perhaps one of the dozen wines served by the glass from a concise but interesting list.