NETHER WESTCOTE, OX7 6SD
In the picturesque village of Nether Westcote on the border of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, The Feathered Nest has marvellous views over the Evenlode Valley. Originally an old malthouse, the pub has been updated and thoughtfully furnished whilst retaining the original character, especially in the cosy log-fired bar, where local and award-winning real ales are on offer. Herbs and vegetables are grown in the kitchen garden, with local produce forming the backbone of the menus. As well as bar snacks, the modern British cuisine brings a daily set lunch menu for relaxed eating in the bar, and on the garden terrace (shaded by a sycamore tree) when the weather allows. Dishes could include piccalilli and quail egg terrine with parsley mayonnaise. The seasonal à la carte offers a modern take on classic combinations, such as mutton with root vegetables, potato gnocchi, smoked bacon and curly kale; or stone bass with langoustine, leeks, cauliflower, Avruga caviar and shellfish foam. For simpler tastes there's a selection from the charcoal grill; maybe 28-day aged rib-eye steak with skinny chips, béarnaise or peppercorn sauce and mixed leaf salad. Be sure to leave room for desserts such as passionfruit parfait with caramel sauce and pine nuts. Afternoon tea and Sunday lunch are also served. Individually decorated bedrooms furnished with antiques and comfortable beds are available; the pub makes an excellent base from which to explore the countryside and the quaint and charming villages nearby. Look out for enjoyable events running throughout the year, including a pie and pint tasting evening, live jazz, and a quiz night.