Exclusively British - - ROYAL WEDDING -

In the south-west cor­ner of the Vale, on the crest of a low hill, sits one of the charm­ing vil­lages for which the area is renowned. Brill boasts 1100+ res­i­dents, a par­ish church dat­ing back 900 years, two shops, two pubs and a re­stored wind­mill. Al­though it was a Roy­al­ist stronghold dur­ing the 17th cen­tury English Civil War, it is an un­likely site for a 21st cen­tury gas­tro­nomic rev­o­lu­tion but here you can find The Pointer, the 2018 Miche­lin Eat­ing-out Pub of the Year. Since buy­ing the pub in 2011, David and Fiona How­den’s en­thu­si­as­tic de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment in both staff and the fab­ric of the build­ing has brought com­mer­cial and award-win­ning suc­cess, cul­mi­nat­ing in their most re­cent ac­co­lade. Not con­tent with trans­form­ing the for­tunes of the pub, they opened a nos­tal­gi­cally-tiny old-fash­ioned butcher’s shop near the church (nowhere is far away!) and, from this year, can of­fer first-rate ac­com­mo­da­tion, en­cour­ag­ing pub/restau­rant go­ers to re­lax and en­joy, with­out the worry of the jour­ney home. There are just four en-suite rooms in a con­verted 18th cen­tury cot­tage, op­po­site the pub, but each is beau­ti­fully ap­pointed and mar­vel­lously com­fort­able, with Hypnos beds and White Com­pany linen. Don’t be de­ceived, when en­ter­ing the flag-floored, low-ceilinged bar, thronged with lo­cal cus­tomers, that The Pointer is just an­other coun­try-pub. I can con­firm that the beer, lo­cally-brewed, is good, and very wel­come af­ter a day’s drive, but it is the lure of the restau­rant, sep­a­rately-sited away from the bar and ac­cessed via the open-fired lounge, which draws in the pa­trons. Warm, home-baked bread is brought to the ta­ble, in a linen bag, with a choice of but­ters. The lo­cally-churned or­ganic ver­sion is saltily de­li­cious but, if you get the chance, lose your­self in the deca­dent flavour of their beef-drip­ping but­ter, dream­ily rem­i­nis­cent of roast beef and Sun­day lunches. A suc­ces­sion of top-qual­ity dishes fol­lows and each reaches the qual­ity-bar set high by that hum­ble but­ter. With most of the raw ma­te­ri­als used by Head Chef, James Graham, and his team em­a­nat­ing from the How­dens’ own or­ganic farm, fresh­ness and flavour are to be ex­pected but my 50-day aged, Longhorn rib-eye steak was sen­sa­tional. the­p­oint­er­bill.co.uk

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