Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Front Page - MARK TAY­LOR Pyt­house Kitchen Gar­den, West Hatch, Tis­bury, Wiltshire SP3 6PA. Tel: 01747 870 444. www.pyt­house­k­itchen­gar­

IKNEW it was sup­posed to be tucked away but the web­site for Pyt­house Kitchen Gar­den made it sound rel­a­tively easy to find.

“We are lo­cated on a small coun­try lane be­tween the villages of Tis­bury and Sem­ley,” was the sim­ple in­struc­tion and a quick look on Google Maps seemed to con­firm, to my un­trained eye at least, that it was walk­a­ble from Tis­bury rail­way sta­tion.

And so I walked and walked, and then walked some more as beads of per­spi­ra­tion started to form on my brow in the warm Oc­to­ber sun.

I walked past houses with names like Hare Lodge and Rus­sets, the air heavy with the smell of ma­nure and net­tles as lo­cals in cars nod­ded po­litely when I jumped onto verges and into hedges to let them pass.

Non­cha­lant, grass-chew­ing cows ob­served me as pheas­ants screeched, pre­sum­ably with laugh­ter as they watched an­other hap­less ama­teur hiker nav­i­gate the nar­row coun­try lanes in search of lunch at the 18th-cen­tury walled gar­den.

Swat­ting horse­flies on my now moist neck, I could hear the dis­tant crackle of gun­fire and then a low-fly­ing RAF he­li­copter, pre­sum­ably on a train­ing ex­er­cise rather than a search party look­ing for an over­weight food critic pound­ing the lanes of South Wiltshire.

By the time I reached the im­pos­ing gates of the es­tate and walked the fi­nal few yards to the Kitchen Gar­den, my shirt was stuck to my back and I looked as if I had walked from Bris­tol, not just the rel­a­tively short dis­tance from Tis­bury.

Red-faced, sweaty and di­shev- elled, I was the an­tithe­sis of the calm, tran­quil and cool place I had reached but some­times you have to put a bit of ex­tra ef­fort into find­ing a de­cent lunch.

I was shown to my ta­ble in the light, con­ser­va­tory-style din­ing room look­ing across the ter­race, or­chards and abun­dant kitchen gar­den sup­ply­ing the ma­jor­ity of fruit and veg­eta­bles on the menu.

Wood-burn­ing stoves, rug-strewn flag­stone floors, dressers and mis­matched dis­tressed paint fur­ni­ture added to the vin­tage, boho vibe as welly-booted kids straight out of the pages of a Bo­den cat­a­logue ran around the gar­den, where there’s a play area and a glamp­ing village. It re­ally is one of the most per­fect and unique set­tings for any restau­rant I’ve been to and up there with The Ethi­curean near Bris­tol and Roth Bar & Grill in Bru­ton.

I started with the grilled pear, fig and goat’s cheese salad (£8.75). OK, the slices of pear could have been slightly riper but the figs were plump and juicy, the thick disc of goat’s cheese warm and pun­gent and the tan­gle of pep­pery wa­ter­cress coated with a sharp dress­ing and scat­tered with seeds for crunch.

It was fol­lowed by a bowl of slow-cooked Wiltshire lamb shoul­der (£14.50) – the soft, ten­der meat lib­er­ally doused in a dark, var­nish­like gravy that was soon soaked up by the creamy, sweet smashed au­tumn roots, wilted chard and a knob­bly car­rot with an ex­tra “nose” that made it rem­i­nis­cent of the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

To fin­ish, an ex­em­plary plum and ap­ple crum­ble with cus­tard (£6.50) was gen­er­ously filled with ripe fruit be­neath its but­tery, sug­ary rub­ble lid.

The menu changes most days de­pend­ing on what the gar­dener picks for the kitchen – dishes I didn’t or­der in­cluded cau­li­flower and Blue Vinny soup; but­ter­nut squash, goat’s curd and kale tart, and cele­riac and lentils with au­tumn veg­eta­bles and nas­tur­tium pesto – and prices are aimed at those din­ers who don’t flinch at pay­ing that lit­tle bit ex­tra for food pro­duced with the very best ingredients.

Cod and “fire pit” salmon fish­cakes with creamed leeks and burnt lemon will set you back £16.90 and an or­ganic “Red Poll” beef burger in a brioche bun topped with Dorset Blue Vinny cheese, wa­ter­cress, onion mar­malade and served with rose­mary chips costs £17.50.

It may have in­volved a bit of ex­tra work walk­ing to the Pyt­house Kitchen Gar­den but you are more likely to ar­rive by four wheels rather than two sore feet.

How­ever you get there, and you re­ally must, it is worth the ef­fort as the re­ward is food that’s per­fectly in step with the sea­sons served in an un­beat­able set­ting. It’s a real find and a very spe­cial place in­deed.



Pyt­house Kitchen Gar­den in Wiltshire is quite a find, says Mark Tay­lor

Grilled pear, fig and goat’s cheese salad

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