This review is one of the easiest I’ve had the pleasure of writing in quite a while. One of the latest additions to Raymond Blanc OBE’s pub chain, The Barley Mow boasts French finesse and a flawless culinary experience from start to finish.
Sitting down in the well-lit, spacious dining area, we faced the open kitchen enjoying the best view in the house. A confident, friendly waitress introduced herself and suggested an appetiser of full flavoured, large green and red Rustica Olives whilst we perused the extensive a la carte selection and swiftly brought a bottle of lightly sparkling mineral water and and a full-bodied, silky smooth New Zealand Pinot Noir (Vidal, Hawkes Bay) to the table.
The menu itself is a mouth-watering delight to read, featuring starters such as authentic Burgundian Snails; enormous fresh Shetland Isles Mussels; and Rainbow Smoked Beetroot and Goat’s Curd Salad. Not normally a huge fan of vegetarian starters, the latter supremely intrigued my guest, Dave – and rightfully so, the textures of beetroot varied in levels of smokiness, with raw slices offering the true taste and two textures alongside gaining intensity, complemented superbly by creamy goat’s curd. It was one of the prettiest dishes I’ve seen in quite a while.
Whilst Dave enjoyed his smoked delight, I had opted for one of the specials: Large, succulent Queen Scallops served on the shell with Crushed Potato, Breadcrumbs and a Tomato & Basil Butter.
Enjoying a short break between courses, we left the table to explore the newly refurbished venue, featuring a large bar area (where one can enjoy the full restaurant menu and the bar menu); a beautifully landscaped garden area out the back; and looks out over Englefield Green’s large Village Green – perfect for watching the cricket with a few pints in the summer months.
The Barley Mow also offers a lovely selection of main courses, highlights including: Pan-Seared Trout Fillet; Wild Mushroom Ravioli; and Duck Leg Confit with Black Cherry Sauce, Dauphinoise Potato, Pot-Roasted Carrots, Celery, Parsnip and French Beans.
Whilst Dave enjoyed the Duck dish – featuring a crisp, pork-crackling-style skin, intense flavours and caramelised yet crunch vegetable accompaniment, I drifted back to the specials board to try the Wild Boar, a meat that I hadn’t previously sampled. Beautifully cooked and presented with Dauphinoise Potato, Roasted Apple with Cranberry Centre, Apple Purée and Braised Chicory. Both dishes were extremely well constructed and, watching the Head Chef, Dimitris Vrontisis on the pass, it was clear that attention to details is extremely high on the Barley Mow’s list of priorities.
An exquisite evening drawing to a close, and Pinot Noir running on empty, the dessert card was brought to the table, with an impressive selection of whiskies and rums on the reverse. A sweet, almost caramel Pyrat XO Rum complemented the fluffy nuttiness of my Pistachio Soufflé, whilst a complex Macallan 25 Year Old Single Malt danced with the acidic flavours of the Winter Berry Compote as the nutty crumble crunched audibly in the mouth.
The new Barley Mow, and the introduction of a Brasserie Blanc into Englefield Green will surely tempt foodies into the area for years to come. The pub and restaurant offers one of the most relaxed yet intriguingly complex culinary experiences in Surrey, and we cannot wait to visit time and time again.
The Barley Mow
Barley Mow Rd, Englefield Green, Egham TW20 0NX
01784 480 210