Monday, 1 April 2013

Review - The Pointer, Brill

Location: 27 Church Street, Brill, Buckinghamshire HP18, UK
Food & Restaurant Reviews. FoodieOnTour

I first stumbled across The Pointer through Twitter. I don't know anyone who's ever been there and I've never read a review, for some reason though, I had a good feeling about it. The menu example on their website looked great and I was intrigued to find out they had a butcher shop on site too. I seemed to have built them up somewhat in my head before I made my first booking.

Looking for an out-of-town spot for some pub lunch with the visiting in-laws, The Pointer sprung to mind. Eager with anticipation and intentionally early, we parked up in the pretty village setting, right in front of the pub.

First impressions positive, we made our way round the side to the butcher shop. Small but perfectly presented, the shop displayed a small selection of meats, along with fresh bread, pork scratchings and bottles of their locally brewed 'Pointer Pint'. Their brew isn't the only local link, The Pointer do need to be praised for their belief in using as much local produce as possible:
When we say ‘local’ we mean it. We breed our own English Longhorn cattle, Kune Kune and Tamworth pigs and most of our meat – the very best free-range British beef, pork, lamb and chicken – comes from our own farm or from the surrounding area – so expect to find some surprises on the menu from time to time.
That is not to say we won’t sometimes source meat and produce from further afield. We couldn’t be further from the sea in Bucks, so obviously our fish, wild and sustainably caught, has to travel. Roger just makes sure our man gets up early so it’s on your plate the same day.
Half a dozen sausages and rashers of bacon purchased, we were ready for lunch...

Once inside, we were welcomed by a décor I can only describe as straight out of Homes & Gardens - warm neutral colours and natural materials, plus a homely lit fire - all finished to a very high standard (I might ask them to decorate my house for me!). Drinks ordered we were shown to our table, past the open-plan kitchen, to a separate dining area. 

Four months pregnant, I had to pass on the steak option on the menu (I can never bring myself to order or enjoy well done steak) and opted instead for Fish & Chips. MrFoodie also chose the Fish & Chips, Mother in-law went for Haddock Risotto and Father in-law for Gammon Steak. Being quite the carnivore, I was a little disappointed to see there were no further meat options. There were two other fish dishes available but I rarely choose fish unless I'm planning on more than one course.  

Food & Restaurant Reviews. FoodieOnTour

Food delivered, just in time to stop this pregnant lady getting 'antsy', we were ready to tuck in. All the dishes were presented in a very attractive 'restaurant style', the Haddock Risotto and Gammon Steak both receiving thumbs up from the in-laws (phew). So, onto the Fish & Chips... my first impression was that the fish looked small, but on cracking it open I was hugely impressed to see a generous thick chunk of steak, rather than a gigantic flat fillet more familiar to the dish. The batter was a little denser than I had expected, in a very good way, and was beautifully crisp and well flavoured. Mushy peas and tartar sauce were, I assume, both fresh and home-made - to a high standard. Chips were served separately, pleasing to the eye and also to the taste buds. Overall, a very good dish, I couldn't get away from a feeling though that it was lacking a bit of 'tang' that the sauce and lemon did not provide alone - MrF disagreed, so each to their own.

Lunch consumed, we left a mostly satisfied bunch. There weren't any complaints, but there weren't any gushes of praise either - I felt a bit like I hadn't got to know the place fully. Yes, the food was very good quality, yes the décor is gorgeous, yes the staff were polite, yes I'd like to revisit - so why was something niggling me? I still don't know, but I do wonder if it was because I felt like I was in the home of someone I needed to be on 'best behaviour' around. Maybe the finish on the restaurant is a little too perfect. I'm not completely sure, but I feel I made an acquaintance in The Pointer rather than a comfortable friend. I would like to go back though - just to see if the 'acquaintance' could become a 'friend'... I'd also love to sample some more meat dishes.

Overall Score: 7.5/10

As a footnote, the bacon and sausages from the butcher were spot on. The bacon thick and tasty with no shrinkage, the sausages plump and flavoursome with, not just no shrinkage, but I could swear they actually grew!

The Pointer
27 Church Street
HP18 9RT
Twitter: @thepointerbrill
Phone: 01844 238339

The Pointer on Urbanspoon

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