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Review: The Pear Tree
Mel Hutchfield ventured to The Pear Tree in Purton for a celebratory Birthday lunch. Find out about her experiences there in the latest instalment of her monthly food blog.
It’s sometimes difficult to find somewhere that feels special for a birthday when you eat out a lot. But when it was my birthday recently, it wasn’t difficult to decide where to go for a celebratory family lunch.
My husband and I first ate at the Pear Tree not long after we got married 2 years ago, when we were given a voucher as a wedding present. It wasn’t somewhere we’d thought about going, as we’re not really fans of eating in hotels – it’s either disappointing food or full of tourists. So we were very pleasantly surprised to have both fabulous food and surroundings.
On the road between Purton and Lydiard, The Pear Tree is a beautiful Cotswold stone country house set in 7 acres, with a light and airy conservatory restaurant looking out onto lawns. The downside was that we were a bit blinded by the sun on the day we were there - though I probably shouldn’t complain about seeing the sun in September.
There’s a fantastic value set price menu at £35.50 for a 3-course dinner, or £23 for a 3-course lunch, with modern British and European dishes such as brioche bruschetta with feta, olive, roast pepper and pesto or griddled Scottish beef fillet with truffle scented creamed potato, roast shallot and red wine sauce. We were there for Sunday lunch where options include two gorgeous roasts.
To start, most of us opted for the watercress and pea soup, with minted pesto croutons and crispy bacon lardons. It was rich and silky with a hint of watercress pepperiness coming through to balance out the creaminess. My brother’s girlfriend was also extremely happy with a beautifully presented tian of lightly smoked mackerel with celeriac remoulade and beetroot puree.
It’s hard to resist a roast and if you’re at the Pear Tree I’d say don’t fight it. There was a choice of beef or pork, and everyone was impressed with the flavour [and quantity] of both meats. I was particularly jealous of the shallot and gain mustard sauce which came with the pork - in the name of variety I went for the hake with chorizo breadcrumbs and saffron chive sauce. The light flaky fish took on the Spanish flavours wonderfully well, especially the little nuggets of crispy chorizo.
Without doubt though, everyone’s favourite part of the meal were the desserts and there was a definite period of silence while we gave them our full attention. My passion fruit and mascarpone cream with a star anise blackcurrant compote was out of this world. I would happily go back and have 3 courses of the sweet cream topped with tangy spicy fruit. The traditional pudding of the day was chocolate sponge with chocolate custard – a reminder of a favourite school dinner but even better. As the birthday girl, the rest of the guests let me have a taste of that, along with a fresh raspberry shortbread, chantilly cream, coulis and dark chocolate sorbet, and a strawberry and peach pavlova. Now that is a very happy birthday.
We then moved into the lounge [or is that rolled] for leisurely tea, coffee and handmade fudge. The Pear Tree is truly an all-round lovely experience: incredibly warm service, beautiful food, and beautiful surroundings.