Restaurant adjoining a farm complex serving home grown and local produce in a charming Annex. Simple food and with some high moments.
Set in a farm complex, you will need to keep your eyes peeled for the correct turning off the High Street which essenially appears to be a driveway for a house….which it was back in the 17th Century! Still within the family hands, this was a very pleasant change from the norm and Michelin starred food was served with dutiful hospitality in a very homely setting, for the simple reason that it used to be one. The restaurant is split on the top floors of what appear to be converted attics but with high ceilings and the set menu at £28 per person represented very good value for money with some wonderful home made bread and a couple of very good meal moments as well. Although not the strongest set lunch had, it was a very fair equation all round and a nice marker in the sand if you are near.
Nibbles in the downstairs lounge made me think that we were going to be in danger of needing to move if anyone else showed up as it is a very small area but I’m fairly sure this restaurant staggers its diners and it added to the charm of the venue. Simple olives were juicy enough and once upstairs and in the hands of their fabulous bread, all was well in the world again. The onion and tyhme bread was as fluffy as you could hope for and a beautifully judged onion essence within made this a lovely bread to have. Its supporting malt barley and stout bread was a perfectly acceptable neighbour to accompany.
The set menu lunch was opted for and showed extremely good value for money on the surface. Better still was the actual result in some cases – the ravioli of salt cod with a curry sauce was an immediate hit and the goats cheese mousse was equally well done. Both of these starters would trump many a la carte starters in the past and were very nicely done. Less successful unfortunately was the main which, although was presented well, the piglet was quite flat in flavour with only the supporting jus and sweetcorn giving the interest that it needed. Good to have and try but I simply didn’t get as much pleasure from this.
Dessert on the other hand restored the balance a little bit more with the honeycomb mousse being just what the doctor ordered, displayed in a fun way and the lime curd dessert proving to be simple quality and a reason to be happy with the day. The lunch itself was £28 per person for the set menu and I would say this was perfectly reasonable. Where some Michelin starred venues go to even more stretch by providing canapés or snacks or an amuse bouche or pre-dessert even within set menus of the same, general price, these prove to be even more wonderful value (see Alimentum, L’Ortolan, L’Autre Pied and Texture as examples).
Where John’s House is unique is its use of the entire farm complex to utilise as a cafe, grocery of freshly picked vegetables and any number of home made pickles, jams and chutneys which all looked frankly wonderful or even the (petrol head) mueum across the courtyard. So to my surprise it was much more than a quirky restaurant the more it is explored and well worth a drop in if you have the kids in tow and are passing. The restaurant itself is small, so drop ins to there will not be as easy.
Food Grade: 75%
Location (Click google logo for directions)