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the feathered nest country inn, nether westcote, oxfordshire.

Found in the heart of the Cotswolds, just a stone's throw from the likes of Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold, The Feathered Nest Inn boasts an exciting and modern European menu featuring local produce, as well as heavenly views of the rolling countryside. It's accolades are impressive too: Times Top 100 Restaurant, ​Gastropub of the year, and AA 3 Red Rosettes to name a few.

Inside you're met with a warm welcome, in more ways than one, with a polite but professional maitre'd, who shows you to a relaxed fireside seating area where you can flick through the menu to the homely sound of crackling logs. As we thumbed through the inviting dishes and discussed suggested wine pairings, we were asked about our dietary requirements and presented with gruyère filled choux pastries.

As we waited for our first course, a selection of interesting breads and our amuse-bouche appeared, in the form of a butternut squash soup with a slight kick and nudgings of floral coriander oil. The breads themselves came with dripping and Marmite butter - both incredible moreish. But we were saving ourself for the main event - and I'm so pleased we did.

We went for the Orkney scallops, Gloucester old spot pork, celeriac and apple and Duck liver pâté with pistachio, garden quince and toasted brioche. The classic scallop combination with the texture of salty pork and sweet apple is always a winner, and this was no exception. The scallops had a beautifully charred edge without being over or under cooked, the pork flavoursome and the celeriac sauce "lick your plate worthy." (I didn't...) Likewise the pâté was a posh take on a failsafe combination - demonstrating how The Feathered Nest do familiar flavours, executed exceptionally.

Next up was the Pork three ways: fillet, belly and croquette, served with swede, caramelised apple and pork jus and the Fallow venison with red cabbage, salt baked parsnip hash, cavolo nero and venison jus. These again translate to me as a gourmet roast dinner, in the best kind of way. I'm not a fan of red cabbage and I accepted this as part of the dish, hoping it would make me like it. Unfortunately, maybe red cabbage just isn't for me.

Other dishes on the menu included potato gnocchi with Lincolnshire poacher, brassicas and truffle, as well as mallard breast and leg with gingerbread, carrot and cabbage. There were no supplements and the menu seemed to be balanced and costed well, which was good to see. There's nothing more disappointing than seeing the best thing on the menu is (+£5) or the vegetarian option isn't as fancy as the rest of the offerings.

Pleasingly pink, effortlessly crispy, lots of 'jus'. I'd switched up to red for this course, and was happy to see that it came out right on time, as requested. It's such a cliché but we were sad it came to an end. But at least it left us to admire the view beyond the hills for a while.

For dessert we went for Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream, lemon and pecans and Dark chocolate mousse, roasted banana and bay leaf ice cream. I love a sticky toffee pudding (STP). It comes a close second to my beloved Bakewell tart. Thing is, I don't like it to be messed around with and would much prefer a home baked one from a local pub. The good thing about the gourmet portion of this one was that we were running out of all the room (blame it on the bread) and this was just the ticket. I also feel inspired to add lemon curd next time I make it at home, as it cut through the sweetness in a way I'd never considered before.

The bill would have come to £55 a head, which for this level of food is exceptional. My best comparison is John's House, a Michelin star restaurant in Leicestershire, which has a similar style menu, cosy furnishings and comparable price tag. Even better, if you're sat in the conservatory then you benefit from the (honestly) breathtaking views as you dine. Back to the laid-back atmosphere - we actually noticed that for a Friday afternoon for a pretty special location, our fellow diners included groups with small children, that were dressed in fairly casual attire - and there's us making the 100 mile drive in our Sunday best. This isn't a bad thing though, people felt relaxed and homely as they enjoyed some beautifully presented plates. We also noticed a menu of fancy bar snacks - what a lovely setting to enjoy a pint and posh pork scratchings! Just shame they'll inevitably be a designated driver...

I've since read the impeccably written restaurant review written by one of my one of my favourite food writers Grace Dent from March 2019. Here the descriptions of the mouthwatering menus - "Produce is exemplary, flavours paramount" - make me want to get in my car and drive straight back for seconds. I thought I'd address a few of the negatives too though, referring to the lack of staff on duty and the forgetfulness of a dietary request. It appears the restaurant took heed in this review, because it was one of the more attentive dinner services I'd been to, and I was asked if I had any allergies or dietary requests more than once. As I was invited along for review, I tend to observe how the other diners are treated too - and this indeed was fork-picking-up-from-the-floor faultless.

The Feathered Nest Country Inn 
Nether Westcote

I was invited for a complimentary meal at The Feathered Nest Country Inn for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I wasn't expected to write a positive review or otherwise.


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