Thursdays are our ‘date night’. Sometimes it can mean just grabbing a pizza somewhere cheap and cheerful, but sometimes we really treat ourselves to somewhere special (usually around payday!) and The Longs Arms in the nearby village of South Wraxall definitely falls into the ‘treat’ category.
There is a lovely walk that takes about an hour from our village to South Wraxall and we usually do it over the summer and reward ourselves with a cold cider and light lunch in the beer garden at the other end but this was our first time properly dining here at The Longs Arms.
It’s a cosy, country-style pub with a wood-burning stove that makes you feel very welcome on a cold December evening.
It’s an ever-changing seasonal menu so I couldn’t do my usual trick of looking at the menu online and choosing my meal before I arrived (!) but as soon as I did see the menu I knew I would love this place.
This restaurant takes ‘local food’ to a whole new level. Each dish has the name of the town or village the food is sourced from and I gave a little squeal of delight when I saw our tiny little village, Monkton Farleigh, on the list!
Of course this meant we had to order our local dish but we started with a speciality beer. With every dish, there is also a suggestion of the best matched beer to accompany it – a nice touch, especially when your husband is currently working through the World’s Top 100 Beers! We opted for a spiced pumpkin ale which was a bit dark for me but very seasonal nonetheless.
For our starters, Ian ordered the pheasant cake and I had cheddar and spring onion fritters.
Ian’s ‘cake’ was reminiscent of a scotch egg, served on a warm salad with medlar jelly. The whole dish was delicious and really well-balanced.
I wasn’t going to have a starter as I had my eye on the puddings and wanted to make sure I still had room but I was peer-pressured into making a snap decision and these fritters were good. Gooey, cheesy and very indulgent, my only quibble is that I would have liked some of that tasty medlar jelly myself to add a bit of tang as it was a rich dish.
For my main, I ordered wild duck and pheasant and was overjoyed when the waitress brought it out and mentioned that the chef had also had some fresh partridge delivered that day so he added a breast of that too! My game was served with potatoes, red cabbage, pesto and jelly and it was absolutely divine. The meat was all cooked medium rare and each was surprisingly different in taste and texture. Without a doubt, one of the best dishes I have eaten in a long time.
Ian had Cornish dab (a white fish), served with oxtail, mash and leeks. I was worried that the dab wouldn’t have enough flavour to match up to the rich, beefy oxtail but again this was perfectly balanced and served with fresh samphire and a sauce.
I was kicking myself at this point as I was so full up I didn’t think I would be able to manage dessert but after a little break, I found the room! Once I saw the flavours of the homemade ice-creams, I had to have a bowl.
I finally decided on three scoops of eggnog, apple pie and jasmine ice cream, topped with dehydrated berries and chunks of honeycomb (I am dribbling just typing this!) All three were unbelievably good. The jasmine tea was quite strong and perfumed, the eggnog had a delicious hint of booze running through it but the standout flavour for me was the apple pie. I used to work in an ice cream parlour every summer when I was at school and we served an apple pie ice cream and this flavour took me right back to summer holidays by the sea!
Ian had had a chocolate orange torte, served with pistachio ice cream and chopped nuts. He let me steal a bit and it was scrumptious.
Ian finished the meal with an espresso stout (a nice twist on after-dinner coffees) then we had two handmade chocolates to nibble on with the bill.
This meal was wonderful – a lovely, country setting and amazing food with a twist. It was a bit pricy but given the locality and freshness of ingredients, I don’t really mind paying a little bit more. I highly recommend this place if you are in the area and I look forward to going back again soon.
I wish I could say we have another exciting restaurant planned for tonight but it is my staff Christmas meal tomorrow night and I had a spray tan with the girls in work today so rather than getting dressed up to go out for dinner, I am sat in my onesie, letting my tan develop whilst waiting for our Indian takeaway to arrive! x