Outdoor summer dining was on the menu as Catherine Hannah donned her shades and ventured deep into the heart of the Cotsowlds
The ethos of The Feathered Nest is one of relaxed luxury – “at your leisure” and “take your time” were comforting buzzwords of the evening. Opened in 2010 by Tony and Amanda Timmer, The Feathered Nest has undergone a transformation from your run- of-the-mill country inn to something really rather special indeed. The décor is understated, elegant and beautiful, with quirky features and a relaxed atmosphere.
Tony’s years of experience in the food industry is reflected in the menu and wine list, which is both extensive and eclectic and boasts perhaps the largest selection of South African wines in the country. He agrees with the fashionable notion that local produce is best, but not to the detriment of quality. If it tastes better from a bit further away, so be it. He also refuses to buy in anything he couldn’t make or grow himself, so the meat you enjoy at your table is butchered onsite, the herb and vegetable garden is flourishing and I would recommend asking to see the newly- installed smoking oven and have a peek at whichever delicacy is becoming better by the minute inside.
But it is the outside space that really takes the breath away; the view of the sun setting over the Evenlode Valley was beyond lovely. It is even better enjoyed with a Pimm’s or pint of local Hook Norton ale in hand. As expected, our room was stylish and comfortable, including a super-duper king size bed, a freestanding bath and walk-in shower in the en suite bathroom and a stunning view to match.
Our meal began with a canapé of Parmesan crisps, pesto and roasted tomatoes followed by a light and delicate amuse bouche of summer squash espuma, both exceptional… a sign of things to come. All three courses that followed were skilfully executed by new head chef Peter Eaton. A particular star of the show were my starter; scallops with lemon curd, beetroot and watercress which was so delicately pretty I almost didn’t want to eat it. My partner’s main, suckling pig with black pudding, apple purée and gooseberries was another hit. I had a touch of food envy as he tucked in with gusto. Each course was matched with an accompanying wine suggested by the sommelier, Callum, whose enthusiasm for all things grape was infectious and his choices complimented our dishes perfectly.
Breakfast was thorough; with anything you could possibly want served by a lady who was so friendly and welcoming she could only be described as sunshine in a person – just what we needed after a seductive evening.
There is a real warmth and charm about The Feathered Nest that has been lovingly nurtured by Tony and his “family” of staff, who really buy into and believe in everything they do here. There are no corners cut, no pretensions and no acceptance of mediocrity. It may cost you a little more than your average country inn, but this isn’t your average country inn, it’s something quite special in the heart of the Cotswolds that you will want to return to again and again. I for one cannot wait.