A couple of years ago I ate at what turned out to be my favourite restaurant of that year, The Pig. The food was great, but what I loved most was their dedication to sourcing ingredients within a 25-mile radius. The result of which was super fresh and very seasonal food. Since then a few other places have embraced this approach, but taking it to the next level is The Pointer.
The Pointer is set within the charming, red-bricked, village of Brill in Buckinghamshire. It’s a pub, restaurant and butchers, which is housed in the outbuilding. Owners David and Fiona Howden, have a farm and estate where much of the organic produce for the restaurant comes from, those that are not are sourced from local markets and suppliers who share their ethics and passion.
And passion is the key word here – it shines through everyone I meet on a recent day trip to The Pointer; from Jon Wilkins who butchers the meat for the restaurant as well as selling it to the locals, Jamie Brewer who tends to the livestock, Paul Gough who looks after the estate, head chef Mini Patel to, of course, charismatic owners, the Howdens.
A wander around the estate and farm reveals a thriving array of herbs, vegetables and very well cared for award-winning English Longhorn cows, Tamworth and rare breed Middle White pigs, sheep and chickens, all having tons of space to roam. Picking little tasters along the way really gets the appetite going, especially trying the tomatoes, which actually taste of tomato and pop with flavour. There’s something very special about seeing where the produce for your meal comes from – it gets all the senses going.
Back to The Pointer, where head chef Mini Patel has a deft hand at showing off the produce to its best. His seasonal menu changes daily depending on what’s available. To start I go for the Cornish lobster with zebra tomato, fennel and smoked paprika mayonnaise – it’s sunshine on a plate. The slight tang from the tomatoes, complement the sweet flesh from the plumb lobster chunks beautifully and a nice touch of aniseed from the fennel makes this a truly wonderful dish.
Moving on to another stellar course is Middle White Pork Belly, anna potato, Pointer farm vegetables, gooseberries and scrumpy juices. The colours on the plate are sensational. The pork yields its tender juicy meat with crisp crackling that snaps at the bite, accompanied by an onslaught of the freshest of vegetables. It’s a feast for the eyes and a real joy to eat.
And to finish I share a selection of desserts; Treacle Tart, Strawberry Eton Mess, Elderflower and Lemon Posset and Milk Chocolate Bar, which is a chocolate lover’s dream. All tasted great, but a special mention must go to the Strawberry Eton Mess – not only is it visually stunning, but bursting with flavour too.
I love what The Pointer is doing here, and that the meal I ate was about 70% self-sufficient. Other restaurants could take a few pointers – it’s Brill!
Prices may vary, but are as follows for the a la carte: starters from £7, mains from £15, and desserts from £6.
Travel: the journey time from London to Haddenham and Thames Parkway is approximately under one hour with tickets costing from £23.60 for a same-day off peak return followed by a short taxi ride into Brill.
Food I Fancy was a guest of The Pointer.
27 Church Street
Tel: 01844 238339