LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Backwell’s bounty

When it comes to food, Backwell, to the southwest of Bristol, has been pretty much a backwater – until now. The gorgeous honey-stoned Georgian mansion that is Backwell House, is putting the village firmly on the regional food map, a welcome addition to Bristol’s burgeoning food scene.

The food, masterminded by chef Ross Hunter (previously at The Stone Mill in Monmouth and The Swan, Almondsbury) makes ample use of the vegetables grown in the nine-room hotel’s walled garden and is served in its deliciously stylish wooden-floored dining room (pictured). I tried the Pressed pork starter (pictured) from pigs that had been reared just down the road.

The dish that steals the show, though, is Ross’ Strawberry cannelloni dessert (pictured), tubes of Chantilly cream wrapped around with shiny red fruit jelly, served with Cheddar Valley strawberries and meringue – a take on Eton mess that’s fast becoming a signature dish.

It’s not just the food you come for though. This is a relaxed boutique hotel that oozes fun and contemporary style in much the same way as The Pig. Part of that fun comes from some deft upcycling – like the downstairs cloakroom sink fashioned from an old suitcase. Another highlight is the modern artwork on the walls (loaned from a Bristol gallery) which you can buy, and the funky bar that’s fashioned out of recycled floorboards from the old kitchens (try the Espresso Martini cocktails). The best feature of all in my opinion is the huge drawing room with its comfy chairs in which you can cuddle up in front of the fire under the deer antler chandeliers and enjoy its shabby chic vibes.

This is a great place to escape for the weekend – go while you can still get in. You can read more about it in my view for Olive magazine here.