Travel & Life Digest

Sunday Roast - Sir Charles Napier Inn, Chinnor

The most un-assuming place in the Chiltern Hills!
If you are on a quest for a quintessential Sunday roast in a rural setting, this is the place. 
We discovered the Sir Charles Napier Inn by chance, during a summer Sunday afternoon drive around the Chiltern Hills, in search of a good roast. We soon realised that most pubs around the area seem to close after Sunday lunch, hence our quest was unfruitful at the time. But the Sir Charles Napier did pop up on our search as one of the best gastropubs in the area; sadly they too, close after Sunday lunch service. 
So we had to wait for our turn, on an autumn Sunday, to visit this lovely, rural, gem of a gastropub. Maybe it was better this way, we now have the sweetest late autumn afternoon to remember.

The cosy lounging area, around one of the two fireplaces

The atmosphere is relaxed but there is an underlying professional attitude when it comes to food and attention to detail.
For example, although we arrived right on time for our lunch, we were not rushed at all. Instead, we were seated by the cosy fireplace and asked what we would like to drink. Our food order was taken as we were enjoying our glass of wine, by the fireplace. The wine list is also commendable and there is a "Claret of the Month" option too.

When we eventually got to our table, our starters came straight away and that's where the professionalism and timing kicks in. The whole set up reminded us both of our favourite place in the New Forest, the Pig, for the same chilled out attitude and attention to detail. 

Seared foie gras, velvety, soft, delicious!
Light and fluffy cheese soufflé
Table-top art - the Inn and gardens are full of bronze animals, pieces of art from a local artist.  
The main course: two types of roast pork, with all of the trimmings

The main dining area is this sunny parlour, surrounded by balcony doors that let the afternoon light flood in. It's the right balance between "grown up" - but not stuffy - and easy-going. There are little bronze animal sculptures all around the tables, so you might easily find yourself having lunch overlooked by the Owl, or as in our case the little Bear. 

Let me gush about the food now, I went for the seared foie gras and my husband went for the cheese soufflé. They were both light, exactly what starters should be like, not heavy. My foie gras was the perfect little sweet treat, velvety and delicious. The cheese soufflé was strong-flavoured but fluffy at the same time.

And the main star of the show: the roast!
We both went for pork roast, which was served with two cuts of pork. First we tucked into the usual pieces that were sitting right on top of the plate, but we soon discovered a little pile of succulent pulled pork sitting underneath too. And off course, there were two little crispy pieces of crackling right on top of everything. You can't imagine my grin at that point!
Usually pub roasts are let down because the trimmings are overlooked and they come straight out of a freezer bag, where carrots go black on the ends, yuk. Not here! The carrots and parsnips were prepped and cooked properly, in lovely butter and glaze,  and there was plenty of gravy to go around for our massive Yorkshires.

Us being us, we also ordered dauphinoise potatoes, just in case the roast potatoes weren't good enough. It was an unnecessary precaution because the roast potatoes were perfectly blondish and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. However, the little skillet that contained the dauphinoise, was also perfection, very creamy and smooth. Disaster averted, indulgence maximised!

The Inn's back garden, full of little tables and spots for outdoors dinning.

There's a Bull in the back yard!
Our spot in the garden to watch the sun set over the Chiltern Hills
Dessert please!

The excellent service proclaimed itself again at dessert. We asked if we could take a 20 minute brake after our main course, to walk around the gardens, take a breather and have dessert outside. No problem at all.

So off we went to the gardens, that are dotted with more bronze sculptures - in giant proportions - the work of a local artist, Michael Cooper. A Rabbit by the balcony door, a Bull sitting on one of the tables and off course the Slug, the centrepiece in the garden. My favourite one was Mr Fox.

As we were walking back up the hill, coffees and cheesecake were just arriving too.
What a perfectly romantic spot, to watch the sun go down, over the Chiltern Hills!
Slugg...ish Sundays! 

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