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Lunch Review: The Brocket Arms, Ayot St Lawrence

PUBLISHED: 18:03 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013

Lunch Review: The Brocket Arms, Ayot St Lawrence

Lunch Review: The Brocket Arms, Ayot St Lawrence

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne finds a country inn setting the pace

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne finds a country inn setting the pace

About the restaurant
A rising star on the Hertfordshire scene, The Brocket Arms, deep in George Bernard Shaw country, made the Recommended list in the Good Food Guide 2011. The all-day menu, created by chef Andrew Knight, offers two courses at 19.95 and three at 24.95.

Atmosphere and decor
Befitting a building dating from the 14th century, the Brocket Arms is notable for its size (tiny) and all the low ceilings, oak beams and atmosphere anyone could expect. The place breathes history and the decor, sensibly, is minimal.

If you arrive early, you may need to head for the often-crowded bar across the corridor for assistance but once your presence is noted there is little to fault. Our waitress was friendly, chatty and efficient, though she failed to ask whether we wanted side dishes with our mains.

The menu
With fresh, seasonal and local the bywords, chef Knights offerings change almost daily. The scallops are justly famous and almost a fixture, but if youve checked the website in advance, be prepared to have to change your mind. Choice is limited but adventurous, with usually about five starters and desserts and six mains.

To start
Good trick basic dishes with something different added. Thus cream of English watercress soup came with a soft quails egg and confit Jersey Royal for extra smoothness. The smoked ham hock and parsley terrine was loaded with herbs with Brocket piccalilli on the side.

Main courses
The currently-trendy menu item braised ox cheek had all the tenderness and flavour expected, supported by a delicate parsnip puree and tenderstem broccoli. Pan-fried sea trout with the unexpected addition of a Jerusalem artichoke sauce was polished off with equal enjoyment.

Orange blossom crme brulee vied with Brocket Arms caramel soup with clotted cream and Scottish shortbread for attention, duly rewarded. Had that not been enough, there was always lemon posset with baked strawberries and pistachio biscotti.

The experience
With its sensible pricing policy and imaginative touches to the menu, the Brocket Arms is another good reason to venture into George Bernard Shaw territory. One feels the author, who lived in Ayot St Lawrence for 40 years and who once wrote There is no sincerer love than the love of food, would have approved.


The Brocket Arms
Ayot St Lawrence
Welwyn AL6 9BT
01438 820250

The cost of this meal was 50.70 including two large glasses of wine, plus a 10% service charge which is added automatically - total 55.70.


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