The Pointer, Brill
THE POINTER: BRILL
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT
- Voted 'Hotel of the Year' and 'Best Foodie Place to Stay' by The Sunday Times
- Enjoy first-class dishes, featuring local produce and ingredients
- Warm yourself by the open fire in the cosy bar area
- Stay in a farmhouse-style bedroom with a luxurious slipper bath
It’s not often you open the weekend papers while enjoying a hotel breakfast and discover the place you’re staying in has been voted Hotel of the Year by The Sunday Times – but, that’s what happened during our visit to The Pointer. Although a wonderful surprise, it wasn’t a shock. It’s such a great place to stay, the accolade is well-deserved.
The Pointer is located in the small village of Brill, Buckinghamshire. On a hillside and surrounded by sweeping green landscapes, this charming little hamlet is miles away from the nearest town centre and has all the old-world landmarks you’d hope to find in the countryside.
During a quick stroll around, my boyfriend Alex and I wandered past the village square and war memorial, a red telephone box and olde-worlde buildings with names like The Old Coach House, The Old Rose and Crown and The Old Post office. We also came across the famous village windmill on Brill Common, which was built in the 1680s. It’s all very pretty and incredibly quaint.
The Pointer was built in the 17th-century and the bar has a very cosy, rustic feel with stone flooring, wooden beams and large open fireplaces surrounded by armchairs and comfy sofas. There were also some lovely touches, like seasonal carnival squashes dotted around, candles on every table and original artworks of various animals including the Pointer dog, which is the pub’s motif (although it’s actually named after the Pointer family, who once owned the building).
The dining area is separate from the bar, in a converted barn. It’s slightly more formal, with large wooden tables, candle chandeliers and dried hops hanging from the ceiling. On route, we caught a glimpse of the busy open plan kitchen.
Our bedroom was a one-minute stumble across the road in a cottage, recently converted into four rooms – so, there was no need to worry about noises from the bar echoing below. Like the restaurant, it had a farmhouse-feel with neutral décor, earthy tones and natural textures. And, there were plenty of thoughtful touches like the homemade shortbread, a Nespresso machine with real milk in the chiller (strictly not UHT) and artisan toiletries in the bathroom.
The ensuite was gorgeous and I enjoyed a long soak in the high-back slipper bath before dinner.
We were booked in for a three-course dinner with wine and breakfast.
I nearly always order prosecco but on the waiter’s recommendation, we opted for a local sparkling wine, which was delicious (so delicious in fact, we’d ordered two more by the end of the night!) While we waited for our food, we were given a delicious bacon-topped amuse-bouche and tucked into homemade sourdough and beef drippings.
Here’s what we ordered:
Starters: Soused Line Caught Cornish Mackerel with Marinated Fennel, Onion, Dill and Lemon Dressing (£10) and Crispy Brie Bites with Cranberry Ketchup (£6)
Mains: Grilled Pointer Farm Longhorn Beef Rib Eye Steak with Chips Cooked in Dripping and Roast Cherry Tomatoes (£30) and Roast Loin of Cornish Hake with Gem Lettuce, Mussel & Bacon Chowder and Alexanders (£23)
Desserts: Lemon Meringue Pie with Lemon Sorbet and Lemon Verbena Puree (£7) and Sticky Medjool Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce, Milk and Honey Ice Cream (£8)
The mackerel was gorgeous, really light and delicate and not at all oily or pungent, as you often expect from this type of fish. The steak was also perfectly cooked – and the medjool date pudding dessert was another highlight. A fabulous twist on the classic pudding, the sponge was perfectly moist and the sauce was sweet (but, not too much). This comfort desert is a perfect winter night’s treat.
During our meal, the waiter told us about The Pointer’s ‘farm-to-folk’ philosophy – they grow a lot of their own produce without pesticides or other nasties, and run their own butcher located next to the restaurant. They also support other local producers – during our stay, one local grower dropped off some of pears, and was rewarded with a free pint of beer!
The breakfast buffet is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Not only did we find an array of pastries, cereals, fruits, meats and cheese – but there was a Bloody Mary station as well. We took no time at all in helping ourselves to the homemade spiced vodka, tomato juice and accompaniments. There were also painkillers and Berocca tablets for the taking aswell. I’d never seen anything like it!
I was more than happy sticking with the buffet, while Alex ordered scrambled eggs and salmon – I had a small taste and it deliciously creamy and super-fresh. What a wonderful start to the day.
The Pointer is a fabulous place to stay and thoroughly deserving of the many accolades it has received. Most of us choose to stay in hotels for convenience – but this really is a destination venue, especially for foodies. Just make sure you arrive hungry!
Also worth noting, they allow dogs in the bar and for an extra fee, they can sleep in some of the rooms too – great if you want to come and enjoy some countryside walks with your furry friends.
27 Church St, Brill, Aylesbury HP18 9RT.
Double rooms from £130 a night with breakfast.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Pointer.