I’m never one to turn down good food, and I’m always on the look out for new restaurants to add to our usual list of haunts. So when we were asked to try out and review the refurbished Maytime Inn at Asthall, I was straight on the website checking it out after booking a date.
The OH never wants to come out and try new places, so N and I went along with friends one Saturday lunchtime. Asthall’s a tiny village, more like a hamlet, just outside Burford so it’s a lovely drive, and makes a good place to head out to for lunch if you want to be away from all the tourists in the Cotswold town. Just don’t miss the first village turn off like I did, or if you do don’t take the next turn unless you’re in a tiny car. Let’s just say a single track lane with 2 narrow bollarded entry points to get into the village, and a lot of breathing in and closing our eyes and hoping the car made it through without a scratch.
The Maytime Inn is a gorgeous building, taking up a fair proportion of the central area of the village. There’s a large car park behind, with the gorgeous large terrace garden area overlooking beautiful Cotswold countryside. It was a shame the weather was a bit rainy the day we were there because it would be a lovely place to sit outside and eat.
Inside, the Maytime has a lot of charm, with traditional farmhouse type of feel but on a larger scale. I was after the welly boot stand for my utility room and I loved the décor. It’s a large pub restaurant (they also have accommodation hence the size), with smaller rooms off the main area as you walk around the bar.
We found the staff really welcoming, and on this occasion, we did get put in a corner. The children were a tad noisy, so it was probably a good idea, and we didn’t feel forgotten there like you do in some places.
The food isn’t bog standard pub fare, it’s more smart restaurant dishes, including things like jus, agondines and various other terminology that I’d have googled if I’d had phone signal in the stone building! What I liked though was that even for my fussy palate, there were a few options I would have chosen. As well as the a la carte menu, there’s also pub classics available including sandwiches.
Children don’t have their own menu, but instead, everything except for steak is available in smaller portions for them. That’s just what I like rather than the presumption that children won’t eat meals like parents. The boys both chose ham, egg and chips (with a choice of handcut fat, or skinny chips) which was the perfect portion size for N – he ate it all up, including the lettuce on the side!
We didn’t opt for starters, dessert is more my thing, but I wanted to try quails eggs, so we had some of those as appetisers. I’d never had them before, but they’re so pretty, with blue shells inside. What a pain to peel though. It was definitely worth the effort, they were beautifully cooked, and went well sprinkled with a tiny amount of the celery salt. Even the boys liked them too.
The speed of meals coming out was good too. We didn’t have to wait too long for food, and drinks were topped up as needed. Handily the Maytime Inn carbonate their own water, so if you want sparkling water, you don’t have to pay for bottled water.
The food looked and tasted great. I’d chosen something totally different – bacon, avocado and serrano ham wrapped egg with a tomato salad and skinny chips. It was quite something and reminded me of a miniature version of the Christmas bird within a bird roast. It was delicious, and even though it looked like a small portion on the massive plate, it was sufficient for my appetite.
My friend had the wild boar burger with chips and salad. Neither of us had had boar before, but it was certainly a food I’d try again. With a little chilli in the burger it added a little kick too.
There was a decent choice of desserts – hot, cold and cheese and biscuits. N wanted vanilla ice cream (boring), turning down the variety of ice creams they had, which on the day we were there included pistachio, banana, pina colada sorbet and more. We were told the ice cream flavours get rotated, with the boozy ones a particular favourite of the staff.
I chose the plum frangipane tart and ice cream which was perfectly flavoured. Quite subtle, but perfect for autumn. R had the syrup and ginger steamed sponge. She said it was just right.
Every meal was delicious, and just the right size. I felt satisfied but not too full I couldn’t move.
The Maytime Inn isn’t the cheapest pub restaurant, but for a special occasion, or even if you’ve got friends over and you want to head out for a meal, it’s a lovely relaxed pub with friendly and attentive staff who want to get everything right for their customers.
Plus, there’s a giant wooden chair in the garden which the kids absolutely loved playing on.
Have you eaten out somewhere in the Cotswolds that you would recommend?
Disclosure: We received lunch for the purpose of review. All opinions and words are my own.
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