Admittedly we hadn’t been to the Barnt Green Inn for approximately 34 years, so comparing its recent transformation to what went before was a bit beyond us. However, having expected a country pub vibe on route, we were a bit blown away by the interiors. It’s clear from the first glance that somebody has very deep pockets and good taste. The lighting’s great, bar area’s cosy, the restaurant’s all grown-up and glamorous… and we liked!
The clever sticks running the relaunch welcomed us with a build-your-own gin and tonic station which was fun. Hicc! This was the media launch, so while it’s not a regular feature, the bar’s well stocked and wine list superb.
The menu was a bit of mash up of genres – quite a few Asian-inspired dishes alongside pub classics and Mediterranean vibes which bamboozled us slightly. We plumped for some Asian flavours to kick off. We liked the miso aubergine bao buns a lot which came with a hefty hit of red chilli and a mango and spring onion salsa on the side. Massaman chicken skewers were tasty and all the familiar spice and nutty notes were there, but we didn’t much care for the tzatziki on the side.
A sea bass fillet was delicious served with a tangy tomato and lemon aioli, new potatoes, samphire and spinach. The charred octopus tentacle balancing on top didn’t add much apart from a bit of smoke. Sticky glazed pork belly was probably our favourite dish – soft, unctuous, sweet meat with satisfyingly crisp crackling served with roasted butternut squash, cavolo nero, creamed corn, mash potatoes and a red wine jus.
A lemon meringue flamed Alaska was super sweet in a good way, but the portion was huge. There are mini versions of desserts served with coffee which a bit more modest. The mini crème brulee was perfect.
There was probably something on every dish we sampled that you could have removed which would have either improved the plate or we wouldn’t have noticed. Less is more sometimes. Having said that, the food was on the whole great, the service was excellent despite being very new and we loved the vibe of the place.