The Granville, Barford, Warwickshire Restaurant Review
PUBLISHED: 16:59 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:13 20 February 2013
Warwickshire Life editor Colin Clark is delighted to see an old favourite on the menu when he visits The Granville @ Barford
Warwickshire Life editor Colin Clark is delighted to see an old favourite on the menu when he visits The Granville @ Barford.
As a young reporter covering the very Yorkshire town of Penistone I regularly popped into the pub across the road from my office to enjoy their tremendous liver and onions with chips and peas.
When I tell you it cost 1.20 for a belly-bulging plateful you'll realise just how long it was since I was a young reporter in Penistone. Anyway, the story is that I ordered it so many times that one day the landlord/chef, realising he had far too much for one portion but not quite enough for two, dished me up the lot saying I might as well have it rather than it go to waste.
I ate the lot - then didn't touch liver and onions for about five years - just the thought of it made me ill. I think it could be called an offal overload.
My aversion faded with the years but I was reminded of it when I visited The Granville @ Barford recently and discovered liver on the menu. Now the liver I used to be served as a young newshound needing sustenance before going out to cover yet another Women's Institute whist drive, was of the ever-so-well cooked variety, any moisture at all was seen as a failing in the chef. Dry was how we expected it and dry is how it was cooked, very dry indeed.
Not so at The Granville. Tastes have indeed changed and when I ordered honey and mustard glazed liver with saffron new potatoes topped with asparagus wrapped in pancetta, I was 'warned' that the liver came rare. And about time too! For far to long has liver been cooked far too long - the rare treatment really is the right way to get the very best out of this particular offal dish. If the thought of it bloody liver does make you grimace, and believe me that was the reaction of more than half of my friends when we were discussing the meal over a pint the following evening, take the plunge, give it a try, you won't regret it.
But let's go back to the start of the evening and our arrival at the recently refurbished Granville @ Barford, I still can't work out if I like the @ instead of a traditional 'at' but this is the modern world and I must learn to adapt.
What I do like is the actual pub itself. Serving both Hook Norton's finest, Hooky, and even more locally brewed Purity it got off to a great start as far as I'm concerned and I sampled one of each as it was my evening off driving duties. There's a very good wine list but, with bitters like this on offer, it didn't get much of a look-in.
A listed building dating back to the 1600s the inside is tastefully decorated and has a definite pub part, a definite eating part and then a bit in the middle that seemed perfect for either.
New owners Val Kersey, with partners Gary Burt and Howard Marshall have created that gem of a village pub - one that seems to have something for everyone, not least live music on a fairly regular basis when everyone can, in Val's words, "really let their hair down."
Starters ranged from soup at 4.50 to my choice of fresh mussels in white wine sauce, topped with crisp pancetta and lemon zest at 6.50. There was also woodpigeon breast wrapped in cabbage on shallot puree an confit of cherry tomato which very nearly got my vote, but I'm a sucker for mussels.
Dining partner Sue went for homemade ravioli stuffed with spinach and goat cheese with tarragon cream sauce at a very reasonable 5.50.
Both were first class and, in Sue's case, very definitely homemade. Ravioli can sometimes be a bit bossy flavour-wise when having it as a starter but this was a very light and delicate number, perfect for kick-starting the appetite.
Then onto the mains and Sue made a shock decision to go for rib-eyed steak with homemade chips, onion rings and field mushrooms. I would have laid odds on her choosing pan-fried salmon with a warm salad and new potatoes or even the whole sea bass with roasted root vegetables but, after 23 years of marriage, she still maintains the ability to surprise and went for the steak - thank goodness it wasn't a question on Mr and Mrs, I'd never have own the holiday abroad!
The steak was a very good steak, what more can you say. When you order steak and receive a very good steak the chance for a food reviewer like myself to elaborate is indeed limited. Still, Sue thought it was superb so what more do I need to say.
As for my liver, I think I've covered that fairly comprehensively but, in case you didn't quite pick up my vibes from earlier in the review, it was fantastic. Please let's see liver appearing on many more menus and please let it always be served like this.
Desserts were an impressive selection of raspberry panacotta with ice cream, pear and almond tart with cream and bread and butter pudding with custard, to name just three, but the sweetest thing of the evening was our delightful server Emma. Nothing too much trouble, no question too stupid and always a big pleasant genuine smile, what more can you ask for - oh, she was also exceedingly efficient.
The reduction of traffic passing The Granville @ Barford, following the opening of the Barford bypass, may have been a worry for Val when she first took over the business.
I think, that while she serves food and drink of this quality, she really doesn't need to worry. People will seek out quality places like this wherever they are.
For further details visit www.granvillebarford.co.uk