It was my birthday on Friday - so of course we just had to go out for dinner! After hearing great things about a local gastro pub -The Longs Arms in South Wraxhall, Wiltshire we decided to go there for a celebratory feast. The interior is that of a traditional and friendly Wiltshire pub, but the food... oh my goodness, the food is delicious!
The Longs Arms aims to source as much of its produce as locally as possible, and changes the menu daily to incorporate the finest seasonal ingredients. On the menu, alongside each dish's provenance they suggest a unique beer to accompany the dish.
We started with the Cornish lobster served with hot smoked salmon, pickled cucumber and samphire. The fish was light, sweet and refreshing, whilst the pickle and samphire from the salad gave it a distinctive tangy contrast. The 'Somerset fetish' and green pea ravioli with toasted almonds was also a hit around the table (yes, I was clueless too, but the 'fetish' is in fact a local crumbly white cheese).
Then it was on to the main courses. I was tempted by everything on the menu, but after much umming and aahing I chose the pigeon -cooked rare and alongside English corn, broad beans and charlotte potatoes. The pigeon was rich, gamey and peppery and complimented perfectly by the sweetness and lightness of the corn and beans.
And there was the steak - cooked so beautifully rare that it could melt in your mouth and served under a fragrant topping of chanterelles and garlic with a generous and crispy huddle of chips.
The favourite of the night was the local grouse with cavolo nero, juicy cranberries and creamy mash.
Finally, the cheese soufflé was naturally light, heady and creamy and nestled on a bed of crisp salad.
Somehow, loosening a notch on our belts, we managed to squeeze in some dessert. The Valrhona chocolate fondant with passionfruit ice-cream, scattered with a dust of chocolate and raspberries was irresistible. The rich, liquid chocolate centre matched the zing of the passionfruit and the dusting of chocolate and raspberry varied with the texture of the dish.
Sadly the enticing buttermilk and honeycomb pudding was all too popular and had run out, so instead we opted for a rhubarb and apple crumble with hazelnut custard. The dish was brimming with juicy, tart fruit and the creamy, yet nutty custard balanced this perfectly.
The exterior of The Longs Arms may look like any other country pub, but the inside reveals the extraordinary food they produce - a wonderful birthday dinner in a warm and friendly setting!
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.