The Farmer’s Boy Inn, Longhope

The Farmer's Boy Inn - bread and olivesI’d been keen to visit The Farmer’s Boy Inn in the Longhope, Forest of Dean, for a while after hearing amazing things about it.

When you approach the place, it looks like a lovely, country pub on the outside, probably somewhere that might serve a decent ploughman’s or Sunday lunch, with not much of a hint to the magic prepared in its kitchen. It seems that this place thrives off its impressive word of mouth – though the owner surely does understand the value of marketing, with the many award wins and a past appearance on C4’s Four in a Bed.

Inside it is a gorgeously inviting, traditional public house with tankers and dried hops adorning the walls. The restaurant had candles on each table to add atmospheric sparkle.

If you’re a fan of hops for your glass, rather than the wall, you won’t be disappointed with the
local tipple offering. The Farmer’s Boy Inn appears to have a good relationship with the nearby Hillside Brewery, and if you fancy something different, a range of local Wye Valley Brewery varieties.

The Farmer's Boy Inn - mushrooms with Shropshire Blue and white wine sauce on a toasted muffinWhen we ordered our sarters, being the antipasti truffle pig I am, I opted for the olives, ciabatta, with truffle butter, basalmic vinegar and olive dipping oil. My other half chose the wild mushrooms with white wine and Shropshire blue sauce on a toasted muffin.

Not only have people raved to me about the food at this place, but in particular they have raved about its pies. This is why I chose a beef, stilton and stout pie with shortcrust pastry and truffle mash. My dining partner ordered the half and half pie – beef and stilton, with chicken and mushroom with a puff pastry lid and chips.

When the starters arrived, my olives and bread were presented so beautifully, with a cute little bottle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in, and with the warm, crusty Italian bread, it was a lovely
first course to guzzle. I tried the mushrooms with the white wine and blue cheese sauce and it too, was delicious. The white wine complemented the cheese well, with the latter not being too overpowering, as it sometimes can be. Again, presentation had been taken into account.

The Farmer's Boy Inn - Steak, Guiness and stilton pie with shortcrust pastryNot so soon after our empty plates were collected, our pies had landed on our table. I was served my pie with chips, peas and a small jug of gravy. I had ordered mash, and though I’m usually one to say if my order gets messed up, I decided not to mention it as I’d really enjoyed my dining experience until that point. Soon enough though, the apologetic and friendly waiter had brought out my mashed potatoes. Who’s one to complain at free extra food hey?

The filling in my pie was delicious, a perfect balance of the flavours and tender, slow cooked-beef. The filling was rich, hearty and warming. The truffle mash was to die for. If I had to make on criticism the shortcrust pastry in my pie was pleasant, though it could have been more ‘short’ and crispy, though it was almost perfect.

My other half’s pie pastry was buttery and flaky. It had the double filling and although it was tasty, I didn’t quite understand the concept of featuring two fillings in one pie. I was kind of expecting a pastry divider in the middle – if that could even be possible!

Overall, I was really impressed by The Farmer’s Boy Inn. The atmosphere was lovely and inviting, all of the staff seemed to enjoy their work and were friendly and helpful, and most of all the food was fantastic. This place was really the nicest meal I’d had for a while and I would definitely recommend it.

The Farmer's Boy Inn - 2 in 1 pie, steak and Guiness and chicken and mushroom wit puff pastryAlso worth noting is that if you’re not based locally, this place offers rooms, and if you want entertainment, I noticed a few leaflets around the place that promoted forthcoming tribute acts and dinner nights.

The Farmer’s Boy Inn, Ross Rd, Longhope, Forest of Dean. GL17 0LP. Tel: 01452 831300


The Cock Inn, Blakeney

After a few decisions on a Friday evening, we decided to head to The Cock Inn in Blakeney, a small village based along the A48 in the Forest of Dean.   The last time I’d eaten there was about nine years ago.  Since then, the pub has been taken over by chef Andrew Jeffs, who trained under the eye of a three Michelin-starred chef, Nico Ladenis.

The Cock Inn - Blakeney

The Cock Inn, Blakeney

Inside The Cock Inn there is a cosy bar area to the right of the entrance and the restaurant is on the left.  Exposed beams complement the raw brick work; a humble and rustic setting is the result.

At the bar my other half orders a pint of lager and I decide to go for a McCrindle’s Cider, which is made in the same village.  When the barmaid tells me how strong it is, I amend my choice for half a lager.  I’m driving.

In addition to the menu, there’s a list of wholesome specials on the chalkboard which hangs above the restaurant’s fireplace.

We order local Severn and Wye smoked salmon with soda bread and tartare sauce, and pork, duck liver and brandy paté with toast and pickle to start.  For main we choose from the specials board – fillet beef Thai red curry and Surf and Turf.

Severn and Wye smoked salmon, soda bread, tartare sauce

Severn and Wye smoked salmon

I love smoked salmon.  The pink soft pieces of delicate heaven that oozes salty, woody flavours as soon as it touches the tongue.  The soda bread is how you would imagine; dense and spongy, smeared with the right amount of butter. The tartare sauce is tasty and I’m guessing home made.  I enjoy my starter mainly down to my love of this fish.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of cooking skill required for this dish and I would probably say a bit overpriced at £8.60.

My partner’s paté tastes good.  The relish it came with was also nice.  I’m sure it would taste better if I was not eating salmon.

Soon follows the fillet beef Thai red curry.  I love a good South-East Asian curry, regardless of its colour.  However a good Thai curry, in my opinion, should not be thick and creamy, but thin and fragrant.

Pork, duck liver and brandy paté with toast

Pork, duck liver and brandy paté

This curry was the latter.  Watery but in a good way.  Beautifully charred pieces of fillet beef with a soft centre is the star of the show and crunchy mange tout adds a delightful texture.  The spice is perfect, and promises a little kick that does not overpower.  The rice helps to soak up the sauce.

My dining companion’s surf and turf looks impressive and short of any scampi nonsense.  The steak is sliced – we’re not sure why – but this exposes the colour of the crimson medium rare meat.  Big juicy prawns jewel the top of the steak and is covered by a blanket of peppery rocket.

The prawns are good and the meat not bad, but slightly tough.

Soon our plates are clear and we left satisfied with our meal.  To sum up this experience, and sorry if I am about to use words that grate on you, I would say it is ‘posher than average pub grub.’    I suppose ‘pub grub’ is better than ‘posh nosh’ – you will not catch me using that foul phrase in a hurry.

Fillet beef Thai red curry

Fillet beef Thai red curry






Surf and Turf

Surf and Turf






The Cock Inn, Nibley Hill, Blakeney.  GL15 4DB.  Tel: 01594 510239