I recently (16/02/13) made my first visit to Clavelshay Barn, looking for a quality place to eat in the area, something a little special and with a good reputation from other users of this site. To get there we entrusted the satnav and enjoyed a fun drive down muddy lanes in to a farmyard when we were starting to fear the worst, however we're pleasantly surprised when the lane opened to a beautifully lit barn conversion. Firstly I made a reservation on line using their web site, after a few days when I had not heard back I phoned on Friday afternoon to check, a lovely lady answered and confirmed they had my reservation however when we arrived our resignation had vanished from their diary, thankfully even though busy the host sat us straight away at a table upstairs, this was handled very well considering the nightmare that could of ensued.
The building was lovely with wood beams and lovely modern/ traditional feel, the menus were digested and we decided to at least attempt three courses by sharing a starter and pudding.
The terrine came out looking lovely and tasted good, the ribeye steak was amazing with wonderful veg and horseradish mash, the rhubarb and ginger brûlée was good and they even gave us a scoop of their home made ginger ice cream on the side (we did ask as it was on a different desert on the menu).
All in all the food was of a good standard, so what was wrong? Well on paper nothing, but there was a distinct lack of atmospheare and personality in the place, I like to enjoy the feel of a special night out but instead we were sat in a restaurant full of tables of two only (possibly because it was two days after valentines day) with everyone whispering to their partner, the staff spoke to us in the required places but no more, there was to laughter, chatter or enjoyment, just quiet appreciation it had the feel of sitting down to dinner in a library with out books or even an old village hall. I am sure this would feel much better if there was a couple of birthday tables of 6 + so I think we were just unlucky. Also when you book (and I think 1you should give it a go) ask to sit upstairs, as the downstairs looks like the poor relation in comparison, the decor and feel of not quite finished and the toilets are in the corner "behind the decorative screen" or wicker fence in my words, when in the toilet you can hear people siting enjoying their dinner outside, I hate to think what they can hear.
Sorry for my ramblings but if you are after good quality food fresh from the farm this place won't let you down and it wasn't to expensive 1x starter 2xribeye 1x pudding 1x large red wine + tip all for £60.
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