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“A Not to be Missed Bargain!”
Review of Thornbury Castle

Thornbury Castle
Ranked #5 of 35 Restaurants in Thornbury
Price range: $116 - $116
Cuisines: Mediterranean, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed February 16, 2013

£20 doesn't buy you much these days – or I thought so until today when I had lunch for that modest sum in the elegant dining room of glorious Thornbury Castle. I was a regular there in the late 1980s (there's been a change of ownership since then) and well remember being shown around the whole castle one evening. It took my breath away then and it has just done so again, but for a different reason.

Currently the hotel offers (until later this year) a bargain two course lunch for £15 or three courses for £20 (cheese and coffee are extras) per head. And what a lunch! It's true that the portions are on the small side – I'm not keen on huge portions of anything but I could easily have eaten the starter twice over, not just because it was small but also because it was absolutely outstanding. Baby beetroot, served on a huge glass plate with parmesan curls, hazelnuts, mixed cresses, all dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette, was as visually beautiful as it was tasty. This was accompanied by home made bread (a choice of 3 being offered regularly throughout the first and main courses). Meanwhile my partner tucked in to a bowl of Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle oil, with which he was equally thrilled.

Just when we thought that gifted Chef, Mark Veale, may have peaked too soon, along came our main courses, perfectly cooked fillet of guilt head bream served with herb crushed potato, carrot and sauce vierge for me and middle white pork liver and braised shoulder, with mustard pomme purée, baby turnips and chestnut jus for him. The preparation and visual appeal of our main courses were as good as it gets.

Two portions of Thornbury Castle Pudding (a light version of sticky toffee pudding) with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce completed our unforgettable lunch, which had been washed down with a bottle of Viognier (£27), selected from Thornbury's award winning wine list.

On the negative side – our pre-lunch drinks included a glass of Kir, at a very pricey £12 a glass and the restaurant manager's black suit would have benefited from a trip to the dry-cleaner – but, hey, maybe we met him just after he'd dealt with a kitchen disaster. From our arrival to departure the service was charming and faultless, so I'm happy to forgive the odd stain!

How's the building holding up since I saw it last? Well, the lounge where aperitifs are served is not as grandly furnished as I remember it. There are several wooden chairs, in amongst the tapestries and suits of armour, that would be better suited to a kitchen than a baronial hall. Then there's the use of low energy light bulbs, which simply don't suit old buildings (and, in my opinion don't suit new ones either)!

If you are into magnificent buildings, that once played host for 10 days to Henry VIII and Ann Bolyn and also appreciate superb food in glorious surroundings then I recommend you get along to Thornbury Castle before their special lunch menu ends!

    • Value
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    • Food
1  Thank Bopeep1947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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349 - 353 of 421 reviews

Reviewed February 12, 2013

We were a party of four for a birthday. This is a beautiful venue and the chef clearly knows his trade as the food was extremely good. What is wrong here can be fixed by staff training. Drinks: Gin delivered without the tonic which took an age to correct. Wine kept away from the table and so if there was no waiting staff in the room, you'd need to leave the table to get it. Even when they were there you had to draw their attention to empty glasses rather than them spotting it. At the prices being charged, the service doesn't match up. The bill was incorrect and had been mixed up with someone else's so needed re-doing. Don't get me wrong, the staff are polite but just not up to the price tag for the venue.

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Thank ChrisJDav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2013

We booked in for a champagne afternoon tea on a Saturday afternoon but it was a bit of a let down. The champagne was nice and the chocolate brownie was exceptional, but unfortunately, that's about it for the positives. We were simply offered tea or coffee on arrival, there was no choice of different teas and it was only after a first pot of builders tea that I asked for something else and ordered an Earl Grey. The fingers sandwiches were a huge disappointment; the bread was hard (borderline stale) and the fillings were so minimal that on one the lashings of butter were thicker than the filling itself. The scones felt like rock cakes but were nice once you got past the hard crust, and the mini cake selection was hit and miss; as I said earlier, the brownie was good, but the bakewell cake was undercooked and tasteless and the others were not worth noting (it's a lot easier to make nicer at home). The service was equally poor and after it took 20 minutes for our first pot of tea to turn up after we'd ordered it, and 15 minutes after that was finished there was so no sign of any waiter coming to check up on the customers in the far room so I had to go up to the front desk and ask for some more tea, which wasn't much more than lukewarm on arrival, meaning the pot was cold before we had chance to finish it.

The style of Thornbury Castle is not to my taste, and nor was the afternoon tea. Having lived locally for years, we'd been looking forward to this visit, but unfortunately it was a major disappointment. We won't be back for any further lunch, tea or dinner here, there are plenty of better options in the local area.

1  Thank Chris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

Four of us booked a table for lunch, we were seated in the round part of the restaurant which is amazing. The level of service was perfect, attentive yet unobtrusive. The food was excellent. We tried the Thornbury Castle vinyard wine which was fantastic - highly recommended. I cant wait for an excuse to go again. The best restaurant for miles.

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    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank Gillian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Tiny portions of main ingredients, with overcooked salmon and venison. See our main review for other information.

Thank Janet61_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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