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showcasing the best of the south west

Pythouse Kitchen Garden & Cafe: an Idyllic Oasis


Pic credit: all images by Jake Eastham Lunchtime on a hot summer's afternoon. Is it possible to find a more idyllic spot in the South West than the Pythouse Walled Kitchen Garden?

With a stylish new makeover from owner Mitch Earl, Pythouse has become exactly what this remote corner of Wiltshire needed - an all day hangout serving great food in a truly spectacular setting. The garden was always a knock out, of course - the biggest change is to the interior which now houses a deli and wine shop, a cool new conservatory and a light-filled restaurant, both with wood burning stoves. The style is mismatched vintage chic, with lots of Hungarian painted furniture and many of the antiques - dressers, coffee tables, mirrors, even lamps - are on sale. It's a little like Petersham Nurseries except better in my opinion - a new glass wall pours light into the restaurant and the conservatory is now filled with tables affording a view of the wonderful garden. In winter this is where I'll be, warmed up by the fire and a bowl of soup straight from the garden. Or perhaps lounging on one of the French day beds with a coffee and one of those good-looking cakes from the deli.

On one of the summer's most perfect days so far, we sat outside on the terrace with a glass of white wine. Lunchtimes like this are hard to beat. The test of course is in the food and we shared a platter with a little bit of everything from the menu - a gargantuan wooden board with prawn risotto, pan fried chicken livers, ham hock terrine, chorizo and roasted peppers, several kinds of salad and some seriously good bread. I love eating like this a sort of mezze/tapas combo and though there was enough food to invite 2 more random passers-by, it was so good we weren't prepared to share. Puddings (in the interest of research) were wonderful - lemon posset and a moreish chocolate mousse. The best thing about the new-look Pythouse is that it now works on so many levels. Mitch has 2 young children and has always put a strong emphasis on making Pythouse as family friendly as possible. Anywhere with a huge garden is always a good start but there's also a wendy house, a treasure trail and a regularly changing menu of seasonal produce that will keep parents and offspring happy.

You can rock up for a glass of wine and a bowl of olives to check out the sunset (they're always pretty special here) or you can have dinner (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). On Sundays there's all day brunch and top knotch bloody marys - a great idea for those moments when you really don't want a roast. The main thing though with Pythouse is that whether you're in for a quick morning cup of coffee or a full blown dinner with friends, it just is the loveliest place to be.  

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