Nestled in the Cotswold village of Southrop, the boutique hotel Thyme offers something new for discerning weekenders; country house-style dining experiences with noteworthy guest chefs
Words Hannah Hopkins
What’s the concept?
A seasonal series of ‘land to table’ experiences, popping up between now and Christmas and aptly named the ‘Thyme’s Tables Dinners’. Co-hosted by a range of guest chefs, culinary experts and entrepreneurs, you’ll be taken on a gastronomic journey using produce from Thyme’s farm and kitchen gardens in a stunningly restored medieval barn.
What can we expect?
An opulent-yet-intimate setting, the dinners take place at the Chef’s table in Thyme’s magnificent Tithe Barn, where ‘foodies’ and oenophiles are invited to hear and taste the complete story of Thyme’s produce.
Styled like a country house dinner party (but for 40 people), the long tables make for a convivial atmosphere as guests chat and mingle over delectable plates of food. Expect dishes cooked by the likes of Matt Wardman, head chef at Thyme’s award-winning pub The Swan, and founding family member, Charlie Hibbert of London’s Quo Vadis.What’s the food like?
In a nutshell: beautiful ingredients cooked simply – think hearty mutton pie (direct from the estate) with roasted beets, red kale, parsley dressing and rich gravy, partridge with autumn grapes and purslane and cured salmon with sweet pickled courgettes.
Highlights of the upcoming events include ‘For The Love Of The Land – A Winter’s Tale’ – a candle lit supper with paired cocktails and ‘As The Romans Do – A Christmas Feast’ – a Roman-style festive banquet hosted by food interpreter Eleonora Galasso. Regardless of which dinner you go to, you can expect a feast of epic proportions. And the rooms?
Are a mere stumble away from the dining room – ideal after all that food and drink. Take your pick from eight bedroom suites, three cottage suites or two beautifully restored cottages. Privately owned by the Hibbert family, each room has been finished to five-star standards, with supremely comfortable mattresses and beautiful linen, plus Miller & Harris goodies in the bathroom.
Breakfast is also served in the Tithe Barn, where along with the usual pastries and fresh juices, you’ll find homemade granola, freshly baked sourdough with homemade jam and a refreshingly different choice of hot dishes – we loved the cured salmon with poached egg and courgette fritters.What else is there to do?
Delightfully off-the-grid, Southrop village is surrounded by beautiful countryside, ideal for walkers and ramblers. It’s worth borrowing some wellies from the hotel and discovering its vast country estate of 150 acres. Explore their kitchen gardens, take a cookery course in the on-site kitchens and, come evening, retire to ‘The Baa’ for champagne and cocktails.
A dream come true for foodies, Thyme caters to those who want both a weekend away and a memorable meal, where seasonal ingredients and attention to detail are at the heart of what you eat. Akin to a luxury supperclub, it’s also a modern way to get to know those with similar interests.
With whispers of a second dining area (complete with open kitchen), new cottages with outdoor hot tubs and a journey time of only 55 minutes from Paddington, we’re sure we can find an excuse to head back soon.Thyme’s Tables Dinners are taking place on 5th November and 10th December 2016. Prices start from £75 for four courses (excluding wine). Midweek rooms from £260 per night and weekend rooms from £350 per night. For bookings and further information visit thyme.co.uk