Since then, I’ve been following them on social media and the food has been looking increasingly good. I didn’t make it to a recent Christmas preview event – which, by the way, looked amazing – so I made a point of returning for a full review to see what I’d missed.
Arriving in Brill is always a pleasant experience. Winding country roads and picturesque countryside lead to the quaint village with triangular ‘square’, drawing you round towards The Punter. The much-photographed Brill Windmill resides a few bends away, looking out towards Boarstall.
The pub itself is well-groomed. A modern pub sign, red brick walls and bluey-grey painted woodwork present the frontage, while inside the decor screams home comfort. Mix and match wooden furniture and upholstery greet you snuggly with brick fireplaces and wood burners within. Art on the walls is heavily butchery based, offering a nod towards the adjoining butcher’s shop under the same brand.
Seated at a window table in the front bar, my dining companion, Liza, and I ordered drinks and perused the menus. A set pub classics menu offered the standard fish and chips, burger, ham and egg or sausage and mash for £15-17, none of which sounded particularly standard. The lunch menu offered four starters and five mains, varying from £9-15 for a starter, and £20-30 for a main – the top end of that being Chilton Farm Angus ribeye steak with beef dripping chips, wild mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes and bernaise.
Deciding on sharing a Pointer charcuterie board as a starter, Liza chose pheasant breast for main (£24), which came with cabbage and bacon, mashed potato and celeriac puree, while I plumped for the fillet of ling with mussel and saffron bouillabaisse (£24).
While we waited for our food to arrive, we were gifted with a pegged brown bag and a slate of brown butter. The bag turned out to have fresh bread within, and the butter to be of the beef dripping variety! Cue some rather delighted groans.
The charcuterie board was excellent, with pickled onion, salami, cured beef, and n’duja – a spicy, spreadable salami that happens to be a favourite of mine.
Alongside the charcuterie we were served some toasted sourdough, perfect for mopping things up with and well placed for the moment I dipped into one of the big yellow blobs, not quite realising they were English mustard until it was too late. I eat loads of mustard at home, but these looked like cheffy blobs of (less punchy) sauce, so caught me out well and truly.
On with the mains within a reasonable time. Liza’s breast of pheasant looked exceptionally pleasing, with a really good jus and mashed potato in a perfectly piped beehive. She offered not a bite of it to try, so I know it was special.
My fish dish was delicious. Half a fennel bulb was topped with a nice chunky piece of ling, served with three saffron potatoes and an equal number of plump mussels, all dressed in a rich bouilabasse sauce.
We didn’t have much room for dessert, but we soldiered on with the lightest choices we could find – a lemon slice for me and ice cream for Liza.
Liza was beyond excited to find out that the ice cream came with a brandy snap. A really good brandy snap too. I actually don’t think I’ve ever seen her that excited. My lemon slice was a lemon tart without the outer crust, with a silky smooth filling that held just enough tang and slim pastry bottom with no sogginess to be found. And… a brûlée’d top. Heavenly.
We had a cracking time at The Pointer and would happily recommend it for the polished food, professional service and beautiful setting. The pub now has some rooms for hire too, so if you fancy a stay in the countryside or a little weekender, then this could be a great one to try.
Perfect for: leisurely lunches, Sunday roasts, overnighters, cosy dinners, groups, foodies and kids (they have a lovely changing station in the ladies loos).
We dined as guests of The Pointer