An Inspector calls… at the ‘heart-warmingly pretty’ Pear Tree Inn in Wiltshire where he enjoys the garden and an ‘excellent’ dinner (but he doesn’t approve of the knickknacks)
- The Pear Tree Inn is in the village of Whitley, north Wiltshire, not far from the National Trust’s Lacock Abbey
- The 17th-century building has eight rooms – four of which are in a rustic ground-floor annex at the rear
- The Inspector says the property has an attractive garden but is ‘not taken’ by the wine bottles lining the paths
Marco Pierre White’s name was once above the door at the Pear Tree Inn in the village of Whitley, north Wiltshire, not far from the National Trust’s Lacock Abbey.
But it used to be above the door of lots of places, not that he ever cooked anything at most of them. Some of us think Marco hung up his spatulas far too early.
Jackie Cosens (front of house) and Adrian Jenkins (chef) took over in 2014, with eight rooms, four of which are in a rustic ground-floor annex to the rear of the 17th-century building.
The Pear Tree Inn in Whitley, north Wiltshire. It has eight rooms – four of which are in a rustic ground-floor annex to the rear
The Inspector says that his dinner at the Pear Tree Inn was excellent and that his steak was cooked to perfection
And what a heart-warmingly pretty, Bath stone, wisteria-clad building it is, with flagstone floors, a creaking staircase and large dining area divided in two.
The garden is attractive, too. To eat outside in summer must be a quintessentially British morale-booster.
Rooms, all named after pears, are small. Mine, comice, has double-aspect windows and a teeny-weeny bathroom with a chunk of the door cut out so that it can squeeze past the bath.
One of the thick, stone window sills is like an altar and it’s a pity that various knickknacks have been put on it. In fact, there’s clutter all over the Pear Tree.
This picture shows the Inspector’s room – named Comice. He says it ‘has double-aspect windows and a teeny-weeny bathroom’
All of the rooms at the property are named after different types of pear. This one is named Starkrimson
There are vintage toys, large mustard tins with lamps in them, globes, chamber pots, an old suitcase loitering self-consciously and too many signs either telling you what to do or not to do, or trying to be amusing such as ‘sometimes wine is just necessary’. You don’t need props in a place like this.
Dinner is excellent. I’m here on a Sunday when there’s a simpler ‘Sunday Supper’ menu, but it includes a terrific sirloin steak cooked medium rare to perfection.
Dimming the lights a touch would make everything even more convivial, and might put all those knickknacks in the shade.
The Inspector describes his breakfast as a ‘tour de force’. ‘The generous full English is superb,’ he declares
The Inspector writes that he ‘wasn’t taken’ by the empty wine bottles stuck in the ground to line the paths. He adds: ‘The Pear Tree has so much going for it without gimmicks muscling their way into the action’
The Inspector says: ‘The garden is attractive. To eat outside in summer must be a quintessentially British morale-booster’
Breakfast is a tour de force, with Jackie bustling about with energy and efficiency.
The generous full English (one portion will do two nicely) is superb, with a ramekin of baked beans sitting alongside bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, black pudding, potato cake and two sunny fried eggs.
Before leaving, I walk round the garden and admire the vegetable plot, but am not taken by the empty wine bottles stuck in the ground to line the paths.
The Pear Tree has so much going for it without gimmicks muscling their way into the action.
The Pear Tree Inn, Top Lane, Whitley, Wiltshire, SN12 8QX. Contact 01225 704966 or visit peartreewhitley.co.uk. Doubles from £125 B&B.
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