Weekend retreat: Berwick Lodge
Berwick Lodge, Berwick Dr, Bristol BS10 7TD. Enquiries: 0117 911 2758; email firstname.lastname@example.org; tweet @BerwickLodge
Soak up the atmosphere: The reception staff were friendly and efficient and I was also lucky enough to have a chat with owner Sarah Arikan. Clad in Purple DMsand with a beaming smile, she assured me that the team “just want guests to be comfortable” – no airs and graces here! There’s no dress code, no plummy voices, just good old-fashioned West country hospitality from start to finish. After a walk in the grounds, I settled in the cosy lounge with the papers. Two ladies were enjoying a sumptuous afternoon tea (pictured) so I enjoyed listening to their gossip! Want to know what they were talking about? I’m sorry but Berwick Lodge is as discreet in their service as they are impressive in their appearance. What is said there, stays there! It’s also worth pointing out that the WiFi is excellent and they are very active on social media. Berwick mixes 1890s charm with 2010s tech.
Room with a view: Even the impressive grounds couldn’t prepare me for potentially the most luxurious room I have even encountered. Lydia was known for its gold-carrying river and as such the suite is decorated in the most delicate spun gold fabrics. It’s almost regal in its execution. The queen size bed is made from maple wood and there is a separate seating area plus a balcony with the aforementioned Severn views. The bathroom has an elegant claw-foot bath, walk-in shower and double marbled vanity unit. I ran a hot bath before dinner and felt like royalty – it was deep and filled with fragrant bubbles from the L’occitane toiletries. It set me in the perfect frame of mind for a leisurely dinner; similarly, the power shower was perfect for an energy boost in the morning before an early train home.
A bite to eat: The highlight of my stay was dinner at Hattusa restaurant, which is run by Roux Scholar, Paul O’Neill (pictured) – who I must say is very smiley and accessible for an award-winning chef! There’s no strict dress code and the menu is inventive, utilising local fish and game as well as seasonal veg.
They have more than 200 different wines starting at £19 per bottle or, for the solo dinner like me, you can sample a small glass with each course, threex75ml glasses for £12. My favourite was a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa. The passionate team talk all things wine on Twitter, too – see twitter.com/teoscellar for advice on pairing food and wine.
I’m not a vegetarian but the inventive idea of tomato goat’s curd and pesto salad followed by a beetroot tarte tatin really appealed to me. They were good choices, perfect portion size, tomatoes fresh from the garden and a gentle goat’s curd – it’s more creamy than goat’s cheese. The tarte tatin came with pickled, glazed and crisp beetroot and walnets for that all-important protein.
As I thanked Paul before dessert, he recommended one last bite – a Pistachio and Pecorino cake (pictured), complemented by a Pecorino Crisp, Yoghurt Sorbet, and Honey Truffle. It was light and flavoursome without being overly sweet, with great contrast between the warm cake and cold sorbet, not to mention the added ‘bite’ of the nuts.
You’ll like this if… I would say the set up is best suited to couples and corporate, and it was also a great pampering break for this solo traveller.
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