The Barley Mow
Looking for a charming family-friendly pub and a wondersome walk? Look no further, than The Barley Mow, Englefield Green.
THE LOWDOWN / LOCATION
You’ll find the Barley Mow in the well-heeled village of Englefield Green, near Egham. The south-eastern corner of Great Windsor Park is a stone’s throw away.
The pub overlooks the Englefield Green and feels a lot of local love. Walk the dog on the green and pop in for a coffee or tipple? Don’t mind if I do.
So lovely that every village or town should have one. Pretty please. The team at The Barley Mow sure makes it look easy. There’s lots of exposed brick, wooden beams, comfy upholstery and easy-on-the-eye splashes of dark teal and moody grey paint.
It’s not a massive pub – but the different zones cater for different moods. A bar across the front, merging into a cosy snug area which opens out, down a few stairs, onto the bright and light brasserie at the back.
The pub underwent a total refurb in 2016, with the addition of the brasserie – but the new blends so seamlessly with the old you’d be hard-pressed to know it was an addition if I hadn’t told you! The brasserie opens, via three sets of French doors, onto a private and secure garden at the back.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Part of the Raymond Blanc White Brasserie Company, the food standard is already high at The Barley Mow. Food is seasonal al la carte. There’s a mix of traditional French classics (moules marinière, snails, Bœuf Bourguignon) and British favourites (Cornish beef burger, gammon steak, pie of the week).
I love fish, and there is a good choice here. Although on when I came for lunch, I started with a vegan alternative of Vietnamese summer rolls with vermicelli noodles, avocado, carrots, mint, cucumber and coriander pesto with a ginger soy dipping sauce. My dad-in-law was my scoffing partner in crime and he went for the Pea, broad bean and red pepper salad – and I can honestly say I’d have been really happy with either of these with their fresh green ingredients.
Moving on to mains I went for the Malabar fish curry with toasted coconut, grilled king prawn, shallot crisps and coconut rice – and I’ve got to be honest, this was sublime. The king prawn was full of flavour and the curry was a coconutty and yum. My FIL went for the Grilled cod with preserved lemon, squid ink risotto and chilli squid, which I admit I’ve had at one of the other White Brasserie Co pubs – and he wasn’t disappointed.
As is so often the case when I’m out for lunch, I intend to skip the puds. But the selection here is all rather tempting, and so – piggy that I am – I ordered the coconut rice with minted passionfruit coulis and mango sorbet, all finished off with a coconut crisp. It was delicious. My FIL went for the Pistachio soufflé, which looks enormous, but isn’t as filling as it looks like it should be.
That enclosed garden is pretty ideal for keeping little ones contained, and there’s a relaxed and welcoming family friendly vibe. There’s a dedicated junior menu for bigger kids, as well as the Henri le Worm children’s menu for little ones. If you’ve got a buggy or pram, there are a few steps down from the bar and snug area to the main dining room at the back, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem and the space is fairly open and not cramped once you’re there.
OUT & ABOUT
The big draw is the majestic 200ha Windsor Great Park (the Bishopsgate entrance is a few hundred metres down the road) – which is the perfect spot for a pre or post lunch walk with friends, family and the dog. Historic Runnymede is also on the doorstep. And of course, Legoland is also quite close.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Families, friends, Sunday lunchers, casual bar drinkers, dog walkers,
Not for: Spur-of-the-moment Sunday lunch. You can drop in for a pint, a packet of peanuts and the paper, but if you’re planning to eat and there are a few of you, I’d suggest you book ahead.
The damage: Starters in the £5.50-£8.50 range. Mains start at £10.95 for the vegetarian chilli pie, rising to £15.50 for my the Malabar fish curry or £23.90 for a fillet steak. Puds are £6-£8. Kids’ menu is £6.95 for a main, side and dessert.
Barley Mow Road, Englefield Green, TW20 0NX. Tel: 01784 480 210. barleymowenglefield.com