The Pot Kiln is the sort of country pub that you wished you had visited but somehow the reality always disappoints; not here. The key here is the devotion to high quality produce: the deer and other game on the menu have been shot by the owner, many of the vegetables are grown in the kitchen garden, and the crayfish are caught in traps in the local river. Starters are mostly £6.95, main courses £12.95 - £17.50.
The wine list has good growers such as Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 at £40 for a wine that costs around £16 retail, Chateaut Louis Latour Puligny Montrachet 2002 at a modest £62.50, and at the upper end of the spectrum Chateau Talbot 1994 at £120 for a wine that costs around £40 or so in the shops. The main dining room house is rustic, and in the garden is a wood-fired oven in which pizzas are cooked in the evening. Bread is made from scratch daily, and the white bread in particular had soft texture and proper crust (17/20). My salad of wood pigeon was served with bacon from the nearby farm as well as black pudding, and a balsamic dressing on the salad leaves (14/20). Even better was crayfish bisque, which had a rare intensity of flavour, served with croutons and rouille in the traditional style. The soup itself was thick and well seasoned, tasting strongly of crayfish (16/20).
My pavéof roe deer was cooked carefully and had excellent taste, served with pomme puree and tasty kale grown in the garden, along with a subtle peppercorn sauce (15/20). A dessert of blackurrant mousse with elderflower sorbet was pleasant but could have done with a texture contrast beyond the token crumble (12/20), and in general desserts were not in the same league as the rest of the meal. However the attention to the detail in the savoury courses, and the quality of the produce, would shame many a grander restaurant. Service was friendly and the atmosphere relaxed. A lovely place; it is the sibling of the superb Harwood Arms.