David Howden is not big on slogans or manifestos, but in his smart village pub, the adjacent butcher’s shop, and a nearby farm that supplies both, he and his wife Fiona have created a network of businesses which are a model of holistic, field-to-fork food production. ‘It’s not just that the produce is local that’s of prime importance to us, but that it’s actually ours. Everything grows so quickly, I need to be on the farm twice-a-week to keep on top of it’, says chef Mini Patel, enthusiastically. The farm produces everything from baby carrots to 30-day aged Longhorn beef, and Mini is constantly tweaking his menus in order to use it when it’s in peak condition.
The food served in the Pointer’s restaurant, an elegantly rustic space of exposed beams, whitewashed walls and designer Ercol chairs, is modern British, edged with a globally-aware flair. Bread is delivered to the table in a paper bag and served with a rich beef butter. Established classics such as an Aylesbury duck liver parfait with a cassis-spiked red onion jam, sit alongside main courses where Mini gives full vent to his creativity, like his roast pigeon served with pickled chicory, orange and sumac, a liver parfait and the pigeon’s heart deep-fried in rosemary breadcrumbs. With its comfy nooks and armchairs, the bar is primarily a place to hunker down with a pint of Pointer (by local craft brewers, XT; from £3), but it also serves a casual lunch menu that includes the Pointer’s fantastic burger (£14). On warm days, the pub’s neat beer garden fills up quickly. Later, visitors work lunch off by pottering around the handsome village, exploring Brill’s historic windmill, or on country walks. Famously, Brill is on top of a hill, giving it views on five counties. As Mini says: ‘There’s outstanding beauty wherever you look.’ Restaurant starters from £6, mains from £15; thepointerbrill.co.uk