Parva Farmhouse, Tintern: hotel review
Make this gourmet bed-and-breakfast your home for the night, tucking into hearty venison pies and sipping Wye Valley gin
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Parva Farmhouse in a nutshell
Gourmet bed-and-breakfast where the cooking is as impressive as the views of the mighty River Wye.
Some might call this three-storey farmhouse a restaurant-with-rooms, on the grounds that it’s the food that’s the standout here – chef-owner Roger Brook previously headed the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree Inn near Abergavenny and has already been awarded a Michelin plate at Parva Farmhouse. But Roger and his wife, Marta, prefer to call it a gourmet bed-and-breakfast to emphasise that this is a small, friendly place run without fuss (Roger does the cooking while Marta hosts). Whatever you call it, it’s well worth making a detour to.
Which room should I book at Parva Farmhouse?
The 17th-century roadside building was once a farmhouse but in recent decades had been run as a bed and breakfast. When the couple bought it the décor was a little tired (think varnished reproduction antiques and granny-style wallpaper). Having refurbished the ground-floor restaurant and lounge, Roger and Marta are now working through the eight bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. We loved Room 4, tucked at the end of the corridor on the top floor, with fabulous river views. Although some of the inherited furniture remains, it’s now partnered with a contemporary bed, soothing moss-green walls and bed throws, and stylish lamps.
The food and drink
Anyone who tasted Roger’s accomplished dishes at The Walnut Tree (where he worked under Shaun Hill, and before that, Stephen Terry and Franco Taruschio) will know that his style of cooking is modern British, albeit using classic French techniques. Dinners, available Wednesdays to Saturdays, are served in the property’s simple 16-cover dining room (open to non-residents, too). There are two choices per course and menus are changed fortnightly, though guests staying for more than one night are offered alternatives. Ingredients are scrupulously sourced and fiercely seasonal so, in winter, expect teal, or venison loin served with red cabbage, celeriac puree and a pie stuffed with venison shoulder, mushrooms and chestnuts. Middle white pork from nearby Huntsham Court Farm might also feature. Starters when we visited were a choice between crab and scallop bisque or pumpkin-stuffed pierogi with sage butter; both were terrific.
Choose something to sip along with it from a carefully researched list of international wines or make your pick from more local options; Wye Valley gin, Blanc de Blancs (produced at Ancre Hill vineyard near Monmouth) or ales from neighbouring Kingstone Brewery.
The significant bonus of having a one-man-band in the kitchen is that Roger cooks breakfast, too, offering imaginative spins on the usuals. Start with one of his smoothies, homemade granolas or delicious fruit compotes then move on to spicy baked haricot beans with streaky bacon and fried duck egg on grilled sourdough.
What else can foodies do?
First stop has to be Tintern Abbey, the magnificent ruined 13th-century Cistercian abbey down the valley. If you enjoy walking, there are multiple trails along the Wye in both directions; a nice destination is Brockweir, with its Moravian church and award-winning farmshop (home to a café). Join a brewery tour at the Kingstone micro-brewery, or join a tour and tasting at Parva vineyard, right opposite the farmhouse. For a gourmet dining alternative to the Parva Farmhouse, Michelin-starred The Whitebrook is 10 minutes’ drive away.
Is it family friendly?
Yes. Marta and Roger have kids of their own so understand what they need. There’s just one room with a double and single, but beds can be added to any of the rooms if you advise in advance. Cots and high chairs are also available, and Roger is happy to adapt portion sizes for young diners.
Make sure you try Roger’s homemade shortbreads (provided in the bedrooms) and the tea and homemade orange and almond cake served by the fire in the afternoons.
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Words and photographs by Clare Hargreaves