It’s great being able to go out for for Sunday lunch again.
There’s plenty of places you can visit including pubs, restaurants and cafes.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit out of the ordinary though, there’s one Leicestershire venue that could be perfect.
Wedding venue Bridge House Barn at Kibworth Harcourt has been temporarily transformed into a pop-up tipi pub which, as well as being open for drinks on a Friday and Saturday, is also serving Sunday lunch each weekend until the end of September.
The opportunity to eat lunch in a tipi tent was too good to pass up, especially when it’s in such a scenic spot. So, along with my family, I paid a visit.
Next to the Grand Union Canal, Bridge House Barn is an idyllic venue, which is usually only open for weddings and events.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of this year’s wedding bookings have been postponed until 2021.
Therefore, owner Emma Tilley came up with the brilliant idea to temporarily transform the waterfront venue into a pop-up tipi pub, giving guests the rare chance to dine and drink in a tipi.
There’s three sittings available on a Sunday – 12pm until 2pm, 2.30pm until 4.30pm and 5pm until 7pm – and we went for the earliest option.
You do need to book in advance, and provide your menu choices in advance as well.
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Arriving at the venue, there was plenty of room to park, in a field adjacent to the tipis. We then followed the signs to the entrance, where we were greeted by the friendly host, who ticked us off the list and showed us into the tipi, or rather tipis, which are all joined together to create one big space.
There are 12 socially distanced tables in the tipis, and about 20 outside the tipis and on the decking area around the bar.
It was raining heavily on the day of our visit, so we were glad we’d booked a table inside – and in fact, everyone else seemed to have done likewise.
The inside of the tipis were beautifully decorated, with fairy lights and flowers, and empty Hendricks gin bottles were on each of the tables, holding a wooden spoon bearing the table number.
A member of the bar staff took our drink order and gave us a Test and Trace form to fill in, while the host let the kitchen know that we were ready for our food.
Food at Bridge House Barn is provided by Zest Catering, and the Sunday lunch menu changes each week.
It costs £18.50 for two courses or £21.00 for three courses for adults, and £7.50 for two courses or £10 for three courses for children, who choose from the same menu.
The menu for the day of our visit featured starters of panko crumbed brie wedges, pressed chicken and duck terrine, and prawn and crab cocktail.
I had been tempted by the prawn and crab cocktail, but we decided to go for two courses each – opting for main and dessert, which, as previously mentioned, all had to be ordered in advance.
For his main course, Simon picked the roast sirloin of beef, while I liked the sound of the pan fried fillets of sea bass – especially as it was accompanied by a moules mariniere sauce.
The boys both chose the roast breast of turkey.
The other main course option available was sweet potato, cashew nut and sunflower seed tartlet.
Desserts available were Eton mess cheesecake, summer fruit and apple crumble, chocolate and raspberry mousse, and a cheeseboard (£2 supplement).
I felt sure I’d be in the mood for some chocolate, so ordered the mousse, whilst Simon picked the cheesecake, as did my youngest son. My eldest son opted for the crumble.
Soon after our drinks arrived, the main courses were swiftly brought over to our table, and they all looked very good, with neat presentation and decent-sized portions.
The boys happily tucked into their roast dinners, which included very tasty homemade Yorkshire puddings, crispy roast potatoes and a slice of sage and onion stuffing.
The turkey breast was lean, with a lovely buttery taste.
My eight year-old said he liked everything on his plate (although that was before we encouraged him to add on some of the vegetables!)
The vegetable selection comprised carrot batons, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, which were cooked just right for our liking, retaining a bit of bite.
Simon was impressed with his roast beef, which was full of flavour, and I was wowed by my sea bass.
The fish, with its slightly sweet flavour, had been beautifully cooked to deliver soft flesh and a crispy skin, and the flavour was enhanced by the delicious moules mariniere sauce.
I really enjoyed the pea puree, which had a hint of mint, and the potato dauphinoise was superb. In fact, I could have done with double the amount.
I offered a bit to my boys and they liked it so much that they proceeded to eat most of it (they did give me some of their turkey in exchange though!).
The desserts all looked delicious – although, as the waitress approached it took me a moment to remember what I’d ordered more than a week earlier.
Of course, it was the chocolate and raspberry mousse, which was delightfully rich. The raspberries and pistachios added a dash of colour, and the almond biscuits and chocolate tuile were tasty additions to the plate.
My eldest son enjoyed his crumble, and said it had a good variety of fruit including raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and apple, and there was plenty of accompanying custard. His only slight complaint was that he would have liked a bit more of the yummy crumble topping!
The Eton mess cheesecake had a nice creamy topping and thick crumbly biscuit base. Plus the strawberry sorbet was very good. We did feel, though, that the topping could have done with a bit more flavour. Also, we were surprised there wasn’t any meringue on the plate, with this being one of the main components of an Eton mess.
These are minor details though, as overall, this was a very good meal.
Well this certainly was a Sunday lunch with a difference. After all, where else can you enjoy a roast in a tipi?!
We were impressed by the food and the service, as well as the beautiful surroundings.
It all adds up to a very enjoyable Sunday lunch experience that is different to anything else in the county. At £57 for two courses and a drink each for the four of us, I reckon it offers good value for money.
If you want to try it for yourself you’ll have to be quick as it’s only available until the end of September.
Our rating: 4/5
Food hygiene rating: 5/5 (Zest Catering)