Pythouse Kitchen Garden is one of a kind. The restaurant is housed in a former outbuilding - possibly once a piggery? - with a side extension that is in effect a giant conservatory. This is at the edge of the parkland surrounding a Palladian mansion. The mansion is not visible from the Kitchen Garden, but its conservatory looks out on a sloping walled garden which runs down to the parkland and some majestic trees. The garden is professionally planted with flowers and produce, much of which is used in the kitchen. Guests can walk the garden, and if they so choose pick their own selections of produce or flowers to take away. Near the cashier point, there is a small selection of high quality local fresh food and some speciality prepared foods for sale.
The furnishings are eclectic. Your table might be created from with an old door or could be a rescue piece. Your crockery will be assembled from a variety of pieces that appear to have been acquired in bric-a-brac shops or house sales. You can eat inside the main building, in the conservatory, or at one of the tables placed at various points in the garden itself. Kids can have free reign in the garden, and there are one or two special diversions for them.
Your meal will be beautifully prepared, focussing on home grown and locally sourced produce. The menu is brief but intriguing. Local meat and poultry may feature, and fish from the Dorset coast, but the salads and vegetables dominate. Some of these are on display in the shop area as you enter. It is an excellent place to take your vegetarian friends without disappointing the carnivores in the party. There is a short but well chosen wine list, with beer and spirits also available, and a wide selection of soft drinks including some not readily found in restaurants.
Altogether a rustic delight. But not necessarily the easiest place to find. Follow brown heritage signs for "Walled Garden" (and local people may think of it under that name more readily than under its trading label) off the A350 Warminster to Shaftesbury road, or from the villages of Tisbury or Semley, and drive those lanes with great care. Also check opening hours before you go. Current (May 2014) trading is 9am to 4pm daily, except Fridays and Saturdays when dinner is also offered. Booking advisable for lunch, probably essential for dinner.
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