Restaurant Review: Sign Of The Angel

Jules Smee takes a step back in time to enjoy the charms of the 15th century Sign of the Angel in Wiltshire.

Lacock, near Chippenham is an exquisite, higgledy-piggledy village filled with pretty houses from the 18th Century and corners of medieval architecture still in place. It is beautiful, with no street lights, it looks like it’s from a BBC period drama. In fact, this picturesque, historic village has been used as a set for countless films and TV shows from Harry Potter to Downtown Abbey.

The Angel Lacock

Since 1944 The National Trust have owned and managed a large part of village, as well as Lacock Abbey and gardens. This also includes the charming Sign of The Angel, a 15th Century coaching inn which has been beautifully restored and is now a delightful boutique hotel and restaurant.

The Angel Lacock

Sign of The Angel is small and pretty, all whitewashed walls, wonky exposed oak beams, and stone paved hallways. On the ground floor is a restaurant and bar dominated by a wonderfully welcoming open fire. Up the stairs, the floors slope, the ceilings dip and behind old wooden doors are five bedrooms each tastefully decorated to be perfectly in keeping with the 500-year old building.

Our room was cosy and filled by a sumptuous bed with a deep comfy mattress and a mound of duck feather pillows that were utterly inviting. But it was when we spotted the scrumptious homemade cherry chocolate brownies waiting on our tea tray when we knew we were in for a real culinary treat.

The Angel Lacock

Sign of the Angel is centred around it’s food, and offers lunch, dinner and cream teas – all made by the owners from quality, locally sourced ingredients.

Before our first course arrived, the friendly waitress, presented us with some warm homemade breads including one flavoured with a hint of curry that we particularly liked. My starter was an oat and lemon crusted mackerel with beetroot and liquorice that came as a thick inky cream. I’m not a great fan of liquorice but to my surprise it was subtle and complimented the mackerel perfectly.

The main was a melt in the mouth beef wellington with flavoursome wild mushrooms accompanied by a delicious marmalade red cabbage, fondant potatoes and a rich but not overpowering port sauce. For dessert we couldn’t resist ordering more of the divine cherry chocolate brownies – sampled earlier in our bedroom. But it was the elegant strawberry ripple panna cotta that was the showstopper – light and creamy with a buttery shortbread crumb and almonds.

Although dinner was the star of the show, I must take the time to mention the excellent English breakfast – everything on the plate was big and juicy in every way – a fat locally produced sausage, a huge mushroom you could shelter under if it rained and a thick slice of black pudding. A perfect start to a day walking in the Cotswolds or visiting the nearby city of Bath.

The Angel Lacock

Sign of the Angel is not without it’s flaws, much of it to do with the age of the building and the strict building regulations the owners must follow – even a change of door knob must be approved by the National Trust. Our bathroom needed a bit of updating, a fresh lick of paint and some new tiling. But the restaurant closes as 10pm so the noise is kept to a minimum and we did get a very good nights sleep.  However, along with some delicious food, much of Sign of the Angel’s charm is it’s architectural heritage, the cracks, the creeks and the imperfections. The walls and floors must have so many stories to tell, it would be a shame to silence them.

Find Jules on Instagram at @julespr_uk.

Where: 6 Church St, Lacock, Chippenham SN15 2LB
Bookings: To make a reservation, phone 01249 730230 or click here.

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