The Battleaxes, Wraxall: Review

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The Battleaxes - Exterior

 

Those of you who know me will know that I have a slight obsession with entering competitions…and I’ve not done too badly in terms of prizes over the last year either! Among said prizes was a one night’s stay at The Battleaxes in Wraxall – somewhere we’ve been meaning to visit for a while as the food looks fantastic.

Owned by the Flatcappers group, who also own the Castle Inn in Bradford-on-Avon, The Battleaxes is now a far cry from the run down pub it used to be before the group took over. With its beautiful dining area, pub lounge, two function rooms and garden there’s something for everyone – and with six guest rooms upstairs, it’s a great place to escape and relax for a weekend.

We were greeted by manager Karen when we arrived – a bright and bubbly host who is obviously passionate about the pub. Leading us up the stairway to the left of the front door, we were concerned by how tatty the upstairs corridor looked…but our room – room five – was a completely different matter.

With sumptuous brown walls and well-lined brown curtains, a huge, comfortable bed, a springy brown carpet, bedroom five also features a wall of beautiful Art Deco wallpaper and other Art Deco style touches – a world away from the slightly tatty corridor outside.

There were plenty of plug sockets (on one side of the bed), a hairdryer and two extra pillows in the wardrobe (bringing the total in the room to six), and a flat screen television attached to the wall opposite the bed. We were also provided with a hospitality tray with a proper kettle – not just a travel version – a cafetiere and ground coffee (both caffeinated and decaf), two bottles of water and glasses, and two mugs filled with teabags and sugar. Having given up caffeine a few years back, it was a shame not to see decaf tea on the tray, but Karen kindly went out and bought some after I asked.

 

The Battleaxes - Bedroom

 

The bedroom was impressive enough…and then we walked through to the bathroom. For a start, it was bigger than our master bedroom at home – truly amazing! Twin sinks and a large double entry walk in shower were backed by 3D effect tiles, and the centrepiece was the large freestanding bath, which is easily big enough for two. The bathroom of bedroom five also includes a bookcase, with plenty of reading material if you get bored. The only downside was that the towels provided were a little scratchy.

 

The Battleaxes - Bathroom

 

After taking a little time out to relax, we spent the afternoon walking around nearby National Trust property Tyntesfield, which is just a 10 minute (uphill) walk or a short drive away.

In the evening, it was back to The Battleaxes for an evening meal, starting with a drink at the well-stocked bar. Beer drinkers can choose from Stella, Estrella, Butcombe, Cheddar Ales’ Gorge Best or Bath Ales’ Darkside on draught, along with the group’s own Flatcappers Ale. In bottles, the selection includes Leffe, Bitcurger, San Miguel and more. Cider fans have a choice of Bath Ales’ Bounders or Stowford Press on draught, or Wyld Wood in bottles, while there is also an extensive wine list, a wide range of spirits and soft drinks from the likes of Fentimans and Orchard Pig.

Drinks in hand, we headed to our table to peruse the dinner menu, put together by head chef Ash Haskins. With stints at Bristol restaurants such as Harvey Nichols Second Floor under his belt, the young head chef has created a menu for The Battleaxes that includes a range of pub classics, but with some unique touches.

I chose a starter from the daily specials list, namely the blue cheese arancini with beetroot puree and a rocket and walnut pesto (£5.95). Beautiful. The mini arancini were cooked perfectly, oozing with blue cheese, the beetroot puree was fresh and earthy, and the pesto full of flavour.

 

The Battleaxes - Blue Cheese Arancini

 

For Chris, the whitebait (£5.75), served with lemon, aioli and a mixed leaf salad: the fish cooked well with the lightest of batters, the aioli packing a punch. The portion size was possibly a little too generous, considering our choice of main…

 

The Battleaxes - Whitebait

 

We both ordered the same main course, namely the beef burger (£9.95) with bacon and Stilton (an extra 95p each). The burger itself seemed pretty well cooked on first glance, but turned out to be juicy and beautifully seasoned. The bacon and Stilton were generous, the chips lovely and salty, the side salad and gherkin adding a fresher note to the board. We loved the presentation too.

 

The Battleaxes - Beef Burger

 

Too full for dessert, we headed up to our room for the evening. After a great night’s sleep (those curtains really were well lined!), we headed downstairs to the pub for breakfast. Served between 8am and 12pm (pretty impressive!), breakfast is available to both residents and non-residents, and is included in the room price for those who stay. The dining area quiet at the time we ate, it gave us a chance to have more of a look around at our beautiful surroundings, while enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a hot drink.

 

The Battleaxes - Interior

 

We both decided to go for the Flatcappers Breakfast (£6.95) – essentially a full English with a sausage, Heinz baked beans, hash browns, black pudding, half a grilled tomato, button mushrooms, smoked back bacon and a fried egg, all served on a piece of toast and with our choice of sauces. No complaints here whatsoever: the sausage was of great quality, unlike the cheap and flabby alternatives that many places serve, the egg yolk was perfectly runny and nothing was greasy…we were happy!

 

The Battleaxes - Breakfast

 

A full English may not have been the best idea, as we’d also been asked to review The Battleaxes’ Sunday lunch offering as part of our stay…and it was sizeable! The Sunday roasts are all priced at £11.95, with the option of 2 courses for £15.95 or 3 for £19.95. All roasts are served with seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes and gravy, with a choice of beef, pork, chicken, sea bream or a mixed bean and nut roast – as well as a choice of alternative, non-roast main courses.

For me, the roast Royal Windsor pork, perfectly cooked and complete with a slice of crackling that had a decent bite but was still tender enough not to warrant a trip to the dentist! The potatoes were crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, the gravy was rich and the homemade Yorkies absolutely spot on.

You’ll see from the second picture below that the portion of vegetables that we were given was enormous – and this was only for two people! There’s no denying that both quality and quantity warrant the £11.95 price tag at all.

 

The Battleaxes - Sunday Lunch

The Battleaxes - Sunday Lunch Veg

 

We were encouraged to have dessert…and waistbands bulging, we opted for one to share. The sticky toffee pudding was lovely and dense, served with a sticky and sweet butterscotch sauce and a fantastic homemade pecan ice cream, full of tiny pieces of the nut itself.

 

The Battleaxes - Sticky Toffee Pudding

 

And on that note, ready for a mid-afternoon nap, we made the trek back to Bristol. By car, it’s an easy journey – but if you’re restricted to public transport, there is a bus stop just up the road, or you can take a train to Nailsea & Backwell station, followed by a 10 minute taxi ride to the pub. For us, it was well worth the train/taxi combination: a beautiful place to stay, some amazing food and a long awaited trip to Tyntesfield all married up to make a fantastic weekend. Highly recommended.

 

Please note: the overnight stay was a competition prize and the Sunday lunch was received free of charge for review, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site. We paid for our dinner and drinks. 

 

 

One Response to The Battleaxes, Wraxall: Review

  1. Pingback: Relaunch for The Battleaxes after extensive refurbishment - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

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