It was a real no-brainer for my husband and I to opt for The Wheatsheaf in Combe Hay as the perfect venue for our wedding reception and evening meal after our ceremony at The Guildhall on 8th of July 2011. The sophisticated, yet rustic restaurant has been a favourite of ours throughout our entire relationship and many a special meal has been savoured there. With a location that is quaint English countryside without being twee, spectacular views and a beautiful garden to mill about sipping cocktails in – and just a 10 minute drive from the centre of Bath, we knew the setting would prove a perfect backdrop to our upscale yet casual soiree.
That the Heavens opened and let loose an almighty downpour on our wedding day didn’t matter one bit. The Wheatsheaf is as breathtaking inside as it is out. And the food is even better. We hired the restaurant for our exclusive use at a fraction of the cost of what it would have been to rent somewhere of similar calibre in town. The quirky lay-out with a bar area, main dining room and smaller intimate room branching off what is possibly the cosiest ‘snug’ in the world, actually worked to our advantage. Divorced ex-partners and family members didn’t have to sit cheek to jowl during dinner.
The bar area served as the perfect backdrop for pre-dinner drinks and canapes while we had the speeches. The bar staff even learned the art of mojito making just for our party, as that is our tipple of choice. Bite-size delights featuring smoked salmon, roast beef, risotto balls and marinated mushrooms tantalised our guests and were offered up in abundance by the friendly and efficient wait staff. It is worth going to The Wheafsheaf for their heavenly bread basket, which is served alongside local rapeseed oil.
Surprisingly delicious. Our starter was a mint and pea soup which was fresh and light in equal measures. For our main we had breast of guinea fowl dished up with fondant potatoes, cabbage and bacon and a port sauce. Yum to the max – and quite similar to chicken, so a safe bet for catering to a large group without being boring. The star of the evening was the lemon tart and raspberry sorbet we had for desert. I don’t think anyone made a sound during this course, it was so good no one came up for air between bites! I’ve had friends from London tell me they are coming back to Bath if only for another slice of that lemon tart.
The restaurant also offers accommodation so we spent our wedding night in The Barn across the street. It is the kind of room I could happily wake up in every morning for the rest of my life. Special niceties like home-made cookies and a cafetiere illustrate how The Wheatsheaf make everything just that little bit nicer than what you’d expect. The massive bath is a dream. Some of our friends stayed in the rooms which are located just outside the restaurant and were similarly impressed with the impeccable standards. The breakfast is a thing of beauty and if you opt for the yogurt with berries to start you won’t regret it. My husband had the traditional English, which was as far away from that which you’d receive in a greasy spoon cafe as you can get. I had smoked salmon and scrambled egg and nearly wept at its perfection and presentation. The coffee is served with warm milk. Its attention to detail that defies expectation.
I’ve recommended The Wheatsheaf whenever I have the opportunity. I invariably get a variation on this response, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot about that place… I’ve heard good things about it. I should make the effort to go.” ‘Go!’ I tell them! It’s not any more expensive than the restaurants in town and it’s infinitely superior.