The Maytime Inn is not a pub you will just stumble across but once you have you will be glad you did.
It had been on our radar for a while so we eventually booked in for a Sunday lunch. I knew it was in the village of Asthall which is somewhere near Burford. Any village within 5 miles of Burford is classed as "near Burford" but I actually had no idea where Asthall was.
We arrived 26 minutes later (the SatNav told us that) and discovered that it was actually just down the road from Swinbrook which is also "near Burford". I wouldn't have guessed it was there at all and even with the SatNav's help, we still managed to miss the first turning into the village but went down the next turning which was actually closer to the pub.
The pub is set on the side of the road near the grass triangle (i very much doubt that is the local term for it) and is surrounded by some beautiful Cotswold stone cottages. We parked in the spacious car park at the rear and for some reason (to take a photo while the sun was out) walked back to the front of the pub and entered through the main door.
It was very busy which is always a good sign. We had done some research before going which involved looking at the menus and pictures on their website (which is due to be updated very soon) but the interior looked different to how I imagined. It was bigger than it looks from the front and there were lots of different areas. The beautiful wooden bar is lined by some wooden topped bar stools under some wonderful oak beams. We naturally headed that way and ordered some pre-dinner drinks. "A Gin & Tonic please" was greeted with "Which Gin would you like?" as the barman handed us a book the size of a small novel with a description of the 104 gins stocked behind the bar. There were some wonderful sounding ones in there but we still opted for Cotswolds.
We were shown to our table next to the window and soon chose our food. Two courses for £21.95 or three for £24.95 which is different to what their website says but still very good value. We opted for Tempura Mussels and a Smoked Mackerel & Leek Tart to start and after hearing that it was cooked pink, two roast beefs for the main.
I had never had Tempura Mussels before but these were delicious especially when dipped in the chilli salt and aioli that accompanied it or the chilli dip that was served with the Mackerel Tart which was equally as good.
On each table there was a general drinks menu that was also like a small novel and full of wines, fine wines, beers, cocktails and anything else you needed to wet your whistle. You can sense the passion that had gone into these menus by landlord Dominic Wood who was just 23 (yes twenty-three!) when he took over the pub.
The beef arrived and was pink like they said it would be and was surrounded by roast potatoes, a parsnip, kale, a Yorkshire Pudding and sat on a pile of carrots, which were discovered after the first cut, and a sea of gravy. I'm no Joey off friends and enjoy sharing but it was refreshing to have a roast come out all on one plate. The beef (that is from WJ Castle's in Burford) was generously served and tender to cut. The horse radish that I had asked for was incredible. By that I mean it cleared my nasal cavities with every dip which is how you want your horse radish.
We had seen Eton Mess on the sample menu on the website but sadly that wasn't on our menu so for dessert we shared a Dark Chocolate Mousse with a brownie base and raspberry gel. It was as good, and less sickly, than it sounds and looks.
The Maytime Inn is a superbly run pub with young staff whose life is made easier by the quality of food being created in the kitchen by head chef Roger Williams. We were sat next to a table of eight so it's a perfect place for groups too.
If you are "near Burford" anytime soon, we highly recommend a visit to The Maytime Inn.
The Maytime Inn, Asthall, (near) Burford, OX18 4HW
Ramblings from The Cotswolds Gentleman.