Tucked away in the Cotswold village of Armscote, not far from Stratford upon Avon, you’ll find The Fuzzy Duck. On arrival you can’t help but notice the immaculately presented exterior which extends to the beautifully decorated interior. It’s obvious a lot of time, thought and love has gone into this place.
Cosy, warm and like a home from home, the perfect balance has been struck between elegant sophistication and a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. In true country pub style, dogs are welcome and if staying in one of the four snug rooms you’ll also find a selection of wellies and umbrellas for exploring the surrounding countryside.
On arrival to The Fuzzy Duck, were shown to our table which was in the smaller part of the restaurant nestled behind the double aspect log burner. With its muted grey walls, range of artwork and candlelight, this was the perfect setting for a sumptuous dinner for two.
Having placed our food order, our appetiser of marinated olives and mini malted milk & oat loaves was presented, baked fresh in-house daily, with caramelised onion and pork crackling butter (why has no one thought of this combination before?!).
Our starters arrived much to our delight as we were a ravenous duo! The Oxford blue and chicory jam tartlet, beetroot and pine nut salad is a delicious and filling starter. A sweet, fruity flavour balanced nicely with a slight tartness from the beetroot salad. We also sampled the pan fried scallops and Spanish black pudding, pea puree, pork & charred onion crumb and Granny Smith apple. The scallops were cooked perfectly. The delicate texture and flavour of these worked superbly well with the crispiness of the apple and black pudding. If you’re looking for a lighter starter option then this is definitely worth a look.
With our starters demolished in record time, it was on to the main food event. It was tough to choose just two dishes, but in the end, we plumped for the 7oz fillet steak, dauphinoise potatoes, wild mushroom and spinach with confit garlic jus and the slow roasted Lighthorne lamb shank, caramelised shallot creamed potatoes, cavolo nero, confit garlic and rosemary gravy.
For those of you who read my last review you’ll remember my confession about strongly disliking mushrooms. Well, its confession time again! I haven’t eaten steak since I was 19 (trust me, that’s a long time ago!). This isn’t for any particular reason, only for someone who was virtually a veggie for their teenage years and early twenties it was just too meaty.
That said, I thought it was time I gave it another go and I was glad I did. Cooked to a beautifully medium-rare, the meat just melted in the mouth. This isn’t an exaggeration, I actually tried steak at The Fuzzy Duck, for the first time in years, and it was divine. As for the lamb shank, it had an abundance of meat on it that was tender and not too tough and strong flavoured as some lamb can be, in fact, rather delicate in flavour.
Four years ago, The Fuzzy Duck came up for sale. Local brother and sister team, Tania and Adrian, jumped at the opportunity to purchase their local and turn their vision into reality. I;d like to also mention that they also happen to be the owners of Baylis & Harding. No wonder then that throughout The Fuzzy Duck, you’ll discover luxury Baylis & Harding products in the toilets and bedrooms along with Fuzzy Duck exclusive gift packs available to buy. Tania and Adrian have brought the company ethos and luxurious values of Baylis & Harding, incorporating them into The Fuzzy Duck, doing so with great success.
For dessert it was a no-brainer to try the warm, dark chocolate and orange fondant with malt ice cream (are you getting hungry yet?). As all good fondants should be, the middle was luxuriously gooey yet for a chocolate based dessert that was surprisingly light. We also opted for the lemon posset, poached Worcestershire forced rhubarb and pistachio ice cream. The posset was delightfully smooth and silky with a nice zing from the lemon. A perfect end to a wonderful 3-courses.
Head Chef Ben Tynan explains that here at The Fuzzy Duck the team aim to cook to a minimum two Rosette standard. With 18 years’ experience under his belt, he has led the team here for the last 2 and half years. He says, “We just want to be honest with what we do here. It’s now about spreading the word and getting more people to know about us.”
After visiting The Fuzzy Duck with Cotswold Allure Magazine, I would say to anyone looking for somewhere special to eat or sleep, The Fuzzy Duck is certainly worth the visit! After sampling the food here, I can honestly say that we left more than satisfied.