We visit Tyntesfield several times a year, as it is close to where we live, and justifies our family NT membership on its own. The gardens are extensive and beautifully tended, and the woodlands and play areas are a delight for our 12 year old daughter and 14 year old son. We've visited the house previously, and it's fascinating. Great Gothic architecture and friendly volunteers who are happy to pass on their knowledge of the Gibbs family and the often quirky collections of their belongings that still reside in the house. The chapel is a not-to-be-missed highlight. Today, though, my wife and I lunched at the Cow Barn Restaurant for the first time, while the children played in the woods. If you're ordering hot food, you don't need to queue with a tray - just select your drink from the range of local(ish) bottled ales and ciders and go straight to the till. The food is brought to your table when it's ready. There's a good selection of home cooked food and all dishes aim to contain one ingredient from the estate, be it vegetable, herb, cheese etc. There are no chips, and no 'mix and match' side order type options: just a good range of meals from which to choose. I had a trio of meaty sausages with bubble and squeak and onion gravy. It was lovely, but I almost wish I'd chosen my wife's lentil moussaka with Greek salad, which was beautifully tasty and fresh. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and retains some original features of the barn - sunlight pours through timbered beams and the cattle pens now form snugs where a number of tables are located. The only downside was that the drinking glasses are plastic, which I don't like, but that's a very minor quibble. Prices are not cheap, but are pretty reasonable for the standard of ingredients and cooking - my sausages were £8.95 and I'm sure you could pay quite a bit more than that in a gastro pub. The menu is well thought out in that there are a lot of one-pot and slow-cooked dishes, so you get freshly cooked, hot food very quickly without having to wait for it to be cooked to order. We'll definitely go again.
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