In January 2018, Jez and Niki Barfoot, the husband and wife team who founded the award-winning and popular Tickled Pig Restaurant in Wimborne are all set to open Abbots Court, an idyllic rural escape in the form of a large Victorian farmhouse with 5 acres of rambling grounds, ideally located between Bournemouth and Dorchester on the outskirts of Winterbourne Kingston.
Jez Barfoot, a MasterChef Semi-finalist, and Niki Barfoot, the front of house face of the business, successfully launched their very own restaurant back in 2012 and subsequent catering business Tickled Pig Events with an ethos of home grown and home reared food, locally sourced and seasonal. From the outset they set up their own kitchen garden and acquired a small herd of Oxford Sandy and Black rare breed pigs. Within a few months they were featured in the Michelin Guide and received great reviews from the likes of food critic Tom Parker Bowles, while the restaurant saw David Cameron and Mary Berry popping in for a visit when they were in the area.
Jez and Niki Barfoot have since created their own brand of unique luxury accommodation where their guests will experience an escape from modern life and a nostalgic trip to a time when things were simple. Owned by the Drax Estate, Abbots Court is a seven bedroom, luxury Bed and Breakfast with dining for guests, glamping (bell tents and shepherds huts), an original walled kitchen garden, livestock (initially pigs and chickens) and five acres of picturesque grounds.
“We’ve waited a long time to find the right place and this project is filled with love and passion,” says Niki Barfoot. “The interior design has been carefully created under the sponsorship and guidance of internationally acclaimed Farrow and Ball whose beautifully hand printed wallpapers and paints adorn the walls. We selected colours and wallpapers that work in harmony with the natural surroundings of the house taking their influence from the beautiful Dorset countryside.”
Jez Barfoot commented, “Our guests will be able to enjoy food picked fresh from the garden as our chefs prepare each meal using locally sourced, seasonal food. Guests can wander freely though the grounds enjoying the peace and quiet as well as relax with the home comforts of bed and breakfast accommodation in a Victorian farmhouse. At the heart of this project is an amazing walled kitchen garden with its newly-built living wall, which I created by hand using wood cleared from the site. The wall will be planted up with luscious heritage heirloom variety salads and a rich variety of fruit and veg.”
Jez and his team of chefs have a passion for producing vegetable dishes that are more unusual than the produce found at the supermarket with more flavour than anything you can get off the shelves. The secret is amazing soil which is rich in minerals and Abbots Court even make their own compost too.
Jez adds, “Our rare breed pigs will have a new home in the woodland behind the farmhouse and we hope to be curing and air drying home reared charcuterie in the cellar in the near future.”
Abbots Court Rural Escape is an exclusive boutique venue offering luxury accommodation with dining and beautiful grounds suitable for midweek escapes, weekend retreats, intimate weddings and private events nestled in the peaceful backdrop of the Dorset countryside.