I'm not going to lie, a Sunday roast is one of my favourite things in the world and it annoys me when people start meddling with it. But, and it's a big but, this was until we experienced 'Wellington Sunday' at the Lygon Arms in Broadway.
I'm usually a roast beef kind of person when I'm out and a pork or chicken person when at home. I would be a beef person at home if I were more organised to go to the butchers and always struggle to find a nice joint at the supermarkets so chicken and pork it is. Although we were there for the Wellington, the Waghorne’s (a local butcher, not a type of cow) 30 day aged sirloin, beef dripping roast potatoes was still very tempting.
The dining room at The Lygon is beautiful not matter where you sit and at 2.30pm it was still relatively busy with people trickling in. I started forming a "most beautiful dining rooms in the Cotswolds" list in my head but could only think of another three as good.
Not knowing the size of the Beef Wellington we decided to share a twice baked cheese soufflé. I'm not sure there is a better starter when it's done well, and this one was pretty good.
With just a gravy jug as company, the showpiece arrived as red as the 1st Duke of Wellington's uniform and just how we imagine Arthur Wellesley would have wanted it two centuries ago. The beef dripping roast potatoes were very good too. In a world where everyone compares a restaurant or pub roast spud to ones they have at home, these were definitely better than mine and I could have easily had another one, or two... or three.
After another wine and anther gin it was time to leave. I'm not used to this lunchtime feeding but could definitely get used to it if it's as good as this.
I might just book again next Sunday.
Price: Twice baked cheese soufflé, garden salad, £11. Scottish beef Wellington, £27
The Dormy House Hotel will be launching two new restaurant concepts opening in February.
The Garden Room will become The Back Garden, a celebration of the finest ingredients from the Cotswolds including high-welfare rare-breed meats, veg grown in our own gardens and responsibly cultivated grains, all sourced and served in tune with the rhythms of nature.
On top of that they are building a brand new restaurant, MO. that will offer a unique, interactive 7-course tasting-menu experience to just 12 guests at a time. They will showcase creative cooking, unexpected ingredients, forward-thinking culinary techniques, and just a hint of food theatre, again with sustainability and seasonality at centre-stage. At MO you’ll never eat the same menu twice.
For more information and to book, click HERE.
The Stereophonics are the latest band confirmed to play Forest Live this summer.
They will be coming to Westonbirt Arboretum on Thursday 23rd June 2019.
You can find all information here - www.forestryengland.uk/music/stereophonics-westonbirt-arboretum
This week saw us launch out Top 50 Pubs in the Cotswolds guide.
We are spoiled for choice when it comes to great pubs and this list was incredibly hard to complile. We hope you enjoy visiting many of these throughout the year!
The Queen's New Year Honours List was published last night and there is recognition for many people in the Cotswolds.
DCVO (Royal Victorian Order)
Susan Louise Wigley, CVO Lady in Waiting to The Duchess of Gloucester.
RVM (Royal Victorian Medal)
Karen Jayne Buckle Cook Highgrove House.
Marlene Jones Housekeeping assistant Highgrove House.
Richard Scudamore Executive chairman Premier League. For services to Football
Steven Scott McCarthy Minister of Defence Materiel British Defence Staff Washington. For services to Defence.
Richard Boggis-Rolfe Chairman National Employers Advisory Board. For voluntary service to the Armed Forces Reserves
Dr Charles Edward MacDonald Foster Reader in Physical Activity and Public Health Bristol University. For services to the Promotion of Physical Activity.
Clare Denise Gibbs Strategic Partnering manager Cabinet Office. For public service.
Susan Glover Durrell Consultant Physiotherapist Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. For services to Physiotherapy
Alan George Head Chairman Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Squadrons, RAF Air Cadets. For voluntary service to Young People.
Helen Andrews Operations manager Bristol, Civil and Family Justice Centre, HM Courts and Tribunal Service. For services to Justice and the community in Bristol and Cheltenham.
Charles Patterson Reed For services to Disabled People in Sport.
Maureen Loxley Price Integrity Operator Tesco plc and Trade Union Representative, Usdaw. For services to the Retail Sector and to Trade Unions.
Peter John Leonard Nixon For services to Conservation and to the National Trust.
Elisabeth Mary Skinner Academic Leader Society of Local Council Clerks. For services to Parish Councils.
BEM (British Empire Medal)
Joy Hibbins Founder Suicide Crisis. For services to Vulnerable People.
Mary Elizabeth Doreen Robinson For services to Music in the community in Blockley. Gloucestershire.
Hamish Robert Thompson Technical Services Officer Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. For services to Firefighter Safety.
Is this the perfect cocktail for Christmas morning? We think so!
The clever folk at The Cotswolds Distillery have created A Very Merry Berry which is full of flavours from the hedgerow, which dance on the bubbles of the Champagne.
25ml Cotswolds Distillery Hedgerow Gin
15ml fresh cranberry juice
HOW TO CREATE
Pour measures of Hedgerow Gin and cranberry juice into a Champagne flute and top up with Champagne, gently stir and serve.
Woodkraft, the latest venture from 2015 MasterChef champion Simon Wood, opened today on Regent Street in Cheltenham today.
Offering the best seasonal and local produce, Woodkraft will be serving brunch, lunch and Sunday sharing roasts in a relaxed and informal setting.
Their basement and first floor dining areas can be available for private hire and for exclusive use for larger groups. For exclusive hire and private events, their normal opening times do not apply.
Check them out - woodkraftcheltenham.com
It was a different picture a year ago today as the Cotswolds sat under a blanket of wonderful deep snow, turning it into a magical winter wonderland.
Will we get a repeat this this winter?
The Beach Boys have been confirmed as Sunday night headliners at the Cornbury Festival in 2019.
The festival takes place on the 5th, 6th and 7th July at Great Tew Park.
Six pubs in the Cotswolds have been named in the Top 100 cosiest in Britain in a list compiled by the Daily Mail food and drink critics, Tom Parker Bowles and Olly Smith.
Here are the pubs and what the pair had to say about them.
The Bell Inn, Selsey
A classic 16th-century Cotswold boozer with local ales and nearly 100 different kinds of gin. The food ranges from pub classics right through to a decent Sunday roast. If you’re staying, the breakfast is pretty splendid too.
The Red Lion, Cricklade
A 16th-century pub with a flower-strewn façade that brews its own beer. You can’t get much more local than that. And they’re good beers too, served up in the sort of pub made to linger in all afternoon. Snack on homemade Scotch eggs and pasties, or get stuck into Wiltshire ham and free-range fried eggs.
The Woolpack, Slad
This pub has one of the prettiest views in Britain, looking over the luscious Gloucestershire valley made famous by Laurie Lee in Cider With Rosie. This was his boozer too, and it’s a classic. There’s a piano that springs into action most nights, as well as a small bar, a fire and really excellent food.
The Ebrington Arms, Ebrington
With its own Yubby beer, snug luxuriant rooms to stay in and dishes that deliver endless satisfaction, it’s hard to leave this country gem once you step through the door. Beams, firelight, food that celebrates local glory and brilliantly brewed beer – this is among the very best of British pubs.
Old Green Tree, Bath
Get to this tiny beer paradise early to grab a seat by the fire – it’s small but perfectly formed. Expect wood panelling and a beer selection to thrill. Try the roast beef sandwich and enjoy conversing with whoever you sit nearest. Blissfully free of distractions, this place is magic in miniature.
The Royal Oak, Whatcote
Very much a local pub, albeit a rather smart one. But chef owner Richard Craven is one hell of a chef. Expect game in season, from roe deer tartare to pheasant with snails. Home-made bread comes with dripping butter, and there’s excellent fish too.
For the full list, visit www.dailymail.co.uk
Tears For Fears have been confirmed to play at Blenheim Palace on Saturday 22nd June 2019 as part of the Nocturn Live events.
They will be supported by White Lies & Scritti Politti.
For tickets visit nocturne.seetickets.com/tour/nocturne-live
L'anatra Italian Kitchen in Bourton on the Water has launched Tapas Tuesdays.
Enjoy 2 courses and 1 drink for £15, 4 courses and 2 drinks for £25 or choose from the menu.
The feasting night takes place all day (12pm - 9pm) every Tuesday.
The Cotswolds Distillery has launched its latest product, a 60.9% "Founder's Choice" cask strength single malt whisky comes from distillery founder Dan's favourite casks: their shaved, toasted and recharred American Oak red wine barriques.
These uniquely active casks were developed by the diestilleris' good friend, the late Dr Jim Swan, to give a rich and intense maturation to our fruity new make spirit. The casks draw the absolute best from the wood and provide the perfect conditions for maturing whisky, giving a balance and depth of flavour that would normally be associated with much older whiskies.
Tasting notes: Rich and full-flavoured: dark chocolate, cherries & dried figs, oak spice.
Lots of hotels from the Cotswolds have made it into The Sunday Times Top 100 list that was published today.
The Bell at Langford came out on top with it's food, atmosphere and value for money all being recognised.
Here are all the others that made the list;
The Painswick, Painswick
No 38 The Park, Cheltenham
Foxhill Manor, Broadway
Artist Residence Mason Arms, South Leigh, Nr Whitney
The Kings Head Inn, Bledington
The Fish Hotel, Broadway
Soho Farmhouse, Great Tew
The Lygon Arms, Broadway
Grove Lodge, Bath
Cowley Manor, Nr Cheltenham
You can see the lists that include hotels from our region by clicking the links below.
Cotswolds Distillery has secured a nation-wide listing in Waitrose & Partners for its whisky.
Released in exactly a year ago, the Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky has already accumulated an impressive nine medals and awards in its first 12 months. Each bottle lists the barley variety, harvest year and local Cotswolds farm it was grown on.
Described as a rich and fruity single malt, it has been aged in a combination of first-fill ex-Bourbon casks and specially shaved, toasted and re-charred red wine barriques.
The whisky, which recently took Gold at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition and two stars at the Great Taste Awards, has benefitted from a number of production techniques often considered too costly or inefficient in the wider whisky industry. In particular, the distillery is committed to using only barley grown on local farms in the Cotswolds, and each bottle lists the barley variety, harvest year and farm it was grown on.
The distillery began production of its whisky and gin in 2014 at its small site in Stourton near Shipston-on-Stour. The original business plan was for small-scale production to sell locally but the gin soon won awards and listings in the UK and abroad, and the small company has grown rapidly ever since.
Dan Szor, founder and CEO of Cotswolds Distillery, said “We are delighted that Waitrose & Partners has chosen to list Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky so widely – it’s a wonderful statement of belief in both our distillery and in the wider ‘world whisky’ category. We are passionate about showing consumers that small distilleries like ours, outside the traditional whisky heartlands, are committed to a production ethos that champions the highest quality local ingredients and distilling methods that are driven by quality over cost. It’s painstaking work but we feel we’re really raising the bar, so we’re very proud to show off the incredible results you can achieve, even as a brand-new distillery.”
The listing of the Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky coincides with an expansion of Waitrose & Partners’ listing of the distillery’s award-winning Cotswolds Dry Gin. The gin was first listed as part of the retailer’s regional producers scheme, and has been available at 10 stores in and around the Cotswolds area since July 2017
Featuring lavender grown locally to the distillery, the gin was named Best London Dry in the World Gin Awards 2016 and secured the top Gold Outstanding medal in the IWSC the following year.
The readers of Condé Nast Traveler have rated their top hotels in the United Kingdom, outside of London, and included three from the Cotswolds in their top 10.
The Lygon Arms in Broadway was highest ranked at number three with The Gainsborough Bath Spa (4th) and Barnsley House near Cirencester (7th).
Click HERE to see the top 10.
LITTLE OAK VINEYARD SIEGERREDE 2016
A surprisingly dry wine produced from grapes on Siegerrebe vines that are most suited to the climate in England.
Little Oak Vineyard, located near Chipping Campden, was started by Steve Wilson and first planted in 2006 with 400 Siegerrebe vines. 2016 was their best year to date with fantastic quality grapes, a great yield and almost perfect sugar and acidity readings on the days the grapes were harvested.
THE EBRINGTON ARMS
For over a decade, The Ebrington Arms has been one of the most highly regarded pubs in the Cotswolds. In July 2017, the pub was crowned as the UK's number one village pub by The Times in 2017, as well as featuring their Top 30 UK Pubs for 2019. They have held 2 AA Rosettes for 8 consecutive years and were awarded the County's Dining Pub of the Year 2019 in The Good Pub Guide.
As well as being a great place to eat it is also a wonderful place to stay with five luxury ensuite rooms.
They are also home to the Yubbington Brewing Company that produces some wonderful home-brewed craft ales.
Kuba Winkowski, head chef at the Feathered Nest in Nether Westcote, has been crowned the Craft Guild’s National Chef of the Year at The Restaurant Show at Olympia in London.
Following in the footsteps of some of the industry's biggest names such as Gordon Ramsay, Winkowski wowed the judges with his Lobster starter, Yorkshire grouse main and sticky toffee with lemon, clotted cream dessert.
The award, judged by many of the UK's top chefs including Tom Kerridge and Clare Smyth, was based on theirindividual performance on the day, as they create their three-course menu in two hours in front of a live audience.
The final 25 restaurants in The Times' Critics Top 100 have been announced this morning and three more from the Cotswolds have made the list.
The list sees critics Marina O’Loughlin and Giles Coren choosing their favourites from all over the UK.
The Bell at Sapperton
Cracking pub in a proper quiet little Gloucestershire village. Been going on and off for years. Used to love picnics on a rug in the front garden, but they have tables now (posh!). Most recently thrilled by a burrata and heritage-tomato salad, flat-iron chimichurri chicken, top-flight kids’ burgers and pints of Pliny the Elderflower. Get it? Pliny the . . . oh, go away.
Simpsons Fish and Chips, Cheltenham
This former Chippy of the Year squats on a corner off the main road looking more than anything like a bicycle shop or carwash. There’s a large, airy takeaway section on the right-hand side and, on the left, a big, bright, wonderfully fresh-smelling eat-in restaurant, which had a Union Jack-themed refurb recently but kept a bit of an American diner feel along with its wooden floorboards and black and white tiles, and retained just enough nautical tat (mermaids, anchors) to remind us exactly where we are. The incredibly helpful and smiley service staff wear 1950s-style waitress outfits, but black for a bit of chic, with red hairbands — all of which is comforting to the relatively elderly clientele I found at noon on a Saturday taking advantage of the £8.50 “senior meal” deal. Which shows the place feels just as strong a sense of responsibility for the local human community as it does for the maritime one, everything here being not just accredited but warmly endorsed and indeed positively frothed over by the Marine Stewardship Council. The food is good and cheap (for fish). Between us, my wife and two small children put away a half portion of battered scampi (£4), langoustine (£5) and king prawns (£5) in which the scampi and langoustine were kept admirably pink and translucent by the batter, but the prawns could have done with removal of the pooey digestive tract. Then also two slices of battered halloumi (£3 — fluffy, salty), a £2 bowl of frickles (fried, battered pickles — very modern), a haddock (£9) and, from the kids’ menu, some fish bites and a sausage.
The Old Butcher’s, Stow on the Wold
Well-established fish restaurant on the high street of this beautiful, friendly, much-maligned-by-urban-snobs Cotswold market town with young staff, great produce and a very modern shabby chic vibe. I like to sit outside at the front scoffing lobster and chips or scallops with seaweed butter or a truncheon of char-grilled monkfish with a bottle of picpoul, gazing at the view down the hill. They give you blankets when the weather turns cold. It’s the best.
You can see all of the final 25 restaurants by following the link below and the rest of the list on our previous blog post.
You might have seen in this weekend's edition of The Times where critics Giles Coren and Marina O’Loughlin chose their top 100 eating spots in the UK.
Four of Giles' choices are right here in the Cotswolds and we have listed them below with the extract from The Times.
The Hare, Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire
Lovely pub where the star is the daily changing fish board, from which I’ve had excellent gravlax of Scottish salmon with roasted beetroot and horseradish crème fraîche, brilliantly crisp and clean monkfish cheeks breaded and deep-fried with a marvellous tartare sauce, and a stunningly good fillet of black bream, huge, crisped on the skin side, perfectly sweet and moist, on top of a big tangle of crab linguine. It could easily have fed two and at £16.50 puts London portions to shame.
The Bell Inn, Langford, Oxfordshire
Best little food pub in the world? Probably. They put a pizza oven in mostly for the pizza, but blackened, crackling flatbread running with melty marrowfat and scattered with parsley fair blew me away — and when I rolled it up around some slices of the exquisite aged roasted sirloin and drizzled over it some dark, sticky gravy, I was in actual heaven. Walk it off in the graveyard next door — there’s an 8th-century rood relief on which the Christ appears to have enjoyed his lunch so much, his head has fallen off
The King’s Head, Bledington, Oxfordshire
Beautiful pub in a beautiful village with exceptional cooking and terrific staff. The best thing about it for me is the playground outside on the village green which also has acres of grass, a stream and bridges so that you can eat and drink all afternoon with the kids having a riot in plain sight. In summer an old-fashioned ice cream hut does roaring trade and if you’re lucky you can eat one while laughing at, sorry, intently watching a bit of morris dancing. The whole experience is rightfully one of legend in this part of Oxfordshire.
Russell’s Fish and Chips, Broadway, Worcestershire
Call it twee, gentrified, whatever words you feel the need to use when denigrating a rural market town that has decided not to be depressing and horrid, but I like Broadway. And this excellent modern chip shop is one of the best things in it. There are restrained quantities of jolly nautical tat, blackboards revealing daily specials and a separate board that announced, “The potatoes we are chipping are marfona” — not a variety I know, but I am quite certain that anywhere offering to name your chip potato variety will probably feed you very nicely. And it did. This is absolutely top-quality fish and chips, with haddock and cod offered, as well as plaice either breaded or grilled, whole tail scampi, fish cakes or fish finger sandwich with fantastic chips (dry, firm, nutty), a paper pot of good tartare, smashed peas and a lemon wedge. A big old-school prawn cocktail for £4.95 was also beautifully done.
The list is in two installments on the Times website. Luckily if you sign up, you get 2 articles free. You can find them below.
First Installment - www.thetimes.co.uk/article/best-places-to-eat-in-the-uk-8gzjdb9f9
Second Installment - www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/best-places-to-eat-in-the-uk-our-critics-reveal-their-favourite-restaurants-rv8dgvczs