If you have lived in the Cotswolds for a while, you may recognise the Alexiou's name from the wonderful restaurant in Chipping Campden. While still under the same ownership, the name of the restaurant changed a few years ago to Michael's Mediterranean and has been going strong for 35 years.
Fear not, Michael's Mediterranean is not moving to Stow, however his children, Cleo (who has been the Event Manger at the beautiful Aynhoe Park for the last 4 years) and Aris (who has worked in some of the Cotswolds finest establishments over the years- The Wild Rabbit, The Fox, Oddington, of course the family restaurant to name a few) are bringing something special to the town this Autumn.
Alexiou's will be a family fun, Mediterranean restaurant and bar based in Talbot Court, in the heart of the town. Their ultimate goal is to create a space that fuses cosmopolitan elegance with "'one of those' gorgeous tavernas lining a cobbled street on a Greek island,which oozes deliciousness in every way!"
Their menus will combine simple recipes, with stunning flavour combinations, using fresh local ingredients.
Their aim is simply to create a space with delicious food, beautiful surroundings, fantastic hospitality and affordability.
The spaces will be: (in Cleo's words)
THE BAR - Relaxed seating and a very sexy vibe
THE DINING ROOM - Filled with tasteful furniture- combining traditional, naturalistic and elegance!
THE COURTYARD - Filled with overflowing greenery, mirrors, candles, sheepskin rugs and much more gorgeousness!
We can't wait!
I doubt I'm the only one who has realised that one of their main hobbies was eating out. I love food and the novelty of trying to cook restaurant style (it was nowhere near) food at home has more or less worn off completely and we're back to cooking the same five meals a week that we had before the pandemic.
I got overly excited last Tuesday when I saw The Old Butchers in Stow on the Wold were offering a takeaway menu on the Friday and Saturday... "They do a whole Dover Sole for Christ's sake!"
They were also offering Healing Chicken Broth, Fritto Misto and a Prawn Cocktail for starters, Tempura Crab Roll & Chips, a Prawn Po'boy & Chips and a Rump Steak Burger & Chips for mains, and 1/2 Cold Lobster, Mayo & chips and 1/2 Lobster Thermidor & Chips.
This is incredible, but what the hell is a po'boy?
I googled it. They look amazing. But I really want a burger.
I ordered both (well who needs a summer body?). Over Instagram. And paid via bank transfer. Up yours Deliveroo.
My collection time (which I chose) was at 7pm. There were probably 10 people outside the restaurant waiting. We all kept our distance and nodded a hello, apart from one guy who really wanted a chat from about a metre and a half.
People went up to collect their bags like a university graduation, each getting judged on the amount of food they bought.
My name was finally called and I proudly marched up to the door. "Thank you" I muttered with my hand over my mouth. I realised that she was the fourth person I had spoken to all week.
I got home and presented the bag like a new puppy. We got overly excited once again when we saw The Old Butchers branding on the box. There's a moment of trepidation before opening them as you don't really know what to expect as these place don't normally dabble in takeaways.
The burger looked amazing, as did the po'boy. If it were a film, there would have been fairy dust as each box was opened.
I stole a prawn from the po'boy with my fingers as I eat with my hands now on a Friday, and never on a plate. It had a kick that I wasn't expecting but was incredibly good.
The burger was fat and ridiculously juicy. My white t-shirt looked like Onslow's vest. I didn't care. It was immense. Possibly the best burger I have eaten, ever, and I know that is a huge statement.
Thank you The Old Butchers.
Ordering via Instagram 10
Conversation while waiting 1
**Follow The Old Butchers' Instagram and Facebook for the menus and how to order**
Let's be brutally honest, everything is a little bit crap right now. It's OK to admit that. I was quite enthusiastic at the start, lots of places were offering takeaway and delivery and then within a week, most of them had stopped offering this through absolutely no fault of their own. However, there are a few still going and we'll do our utmost to support them!
Before we start, let's make something clear. I will not make this about me and in no way be getting overly emotional over a portion of fish and chips, I promise.*
It was Friday, which felt the same as the day before, and the day before that and... you see where this is going. I saw on Facebook (where I now spend 25% of my days now, the other 75% is split between actual work, Instagram, Twitter and ringing people) that Greedy's, the local fish & chip shop in Stow on the Wold, was delivering. I'll be completely honest, I don't eat a huge amount of fish and chips but when I do, they usually come from Mermaids in Moreton in Marsh.
Anyway, where was I? I have never reviewed fish and chips before so bear with me.
I replied to their post on Facebook and asked if they deliver to my village 2 miles down the road. I kind of knew they would or it wouldn't be the best delivery service but it was a fantastic conversation starter. They actually deliver to a 4 mile radius that covers Bourton on the Water and Moreton in Marsh Wednesday - Saturday. You can collect still too as long as you call ahead.
Being a Friday (did I mention that?) I presumed they would be busy, and going by their phone being engaged for 27 minutes I was right. I finally got through and ordered cod and chips twice, a large curry sauce and three cans of coke to be used for mixers of any rum I could find around the house. I paid for it over the phone too. This is how far the Cotswolds has moved on in the last 2 weeks. The directions were probably the hardest thing "Go over the first cattle grid, follow the drive until the second cattle grid. Do not fork off (everyone forks off) until you go over the second cattle grid..." They didn't fork off. The food arrived in 20 minutes. I thought it was going to take at least an hour and had prepared for that. The handover was done by shouting into the darkness through the door. Them - "The receipt is in the bag". Me- "Thank you". That was it.
I carried the bag back into the living room like some kind of magic had just occurred. We don't get Deliveroo, or any other delivery services) out in the sticks, this type of thing just doesn't happen to people like us.
Opening them was like opening the first present at Christmas when you were 10. First the wrapping paper (it was the normal chip paper), then a box (I wasn't expecting a box), and there they were, the most amazing looking fish and chips.
They were incredible and I was grateful that I could actually taste them after losing my sense of taste and smell for a week. Always a bonus with food I find.
I know it's nothing huge but a local business thriving in these times is amazing, and they wouldn't know it but they actually made our day a lot better**
**They would know it as I plastered it over Facebook as apparently that's what I do now, I write statuses on Facebook about fish and chips.
Thank you Greedy's, you have a customer (probably about once a month, possibly 2 months) for life.
Conversation with delivery guys 2
Emotional warmth 10
* I failed on both accounts
Wednesday - Saturday. 4.30pm - 8.30pm
If you follow our Instagram you will see that I spend many weekend mornings eating breakfast or brunch at The Hive in Stow on the Wold.
The breakfast/brunch menu is small but full of delicious dishes including one of my favourite plates of food at the moment- smashed avocado, chilli jam, poached eggs and bacon (for an extra £2) on sourdough. The chilli jam under the avo is a massive game changer and something that I would never had naturally added to my breakfast. It also benefits from the additional bacon.
It's actually that good that I recreated it at home using some of my favourite producers and adding a few extra touches including adding some Chilli Rapeseed Oil to the avocado.
Here's what I used.
Hobbs House Sourdough
Pot of What Chilli Jam
The Cotswold Farmer Bacon
Cotswold Gold Chilli Oil
With the ski season fast approaching, The Old Stocks Inn in Stow on the Wold have created the Cotswolds' only Apres-Ski Bar.
The bar is open from 3.00pm to 10.00pm (last orders 9.30pm) every day from the 1st December - 3rd January (excluding Christmas Day), unless booked privately.
Wrapping up warm is advisable but there are heaters and blankets.
Enjoy some continental beers, seasonal drinks and nibbles menu, including mokey pulled pork baps, Bratwurst, soup and Charcuterie, which you can see by clicking the link below.
Apres-ski Bar Menu
The bar is also available for private parties from 1-23 December.
See more about the apres-ski bar here: www.oldstocksinn.com