Evesham always gets a bad rap, some fair and some a little unjust. For many, it's the Onslow and Daisy to the Hyacinth Bucket over-manicured Cotswolds, and unless you live there or you were visiting The Regal Cinema, there is no real reason to visit.
The town centre is littered with charity shops, an abundance of hairdressers and double denim from the first time around. It's in desperate need of a little TLC. However, in the Market Place where Bridge Street meets Vine Street there is a beacon of hope.
What began in a converted Rice Beaufort horse box during lockdown is now a super-stylish restaurant, serving awesome burgers and cocktails over two floors of an old pub. There is a huge emphasis on the locally sourced ingredients used both in the kitchen and behind the bar and a decent selection for the vegans and vegetarians that live amongst us. They also offer a delivery service on Thursday - Sunday on their food and drink to Evesham and the surrounding areas.
We had an hour and a half before Bond was due to start at The Regal, so we were just going to grab a quick burger and drink and get on our merry way. Obviously, after looking at the menu, this didn't happen.
"You must try the Crispy Belly Bites". Of course we did.
"The Baby Bacon Fries are particularly good". Go on then, you've twisted my arm.
Eventually our table was covered in burgers and sides.
The Snack Daniels burger was as good as it sounded. Salt beef slices, cola and bourbon-braised brisket and Tubby Tom's Smokey Schweet BBQ sauce all fighting their way out of the bun. It was delightfully messy, smokey and sticky, and honestly the best thing I had eaten for a long time.
The recommended pork belly bites were heavenly meaty cubes, with a crispy glaze and a subtle kick from the ginger and chilli that accompanied them during the roasting.
The "Bacon Baby" fries are pleasantly thicker than the normal skinny ones you often get and smothered in baconnaise and bacon bits, each one as addictive as the last.
Even when you know you have ordered too much, I can never ignore mac 'n' cheese on a menu. These were topped with bacon bits, chives and crispy onions and, if anything, could have been much gooier with a lot more cheese.
The same has to be said for halloumi fries, you know you don't need them but you have to order them especially when they are rubbed in Tubby Tom's espresso and smoked chipotle dust and washed down with a dark 'n' stormy.
It was all incredibly impressive from start to finish, and in fear of sounding too overdramatic, the arrival of StirrUps is absolutely massive for the town. Evesham has finally got somewhere it can be proud of and it shows other business folk that nice places can be successful there.
A new deli and coffee shop has opened in Bibury.
The Twig has opened within the old village store, which has been empty and unused for years, bringing a new destination spot to the village centre.
The Twig is an offshoot of The Stump, hence the name, a renowned Cotswold Inn serving up an epic menu of pizza, small plates and cocktails since opening in 2019. Both sites have been dreamt up and brought to life by Baz & Fred, who first started serving pizzas together in 2012 and have since opened two pizza restaurants in London as well as local favourites The Stump and The New Inn in the Cotswolds. Their latest opening will put the same emphasis on serving high quality, carefully sourced ingredients and delicious food and drink but this time with a focus on coffee, snacks, and special ingredients.
The house coffee at The Twig will be from Oxfordshire based UE Coffee and best enjoyed alongside one of the fresh house pastries, including specials such as The Twig sausage roll, made with whole grain mustard and apple sauce inside, sourdough toasties, amazing cakes and focaccia sandwiches made in house with best Italian ingredients.
The menu will also include a delicious menu of sandwiches including:
Ham, Emmental, Double Gloucester, Dijonnaise, cornichons
Truffle mushrooms, Comte, Double Gloucester, Dijonnaise
Prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil pesto
Sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, rocket, basil pesto
Salad pots: change on a weekly basis, focusing on seasonal produce
The shop will also be a go-to spot to pick up local produce from companies such as Cotswold Curer, Sourdough Revolution and Hard to Find (honey and oil). Alongside this there will be a delicious range of Spanish and Italian dry goods including cured meats, a select range of natural wines and local Deya beers, and Baz & Fred’s Chilli oil, all ready to buy and enjoy at home.