The Scenic Supper’s fine dining experience continues at its winter dining hub, The Stone Barn at Fir Farm, on the outskirts of the village of Lower Swell, near Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire.
The Stone Barn offers a warm, intimate dining space within a beautifully renovated farm building with full-height windows from which to enjoy far-reaching views across the Cotswolds.
The Scenic Supper’s King Stone Gin bar will continue to offer its delicious seasonal, gin-based cocktail menu using homemade shrubs, cordials and mixers alongside a carefully curated selection of English sparkling wines, Old and New World varieties and locally made beers and ciders.
Championing local, seasonal produce remains key to The Scenic Supper’s dining experience with head chef, Samuel Idoine showcasing the finest fresh local produce in accordance with its ‘Paddock to Plate’ ethos, including Fir Farm’s home-reared, grass-fed beef and lamb, poultry and game. Other outstanding Scenic Supper suppliers include Mark’s Cotswold Bakery, Drinkwaters Fruit and Veg, King Stone Dairy, Cotswold Brew Company and Spinners Cider.
For December, the four and six-course menus will have a festive flavour – perfect for celebrating the season with family and friends or business colleagues.
Bookings opened 1st October for either the pre-set, four course lunch menu (£55pp) or the six-course dinner menu (£70pp). The Barn will be open for lunch from 12.30pm – 3pm for tables of two or more and for dinner for tables of six only from 6.30pm – 11.00pm – Wednesdays – Saturdays. All tables for the four or six-course pre-set menus are bookable and payable in advance.
For all the information and how to book, visit thescenicsupper.co.uk/fir-farm
Keiron Stevens, the former Head Chef at 1 Michelin Star restaurant Adams, will be joining the Cheltenham-based restaurant group JM Socials.
He will be joining the group as their new Executive Chef, heading up the kitchen operations across their six restaurants. Beginning at one of their original Cheltenham restaurants, Prithvi, he’ll be leading the team in enhancing and developing their Indian-inspired menu.
Originally from Cheltenham, Keiron has previously cooked in two Michelin star kitchens, including as a sous chef at Pennyhill and a senior sous chef at Gidleigh Park. He also spent one year training in the illustrious 3 Michelin Star ‘Benu’ in San Francisco.
He’s now moving back to the town his culinary journey began at the then 2 Michelin Star Le Champignon Sauvage while still at school.
Discussing his new position, Keiron said: “There’s massive scope to what we can do at the JM Socials' restaurants. My main focus will be Prithvi to begin with, a fantastic restaurant in my hometown that’s won many culinary hearts. I’m excited to push things forward here and work collaboratively with the team.”
Prithvi has thrived in Cheltenham for nine years, previously being named in the top 10 UK restaurants, amongst a number of other accolades. The other JM Socials establishments, owned by long-term friends and restaurateurs Jay Rahman and Michael Raphel, are a collection of new cuisine concepts, casual eateries and South Indian restaurants.
As well as launching an espresso bar this winter, their expansion plans continue with talks of the duo launching a restaurant alongside Keiron.
It felt like we had to wait an age for the Double Red Duke to finally open its doors. After the announcement in November 2020 that Sam and Georgie Pearman had acquired what was The Plough at Clanfield and would launch in February 2021, lockdowns and various restrictions delayed that until May 17th.
Even more exiting was hearing that they had secured the services of Hawksmoor and PittCue's Richard Turner to work alongside Head Chef Richard Sandiford. This could only mean two things, fire and an abundance of meat.
Of course the menu isn't just full of meat. There is a cheese & onion tatin, veggie mixed grill and a trio of salads for the herbivores amongst us, but there's no fun in any of that,
Unsurprisingly, and right up our street, there is a separate menu for steak cuts from where we picked a incredible chunk of medium-rare ribeye. I sat and watched the chefs cooking various ribs and T-bones over the flames from the 14-seater kitchen counter which felt like the front row of the world's best theatre. I always find open kitchens captivating and could sit there all day, especially watching these masters of meat at work.
Away from beef steaks, the "Large Plate" menu boasts wild fish on-the-bone, grilled rose veal chop, fried oysters & egg tartare, spit roast turbot (which looked amazing when it went by to another table) and half a chicken spit roast, as well as the classic fish & chips, pie & mash and the Double Red burger.
The "small plates" menu (nobody does "starters" anymore) is equally exciting and includes some exquisite Wood Roast Sea Scallops with Wild Garlic Butter, Milk & Honey Lamb Chops with Pea & Haggis Salad (I will try this when I go next) and some superb sticky and perfectly charred Apple Glazed Bacon Ribs, Apple, Tamarind & Fennel Slaw.
If you're feeling hungry, which we were, there's also a "snacks" menu at the very beginning featuring some wonderful light and crispy Dublin Bay Scampi and three different flatbreads. We chose the Courgette, Wild Garlic & Mint one to share but you would probably need one each depending on how many other dishes you choose and how big your appetite is.
There wasn't any room for a dessert. If I was staying the night, and home was just a short walk away up the stairs, I would have probably dipped for the white chocolate cheesecake or the sticky toffee pudding. However, if the choice is more meat or leaving room for a pudding, there is only ever going to be one winner.
If staying the night is an option for you, then the nineteen bedrooms are all as heavenly as you would expect. They each, like the whole of the interior, carry the Pearman stamp. There is an abundance of snugs where you can hide away from the world for an afternoon, and the magnificent Downton Abbey-famed Oxfordshire countryside is quite literally on the doorstep. What's not to like?
After months of domestic imprisonment, the twelfth of April had become a highly significant day as pubs and restaurants were allowed reopen, albeit outside, and everything in the world was hunky-dory once again.
It snowed. Is this some kind of sick joke Mother Nature? She's obviously a bitter and twisted teetotaller.
We didn't venture out until Friday. We also chose to go at lunchtime as I thought a balmy 9 degrees was more appealing than 4 degrees later on that evening. My choice was also based on the size of heaters so The Hollow Bottom it was.
Before The Lucky Onion Group acquired the pub, the previous owners had replaced a tiny unfunctional car park at the rear with some tiered decking, a "beach bar", a boules court and BBQ pit. Although I have to this day never seen either of the latter two used, it was an impressive space.
Two thirds of the space is covered with the rest open for people to soak up the spring sunshine in their coats and hats. We were undercover.
I had gone prepared with four layers and a scarf. However, after five minutes I had removed the scarf and two of the layers as the monster gas burner was making us feel like we were in Greece rather than Guiting Power.
The Hollow Bottom has a new menu which was long overdue. They tried putting their stamp on various pub classics when they first opened. Some really worked. The Ham, Egg and Chips is an impressive whole honey-glazed ham hock and has survived the cull. Others, like the chicken in a basket, really didn't work and have had the chop.
The menu consists of some light bites, including things like 1/2 Pint Prawns with Aioli and Chilli Whitebait. There are ten starters, twelve main courses, if you include the four "pub classics" and a selection of sides.
We ordered the Twice Baked Haddock Souffle, New Seasons Asparagus, Chives & Caviar Sauce and the Confit Wood Pigeon & Chicken Liver Pate to start, followed by the Cotswold Venison & Claret Pie (with a courtesy side of fries for the gravy) and the Spiced Rubbed Pork Belly, Spring Carrots, Pearl Barley Risotto & Apple Chilli for mains.
It was incredibly impressive.
This was seriously good grown-up cooking which the pub deserves. It was the kind of food you would expect to see at its sister pub, The Wheatsheaf in Northleach which has always been superb.
We may have to sometimes battle the elements and the part of your brain that questions why you would consider eating outside in freezing temperatures, but my god, it's good to be back out
Landlords Pete Creed and Tom Noest of The Bell at Langford are opening a sister pub in the Cotswolds.
The Lamb Inn at Shipton-under-Wychwood will be opening on June 21st 2021.
You can see the sample menu below.
You can keep up to date with developments at www.thelambshipton.com.
The first pictures of some of the food we can expect to see at the new Bao & BBQ restaurant were released on Instagram this morning.
The restaurant is due to open at the end of March on Cheltenham's Regent Street, in the former home of the hugely popular Japanese restaurant Koj which closed in September 2020.
Bao & BBQ will be part of the JM Socials brand who already own Prithvi, Bhoomi Kitchen and Holee Cow in the town.
The official opening date is yet to be announced.
After an intense 2 year search for a new destination, The Coconut Tree have revealed that they will be opening a new restaurant in the historic city of Bath.
36 Broad Street will be the home of incredible Sri Lankan street food and will open later this spring.
This is the seventh Coconut Tree restaurant that first opened its doors in Cheltenham in 2016. You can find them now in Cheltenham, Oxford, Cardiff, Bournemouth, and two venues in Bristol.
There are lots of restaurants, delis and pubs offering awesome takeaways this week here in the Cotswolds. Check with each for their opening times and availability and support as many as you can.
The Stump, Nr. Northleach
Incredible pizza from the Stump Shack
Smiths, Bourton on the Water
Burger and dirty fries heaven
Hiro Sushi, Chipping Norton and surrounding areas
Awesome sushi to your door
Greedys Fish and Chips, Stow on the Wold
Great British classic
Holee Cow, Cheltenham
The best burgers in 'Nam
The Coconut Tree, Cheltenham
Sri Lankan heaven
The Old Butchers, Stow on the Wold
The best takeaway menu on the market
Click and collect Japanese takeaway
The Bell Inn, Langford
Michelin quality food at home
Sublime Indian Cuisine
Woodsman, Stratford upon Avon
Wild at heart
The Ebrington Arms, Nr Chipping Campden
A weekend takeaway for your walk
Great food at home
Fine-dining at home
D'Ambrosi, Stow on the Wold
The best deli in the Cotswolds
Bottle of Sauce, Cheltenham
Burger Click and collect
The Cotswold Guy
Great food delivered to your door
The Find, Cheltenham
Brunch and Sunday Lunch at Home
The Bathurst Arms, North Cerney
Great takeaway menu
Sourdough Revolution, Lechlade
Wonderful bread, pizza, chicken + more!
The Killingworth Castle, Nr Woodstock
A treat for your walk
The Scenic Supper returns this April at a new location, tucked away in the beautiful Todenham Manor Farm near Moreton-in-Marsh.
After launching during the summer 2020, The Scenic Supper created a spectacular and unique dining experience with spectacular views across the Cotswolds and served over 680 diners, mixed more than a thousand cocktails and opened for 40 incredible evenings.
2021will see seven brand new sustainably built glasshouses that will host parties of two and four, equally stunning views and a stunning 5-course menu featuring lots of wonderful local ingredients.
There will also be a brand new King Stone Gin bar which will be serving even more craft cocktails, English sparkling wine, and other local booze.
The spring dates run from Thursday 1st April to Friday 28th May 2021.
Book your table now at www.thescenicsupper.co.uk
Properly good burgers have been hard to find in the North Cotswolds. There are pubs (The Chequers at Churchill) and restaurants (The Old Butchers) who have exceptional patties on their menu, but, until now, nowhere has ever offered a dedicated menu.
Smiths of Bourton (on the Water) is run by brothers Seb and Theo Smith. Seb fell in love with burgers while living out in America and Theo's passion for food saw him enjoy an inspiring stint at the much-acclaimed Mash Inn at Radnage. However, like all other restaurants, they've had to adapt to the COVID times in which we live and adapt they have.
They open every evening for takeaway, from 5pm - 9pm. The "Lockdown" menu features eight burgers with an extra unique special each week. There's everything from a classic cheeseburger, with extra pickles and bacon as optional extras, to the lively Chimichurri Burger and Triple B with goats’ cheese, blueberry BBQ sauce, bacon and crispy onions
On top of that there are 4 types of fries, including their incredible crispy bacon, house sauce and spring onion-donned Dirty Fries, truffle aoili, parmesan and crispy sage fries and Rosemary and Parmesan, as well as your regular fries which each burger comes with. You can up grade to any of the others which is most definitely worth doing.
We ordered last weekend for a Sunday night treat. The food was still hot after the 7-minute drive home and the 2-minute photo shoot for the gram... and this post.
The burgers were big, fat and juicy... and delightfully messy, the types where you walk to wash your hands with your arms in the air to avoid touching anything on your way to the taps, which you try turning on with your elbow.
The fries were equally incredible. The sauce on the "Dirty" ones tasted like it had just come out of a Big Mac and the Truffle ones disappeared before a bite of a burger was taken... they were that good.
The whole lot surpassed our expectations, although we had only heard very good things. Perhaps we're just not used to this kind of thing being available in the North Cotswolds. Let's just hope they're here to stay.
Now all we need is Deliveroo.
Heat after drive and photo shoot 8
Expectations surpassed 10
The Bathurst Arms in North Cerney, Nr Cirencester, has been awarded five prestigious stars for "Organic Served Here" by the Soil Association Certification.
It is the first pub in the UK to receive 5 stars and the award has been a target for Bathurst Arms director, Jordan Pelly and his head chef, Michal Wlodarcyk, since they reopened the doors to the famous pink pub in July this year.
Mark Machin, Development Manager for Soil Association Certification said, “We’re very proud to welcome The Bathurst Arms to the movement of hospitality businesses that have decided to grow back better by putting sustainability at the heart of their business.
“After a particularly challenging period for the industry, it’s really encouraging to see businesses like The Bathurst continue engaging with Organic Served Here. By sourcing organic food and drink, Organic Served Here award holders are helping reduce the carbon footprint of their menu and ensure higher levels of biodiversity on our farmland.”
Jordan said: “This is great news for us as a young team with my first business, the message behind what we offer here is a strong one and something we should all learn more about. We are so lucky to have such fantastic farmers on our doorstep like Purton House Organics, Duchy Home Farm and Daylesford Organic and fishmongers New Wave and Flying Fish, all of these businesses help us source the finest ingredients for our menu with strong sustainable principals. As well as the ethical contribution sourcing organic & wild foods is such an obvious choice for us, as we strive for the best quality ingredients. From beef fed on a pasture diet to ingredients in season, flavor is paramount with these choices inevitably kinder to the environment and world we live in.
“We offer great small plates that showcase our approach using the best the seasons have to offer. Right now we are serving dishes like “Salt baked celeriac with wild girolles and mushroom”; “Purton Farm organic pork belly with Jerusalem artichoke with pork & apple sauce”; and for the seafood lovers, line caught plaice, on the bone with a smoked lime butter and pickled sea lettuce.”
The pub has also recently been using surplus organic vegetables and fruit from the village as there are several allotments owned by the nearby Bathurst Estate looked after by hard working villagers.
“We plan to roll out a five star organic menu in a take away format as well, we understand that in the current climate not everyone is comfortable eating out so we want to be able to create our dishes for you to take home and enjoy. “Jordan added.
It has got to be nearly twenty years since my first visit to Michael's in Chipping Campden, shamelessly trying to impress my peers that my palate was familiar food from Greece and Cyprus although at that time I had never been to either.
Back then it was called Alexiou's and was one of, if not, the best restaurants in the Cotswolds. It was only ever open in the evenings and was mostly always full. To impress people even more, you would always book a second sitting on a Friday or Saturday as there was always a chance of smashing some plates in the restaurant.
Today it is much different, but still just as charming.
The large kitchen that used to serve the restaurant is now a delightful bedroom, part of the stunning Woolmarket House that Michael and Sarah own. The seating area at the back of the restaurant has also made way to an equally beautiful bedroom.
The front of the restaurant has had a makeover. It feels less "evening only" and more "daytime too" which it is with the recent addition of breakfast, brunch and lunch.
In these crazy and socially-distanced, curfew times, the restaurant now has only around 16 covers and waiting staff serving you in visors.
The menu is pretty much the same as it has always been; Stifado, Kleftico (which I think I have had every time I have been there) and their showstopper "Filleto Marathona", fillet steak served on a board with mushroom, tomato & French-fries, and it is always exceptionally good. After 35 years, Michael still goes and handpicks the hunks of meat that the restaurant serves.
Dinner is a race against time at the moment. I'm not sure how Chipping Campden would cope with 14 diners spilling out of Michael's and onto the streets.
I started with garlic mushrooms as I wanted something lighter as I always make the mistake of filling myself up on the pitta bread. Obviously I did so again as the oily, garlicky remains at the bottom of the cast iron dish couldn't be left.
Obviously I had the Kleftico for my main. It's the best way to eat lamb, especially when it falls off the bone like this has for the past two decades and is cooked in wine, washed down with a couple of Cotswolds Gins.
As if the pitta bread and half a lamb weren't enough, I also tried squeezing a chocolate brownie in too. I ultimately succeeded at tortoise speed but it was most definitely worth it.
Although the restaurant has over halved in size, it still has lots of its charm, a lovely relaxed atmosphere and two owners who are, after all this time, hugely passionate about the food they serve and experience they offer to their guests.
It's safe to say that it's still up there with the best restaurants in the Cotswolds.
Amidst the chaos of lockdown when all the pubs and restaurants were closed, three friends created a new kind of dining experience, in a field, with six glasshouses, a gin bar and spectacular views. Within days The Scenic Supper had almost sold out and the response was truly incredible.
Last weekend saw the last summer supper served at their King Stone Farm location, however, the good news is, their winter offering "Twelve Nights" is coming very soon.
There is a brand-new setting in Snowshill and the 12 nights in December will include 4 tables of 6 each evening, 5 course locally-sourced seasonal menu, with optional cheese board for £60.00 per head.
These dates will be available to book from 10:00am 1st October on their website that you can find below.
Japanese restaurant, KIBOU, officially opened its new, larger restaurant and bar on Regent Street in Cheltenham last weekend. The new venue, operated by the original award-winning KIBOUsushi team, features all their signature dishes and includes an extended bar offering with late-night licence.
Serving an extensive range of authentic Japanese food and drink, KIBOU’s menu includes steaming bowls of ramen, made with pork, chicken or vegan broth, freshly prepared katsu curry, and increasingly popular donburi, Japanese rice bowls. Alongside these, you’ll find pillowy steamed bao buns with a variety of fillings, a range of tempura, including their show-stopping softshell crab, and an extensive selection of handmade to order sushi and sashimi, including KIBOU’s signature and much-talked-about volcano roll - salmon, avocado and tobiko futomaki, tempura fried and served with KIBOU house sauce.
Featuring an 80-cover restaurant and spacious bar and lounge, the new cherry blossom-adorned venue aims to transport customers to the bustling backstreets of Tokyo’s adventurous bar and restaurant scene. Cleverly designed to include a range of eclectic and luxurious drinking and dining zones, the large venue conveys an intimate and atmospheric feel, reminiscent of the much-loved original 25-seater basement restaurant, whilst ensuring social distancing measures are met in a sympathetic and relaxed way.
Choose to dine in the main restaurant overlooking the semi-open kitchen and sushi station, the horigotatsu - traditional sunken Japanese style dining area, raised snug overlooking the bar or opulent 6-seater banquettes, featuring a beautiful array of Japanese prints. The venue also includes a plush private dining area for up to 10, and a theatrical 10-seater teppanyaki grill (due to open October 2020).
The large and stylish bar is framed by a projection of Japanese geisha illustrations created by local artist Martyna Sabadasz, who’s original artwork is featured extensively throughout the venue. With an enviable back bar of premium Japanese whisky and gin, KIBOU has extended its drinks offering to include a variety of bang on trend Japanese highballs and an extensive signature and classic cocktail list.
New look KIBOU is a stylish and sophisticated addition to Cheltenham’s flourishing food and drink scene, bringing Japanese socialising, eating and drinking to an expanded audience looking for a grown-up hang out to enjoy authentic food and an imaginative, premium drinks list.
Visit kibou.co.uk/Cheltenham for more information and to book.
To celebrate the launch of The Alchemist Cheltenham (opening in The Brewery Quarter tonight), we have stolen their recipe for a Classic Old Fashioned.
You can try this at home but believe us, if you head to the bar itself, there will be lots of theatre and a cracking atmosphere.
The old fashioned is concocted by muddling sugar with bitters, adding whiskey with a twist of citrus rind garnish.
Getting to it;
Visit thealchemist.uk.com/venues/cheltenham-brewery-quarter/ for all the info about their new Cheltenham bar.
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!
Originally scheduled for an April opening, theatre is soon to be served in Cheltenham. The Alchemist will be launching on the 28th August bringing immersive experiences, expertly crafted cocktails and all day dining to Gloucestershire. Creative bar and restaurant concept, The Alchemist is bringing its famed cocktail concoctions to The Brewery Quarter, which is set to be a new favourite with cocktail connoisseurs in Cheltenham.
The 4,500 sqft venue designed by London agency Turner Bates will feature an impressive emerald marbled bar top and signature dark wall murals. It’s not just the menu that plays with your senses as the bespoke mind bending floor-to-ceiling bar takes centre stage and will provide the perfect back drop for The Alchemists signature cocktails. Cocktails served with a dash of theatre such as the Colour Changing One created with Grey Goose Vodka, Briottet Apple, soda & citrus which, as the name suggests, will mysteriously change colour before your eyes! Guests can also opt for The Cherry Poppins; a concoction of Whitley Neil raspberry gin, cherry, strawberry, citrus and a cherry fog bubble that’s sure to set alight anyone’s Instagram feed!
To complement the show-stopping cocktails, The Alchemist Cheltenham will offer an all-day dining menu which of course includes a touch of playfulness, starter dishes such as the Chorizo & Cheddar Doughballs (choose your cheese level with the accompanying syringe) and Tempura Prawn Lollipops. For something more substantial, enjoy Pan-Fried Seabass with spicy Bombay potatoes, coconut yoghurt and charred lime and for a delicious plant-based meal try the Vegan Cauliflower Katsu Curry. To finish, the flaming Cotton Candy Baked Alaska is a must for a dessert with extra-oomph or, for something a little more low-key, order an Espresso Martini & Petit Fours.
The Alchemist Cheltenham will open on Friday 28 th of August at 10am.
For more information, please visit: www.thealchemist.uk.com
Pizza masters Baz and Fred have taken over The New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns.
The duo known for their incredible food at The Stump at Foss Cross will open the pub later this month.
In a statement on Instagram they announced "Roughly a year ago Baz & Fred achieved their childhood dream and opened their first pub together The Stump, a Cotswold pub turned pizzeria. Simple, delicious food done well. It’s been a fantastic first year and we can’t wait for many more to follow and working alongside our awesome team and customers."
"We’ve had such a great time running The Stump so we’ve decided to do it all over again. Introducing Baz & Fred’s New Inn, located in the beautiful village of Coln St Aldwyns. A stunning pub not too far from The Stump. During lock down we introduced a burger night at The Stump which has been an overwhelming success. We thought it was only fitting to increase this offering and give the people more of what everyone clearly wants. As a result of this we have taken to the streets of Coln! Expect smokey blues, booze, burgers & an all-round good time. The main staple of the menu will be a variety of burgers which have been a real hit. There will be other rolling specials, sides and main dishes on offer that will have Spanish, Portuguese and Italian influences plus anything that Baz & Fred feel is delicious enough to make an appearance, which is a fair bit!"
"The New Inn is similar to The Stump. It’s an old roadside Inn that is ingrained into the history of the village. The pub is currently closed so Baz & Fred could move in for renovations and are currently in the process of changing things around, attempting to bring the inside of the pub back to its original design decades ago. Everything is full steam ahead; the new open kitchen is being fitted alongside the new local’s bar plus lots more."
"We aim to be open by the end of the month but please keep your eyes peeled for updates. We can’t wait to see you all down here!!"
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
Two of The Lucky Onion’s restaurants, The Tavern in Cheltenham and The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power have launched takeaway options in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.
In a message to all their customers, The Lucky Onion said.
In light of current events we have be working away on some different ways to support our local communities in Northleach, Guiting Power, Minchinhampton and Cheltenham Town.
From 5:30pm tonight we will be offering a take-away service for food and drinks at the Tavern in Cheltenham and the Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power.
We are working towards providing further food and drink options at our other properties in the next 24 hours as well as looking into ways we can re-purpose our business to support the current environment.
We will provide further communication on this as soon as we have it.
Please see all our food and beverage offerings below and gives us a call to order.
We will be taking orders from 5:30pm to 9:30pm every night.
Please note* You will need to collect and pay for your order. Our staff will be vigilant with regard to social distancing.
TAVERN TAKEAWAY MENU (To order Please call 07934 716729)
CHORIZO SCOTH EGG £4.5
ROAST BEETROOTS (v) £8
Whipped feta, dill & dukkah
DUCK & PORCINI MEATBALLS £8.5
Slow cooked tomato sauce
THE MAIN EVENT…
PUY LENTIL & VEGETABLE LASAGNE (v) £14
Baby gem, radish & shallot salad
COTSWOLD WHITE CHICKEN MILANESE £16
Garlic butter, parmesan & chicory salad
HOT BUFFALO WINGS & blue cheese dip £8
SWEET STICKY WINGS sesame & spring onions £8
KOREAN WINGS radish & black sesame £8
MAC ‘N’ CHEESE (v) £6
CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD £11
TAVERN BURGER & fries £10
AMERICAN CHEESE BURGER £13
Streaky bacon & fries
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN BURGER & fries £10
8oz FLAT IRON (ANGUS) £15.5
8oz ONGLET (ANGUS) £18
8oz SIRLOIN (HEREFORD) £22
10oz RIB-EYE (HEREFORD) £26
SIDES all at £4.50
French fries (v)
Tavern slaw (v)
Chilli cheese fries (add 1.5)
Sweet potato fries (v)
DRINKS MENU AND PRICES:
House White - £18
French Sauv Blanc - £22
House Red - £18
Malbec - £26
House Rose - £18
Studio Rose - £29
Prosecco - £26
Nyetimber - £56
Dunkertons - £4.50
Peroni - £4.50
THE HOLLOW BOTTOM TAKEAWAY MENU (To order, please call 07398 620737)
Vegan Burger and Fries £12.50
Cheese Burger and Fries £12.50
Fish and Chips £14.50
House White - £18
French Sauv Blanc - £22
House Red - £18
Malbec - £26
House Rose - £18
Studio Rose - £29
Prosecco - £26
Nyetimber - £56
Dunkertons - £4.50
Peroni - £4.50
Flynn's Bar & Brasserie in Cheltenham has tonight announced that it will not be renewing its lease and will close with immediate effect.
A statement by Kelly Jones on Facebook said "We have made the very difficult decision not to renew our lease and so with immediate effect we are closing our doors.
As you can imagine it is an extremely emotional time. It has been my absolute privilege to work with the most incredible and loyal staff over the last 21 years. We have been so fortunate to get to know and look after our wonderful customers who will all be terribly missed and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your custom over the years.
The King's Arms in Prestbury, on the outskirts of Cheltenham, has reopened its doors today by Raymond Blanc's White Brasserie Company.
The pub has undergone an extensive renovation since closing at the end of last year and will offer fresh, seasonal French fare and Great British pub classics.
The pub is steeped in history with parts pf the building dating back to the 14th Century. There has been a huge effort to bring the best of the old pub back to life, reinstating the three fireplaces, restoring original beams and floors and rehanging the front door so it could be open from the High Street for the first time in over two decades.
Take a look for yourself here - kingsarmsprestbury.com
We live in a very weird world, and that's not to mention anything to do with politics. Just this week I found myself defending the presentation of The Swan's pie on twitter to a "chef" who told me that the mash should have been quenilled [sic] with a little jus around the plate and some fresh watercress. I told him he was very wrong, and it's not the 90s anymore. Nobody puts watercress on top of food nowadays do they?
It's been a couple of years since I visited The Swan and lots has changed in that time. Most importantly it has been taken over by Sam and Georgie Pearman, the original founders of The Lucky Onion, with pubs like the brilliant Chequers at Churchill which they still own and the delightful Wheatsheaf at Northleach which they don't.
The pub has changed a bit too. Thinking back it was slightly disjointed but certainly not unpleasant. There was an odd little room if you entered the pub through the door on the road. That has gone has become an extension to the bar area with a few nice tables. The dining room which once had outlandish green walls, green wallpaper, and lots of flowers (the former owner was an interior and floral stylist) now boasts more subtle blues and looks more like a restaurant than someone's living room. There was a roaring fire in the other bar surrounded by the best seats in the house and a lovely room, perfect for celebrations and shoot parties leading out onto the courtyard garden which I imagine would be a nice spot in the summer. The pub has a warmer feel throughout.
It's very rare I order bread, or ever bother to talk about it when I do. However, the Chipping Norton sourdough came with horseradish and dripping butter which is very much worth shouting about.
I'm always torn between dishes and usually leave up to the waiter or waitress to decide for me. It was between the BBQ native prawns, English peas, Chipping Norton nduja and mussels. Without any hesitation, the prawns won. They were huge, messy (the water bowl and napkin both turned the colour your fingers go after eating a packet of Wotsits) and brilliant. I've never had peas with prawns before but it worked, and the nduja-fueled juice at the bottom of the copper bowl was incredibly good to for dipping the spelt toast in.
I wasn't torn for my main. It was 3 degrees outside and I wanted a pie. Chicken and leek or ox cheek and smoked bacon, and choosing the latter wasn't a difficult choice. It arrived standing wonderfully unpretentious on a bed of mash and gravy. It was a thing of beauty and yes Mr Angry Twitter Chef stuck in a different decade, there was no need for spooned mash or watercress. If anything, it could have done with an extra small jug of gravy as the mashed soaked it up like a sponge. The side of squash and cavolo nero, curly kale to you and me, was a decent addition.
This was some of the best pub food I have eaten in quite a while. I have a lot of time for places who have a one main menu fits all for lunch and dinner too.
The Swan will lure locals (there's a special menu in the bar with a £10 dish on every day ) and Londeners alike (there's a station in Ascott where one train a day stops from The Big Smoke). There are also 8 rooms at the pub for anyone wanting to make a couple of days of it which we would obviously highly recommend.
Food pictured is;
Ox Cheek and Smoked Bacon Pie
Crispy Cacklebean Egg
Triple ‘Ham’ Burger, Savoy Slaw, Toffee Apple Sauce, Blue Affine, Tabacco Onions, Alabama Fries
After an extensive four-year-long renovation, The Harcourt Arms in in the charming Oxfordshire village of Stanton Harcourt has reopened its doors to the public.
Headed up by Olivier Bonte, former GM of No.131 and Alan Gleeson, previously Head Chef of The Lucky Onion’s No.131 and No.38 The Park, The Harcourt Arms will offer exceptional pub food using the finest produce, ingredients sourced through long-standing relationships with ethical suppliers.
The drinks menu will feature beer and wine from small but talented producers across the world with amazing brands such as Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, William Chase Rose and Chateau Musar alongside Hook Norton Beers, Butcombe and Timothy Taylors Landlord. They will also be serving up delicious cocktails such as Negroni with a twist, proper Espresso Martini and their very own Bloody Mary, allowing guests to order an old favourite or try something new.
Since the renovation, there are an additional 10 individually style en-suite bedrooms, making this 17th-century pub with rooms ideal for both leisure and business needs.
With the local community at its heart, The Harcourt Arms have created The Harcourt Stores, which will offer luxury, artisan produce alongside healthy everyday essentials. A one-stop-shop for locals, there will be fresh coffee, cured and smoked produce,sweet treats and everyday essentials.
The ultimate village pub with a home away from home feel makes it the perfect place to visit.