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List Words : Food & Drink | 29 August

How to take a culinary tour of the Cotswolds

Good company and a big appetite are all you'll need to enjoy the locally produced food in one of Britain's most beautiful corners

The Cotswolds has long been recognised as one of the most serene and beautiful parts of Britain. Now, with an upsurge in farms providing fresh, organic produce, it's gaining a reputation as a haven for foodies as well. Here's your guide to some of the best places to eat:

Breakfast

The Hampton’s Deli – 21a High Street, Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, BS37 6BA

English breakfasts have the reputation for being a little on the greasy side but there are many other tasty and more refined alternatives to the full English, such as Hampton's Deli in Chipping Sodbury.

The menu is a small, but perfectly formed, construction of English favourites and also includes vegetarian and gluten-free options. Eggs Benedict with a creamy homemade hollandaise sauce is a signature dish at Hampton's Deli and there are also thick slabs of toasted bread and small pots of conserve to enjoy. Or perhaps opt for a warm bowl of porridge to kick-start your day. The final contribution to your breakfast is a hot tea or coffee and a glass of soothing fruit juice.

Quick-stop lunch

Woodruffs – 24 The High Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1AJ

Located in the market town of Stroud, full of creative minds and retired hippies, Woodruffs proves that you can avoid meat dishes and still eat food that is healthy, tasty and filling.

The menu is a buffet of vegan and veggie delights that will provide your body with the kind of nourishment it deserves. Sandwiches, Goan coconut dahl, spicy home-made bean burgers, home-made quiche, mezze, falafel... the list goes on but every item is worthy of its place. The drink list is no less bulky and you can enjoy lassis, teas, coffees, juices, cordials, smoothies, and shakes in any way you fancy. Far out man.

Take-your-time lunch

Café Rene – 31 Southgate Street  Gloucester, GL1 1TP

With its blend of old and new, Gloucester can be slightly confusing. But whether you find yourself  on the quaint cobbled streets beside the cathedral, or down by the newly refurbished docks, you need to make your way to Café Rene, hidden down a side street, just off Southgate Street.

Make sure you bring your appetite. The sandwiches are triangular tents that house sumptuous fillings ranging from warm Cajun chicken to smoked salmon and dill. Even the salads are served with boulders of meats, cheese, and vegetables.

Just to confuse matters even more, Café Rene is, in fact, a pub, proudly serving a range of ciders and ales that wont be found in other chain-run establishments.  A cafe, then, for those looking for a real English pub.

Afternoon tea 

The Cheltenham Dandy – 8 Well walk, Cheltenham, GL50 3JX

Located next to the local graveyard, the afternoon tea served at the Cheltenham Dandy is good enough to raise the dead – a medley of sandwiches, pastries, scones, and cakes, swirled down with barrels of fine tea.

Afternoon tea here is served on cake stands, topped with scones shaped like boulders and liberal servings of jam and cream. The tier below is stacked  with sandwiches with salmon, egg, and cheese fillings. And, finally, on the bottom level, you'll find lemon cake seeping citric juice with each moist bite.

Add buttery shortbread and chocolate éclairs bursting with home-made cream and you have an indulgence off the Richter scale.

Relaxed dinner

Moran’s Eating House – 123-129 Bath Road, Cheltenham, GL53 7LS

Wholesome, hearty, and comforting, Moran’s Eating House in Cheltenham is the embodiment of English cuisine. The family run restaurant has been turning out fulsome dishes for over 20 years and is located on Cheltenham's quaint Bath Road.

The menu has a rolling list of specials as well as a regular bunch of customer favourites. Curried chicken lasagne, hot chicken salad, and home-made burgers are some of the highlights. Make sure you save some space for puddings. The meringue and ice cream is particularly good, served with different toppings including passion fruit coulis and chocolate sauce, as well as soothing cream.  

Such things shouldn’t be legal.

Special occasion dinner 

5 North Street – 5 North Street, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5LH

This petite Michelin-starred restaurant only has 28 covers, so you can be sure that you will receive the same high levels of attention as the delectable food placed before you.  Ethical foie gras, hand-dived scallops and racks of local lamb are just some of the top notch ingredients used, each presented looking like a Monet masterpiece.  

With set lunches starting at £23 and the dinner menu begins at £39,  it makes the perfect introduction to the art of fine dining.

Other cuisines

Seafood 

Williams’s food hall – 3 Fountain Street  Nailsworth, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 0BL

For the more callous and carnivorous at heart the cracking of crustaceans and the slurping of molluscs is a symphony that gets the taste buds rocking. William’s food hall in Nailsworth is a concert hall for the seafood lover and serves scallops, crab, oysters, squid, mussels, lobster among other staples.

All seafood favourites are available to purchase, or alternatively, served in a variety of different ways in the oyster bar. This makes for an informal venue that creates a very French influenced vibe for Nailsworth.

With so many salt-water treats and such an infectious ambience William’s is a great way to feed your seafood cravings.

Turkish

Grille – 49 Winchcombe Street  Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 2NE

Turkish hosts are some of the most welcoming you're likely to come across and here they serve luscious food in a laid back environment.

Start your meal with a meze and the table will be piled with a range of different dips and small dishes – all unique in flavour and execution. Fresh pide bread is also delivered to your table to accompany the meze. The pide's freshness is confirmed by the cloudy steam rising from its fluffy chest.

To follow you can have mousaka, kleftico, kebabs, sea bass, and many other Turkish specialties. Each dish is served with tomato-infused bulgur wheat and fresh salad.

For desert you can finish with some baklava; all diners are given fresh fruit and a small Turkish delight from the hosts at no extra charge. With surroundings this comforting you will feel like one of the family.

Indian

Spice Lounge 81 High Street, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4QA

Almost more common than a Sunday lunch, the humble curry has grown into an English staple. The Cotswolds is home to a great range of different Indian restaurants with regional alternatives thrown into the mix. The creamy kormas are still present but they are joined by sizzling grills and other more complex dishes.

The Spice Lounge in Burford delivers real Indian cuisine from all regions of the country. Dishes from Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengal are just some of the influences that have made it onto the extensive food list.

When enjoying a good Indian, dose up on the carbs and order a naan bread or tandoori roti to soak all those oily globules of heaven.

Thai

Thai Emerald – 36 Castle Street  Cirencester, GL7 1QH

Offering flavours so individual and fragrant, Thai food warms the very cockles of your foodie soul. Thai Emerald is a spectacular setting and the oak carved surroundings are as far removed from any Cotswoldian setting as you can get.

Each dish is served with extravagantly carved vegetables and artistically moulded pots. With a rainbow of such contrasting flavours you will be left perplexed by the fragrant depths of the food. The lemongrass, lime and coconut induced curries are laced with chilli, which enlightens the palate.

If you often find food too bland the Thai Emerald is the ideal place to reinvigorate your taste buds.

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