Stinchcombe Hill, Cotswolds

Stinchcombe Hill, Cotswolds

Five Cotswold foodie hotspots

Rural idyll seekers flock to the Cotswolds for rolling hills dotted with honey-coloured houses and sheep, lots of sheep.

Here’s a guide past the tourist traps and Soho Farmhouse posers to ensure you find that perfect pub, restaurant or glass of wine.

1. The Sherborne Arms

Peter Creed and business partner Tom Noest have attracted a loyal following to their steadily growing Cotswold pub empire. Having made a roaring success of The Bell at Langford and The Lamb at Shipton, they’ve recently resuscitated The Sherborne Arms in Northleach.

This is perfect pub grub: nothing fancy but elevated classics with a local twist. Think smoked eel with celeriac remoulade, venison lasagna or “Cotswold 3.8 Rarebit.” Even the salad is no afterthought, but an exotic leaf medley from nearby Conygree Farm, home to organic veg box supplier Cotswold Market Garden.

2. The Old Butchers

It’s easy to see why scenic Stow-on-the-Wold is popular with tourists but finding a decent place to eat amid the idling coaches, antique shops and ice cream vendors can feel overwhelming. The Old Butchers combines that relaxed feel of a family-run restaurant with the beautifully executed flair honed by chef Peter Robinson during his time as head chef at Bibendum in London.

At odds with its name and the local surfeit of (delicious) lamb, this is a great place to get your fish fix. Robinson’s CV includes a stint at Hotel Tresanton, which clearly fired a passion for the Cornish seafood that is so well represented here. Lobster is a major menu fixture, but leave room for Porthilly oysters, tandoori monkish, fish soup or really push the boat out with turbot cooked on the bone over charcoal.

3. Stroud Farmers Market

If your weekend isn’t complete without a stroll around a farmer’s market, then join the crowds who flock to Stroud every Saturday morning. Spread across the Cornhill Market Place and surrounding streets, this one draws an unbeatable collection of food, drink and craft producers from across the Cotswolds.

Drop by the The Artisan Baker for freshly baked croissant and sourdough, then wander on to sample salami from the Cotswold Curer, pick up some proper sausages from Hinton Marsh Farm, and maybe a wedge of creamy cheese from Kirkham Farm. Lunchtime already? Sink your teeth into a freshly cooked organic burger from Adeys Farm.

4. Yoku

The Cotswolds has no shortage of pubs displaying varying degrees of rustic charm, but if you’re fed up with scampi and crave a hit of urban sophistication then head for the bright lights of Cheltenham. “Dress to Impress” is the vibe at Yoku, a Japanese restaurant housed within hotel No.131. Both ooze the contemporary, stylish feel you’d expect from its owners, Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton and his wife, fashion designer Jade Holland Cooper.

Kick off with a cocktail while you decide whether to order à la carte or dive into the tasting menu. Temaki, hosomaki, nigiri, sashimi, tempura, gyoza: it’s all here, together with classics such as black miso cod and wagyu beef in various guises. Sushi fix complete, head to the Gin & Juice bar and terrace, where weekends see live DJs keep the party going late into the night.

  • Yoku
  • 131 The Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1NW

5. The Curious Wine Cellar

All those Cotswold pubs cater beautifully for beer and cider lovers, but where do you go for a decent glass of wine? While you wait for that table at the Sherborne Arms, wander across to the top of the square, step gently over a couple of canine regulars and enter The Curious Wine Cellar.

Forget lacklustre Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, the eclectic list here is selected by Master of Wine Mark Savage, who can sometimes be intercepted for advice as he emerges cautiously from his upstairs office. Try whatever treats are on offer by the glass, then browse the shelves to take home a bottle of Slovenian fizz, Oregon Trousseau or cannily sourced classics from Bordeaux, Sancerre and beyond. Time to kill? While away a sunny afternoon in the courtyard hidden out the back. The coffee’s good too.

Gabriel Stone
Gabriel Stone
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