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5 North Street, Winchcombe
You don’t need much of an excuse to visit the Cotswolds, but this “top-notch” spot is certainly one. Over the years, chef/proprietor ‘Gus’ Ashenford has earned a reputation for his highly skilled modern cooking, which is showcased in a choice of fixed-priced menus full of eye-catching ideas and clever seasonal riffs: consider Salcombe crab salad and cured tuna with tapioca cracker, pickled cucumber, daikon and mango or Old Spot pork belly partnered by monkfish, pumpkin, apple and brown sauce. Mains might deliver sirloin, tongue and cheek of Longhorn beef with artichokes, sweet onion and truffle reduction, while desserts come up trumps with the likes of white chocolate mousse, strawberry sorbet and elderflower glaze. Old beams lend some rustic charm to the bijou dining room, with brown leather chairs and burgundy-painted walls bringing things up to date. Wife Kate and her front-of-house team reinforce the unbuttoned yet professional mood (despite some “pub-style matiness”), and the wine list offers some good matches with mark-ups “significantly lower than London”.
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5 North Street, Winchcombe
Winchcombe Station 1km
Toddington Station 4km
Sudeley Castle Gardens 592m
Sudeley Castle 717m
Wed-Sun 12N-2.30pm Tues-Sat 7-9.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Marcus Ashenford is featured as one of the alumni in the latest, celebratory, issue of the Waterside Inn magazine, so we knew we were on to a good thing here, and sure enough the dishes were beautifully presented and full of tasty surprises. Where this classy country cousin falls down by comparison with Bray, though, is in the pub-style matiness of the front of house set-up, although this had the benefit of interesting insights into the professionals' views on the merits of other restaurants. The 7-course menu is chef's selection of dishes from the three separate "evening dinner" menus on offer, and we were happy enough to go with his proposals. The wine list is limited but successfully makes a series of good matches for the dishes on the menu, and the mark-up is significantly lower than in London. The first starter was preceded by an interesting pairing of Welsh rarebit slices and rhubarb chutney, and then a rich and tasty mix of cauliflower, carraway seed and some lovely chive oil. We had expected our first starter to be other than roasted scallop accompanied by spinach, samphire, asparagus, terrific confit chicken wing and a marvellous potato and pancetta terrine, but the sequence had been announced to us in the wrong order. So, our pea and mint panna cotta, white crab quenelle on grain mustard mayo, cured salmon and citrus dressing, and a deft brown crab sandwich with nigella seed crisps instead of bread, actually followed as reference to the kitchenconfirmed it should. Interestingly, three questions we put about this dish also needed answers from the kitchen. Our mains comprised delectable turbot with fennel, clam and squid tortellini, broad beans, sweet grapes and an epic red pepper coulis, and choice local best end of lamb and classy confit shoulder, appealing sweetbreads, pomme purée, tomatoes which had clearly been slow-cooked and a very good lamb reduction. As there five of us we were treated to a sharing portion of the three desserts and the cheese selection, the latter made up of seven choices, and the former consisting of warm rice pudding with Satsuma parfait and lemon meringue, a mince pie style Banbury cake with a remarkable Roquefort ice cream and port syrup, and a "presentation of chocolate" with no less than five variations on the theme. Our appetites were then well and truly satisfied by the final flourish of petits fours and superb madeleines, and we came away from 5 North Street thoroughly happy.
Dubious at first because its a small dining room, but it was fine – initimate,cosy. Service was good – not OTT, attentive and friendly. Food was great, with good selection including vegetarian. Toilets good
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