This is an outstanding restaurant. It is so good that I do not wish to end with a negative note. I shall therefore address my quibble at once. The Rectory was closed for refurbishment and the result is generally a happy one: there is more space and light. The paint colours are restful but with flair and a welcome touch of the unexpected. In short, it has been restored in a manner that is sensitive to its Georgian origins: the 18th Century was not coy about colour and was strong on space and light. There is perhaps too much of the "chic boutique" trappings that have been inflicted on so many previously charming country hotels. However, none of it jars and is generally in good taste. It has served, however, to make the restaurant, rather utilitarian and uninviting and this is something that a modern look certainly does not need to be. Worse, though, is the detriment to ambiance that comes from the choice of background music. Music with staccato beats and often screechy voices may have its place but is not conducive to a relaxed dinner with friends nor, probably, to good digestion. I strongly recommend either blissful silence so that one can chat with fellow guests or perhaps some well chosen classical music. Please.
Quibble over, it is now time for well deserved praise. The food is imaginative and every dish is well conceived. As starters, the octopus carpaccio is both fresh and delicious, no mean feat when the Cotswolds is not known for its resident octopuses. The duck rillettes with plum and sourdough are an inspired combination. Similarly the hearty ham hock with an egg and grilled runner beans. The mains fulfill the enticing preview with so many excellent choices that I cannot pinpoint any in particular, including a chateaubriand for two and a lot of grilled wonders. Our family has but sampled their extensive list despite having made several visits. Desserts are delicious, although I confess to an addiction to the chocolate marquise and the Florentine doughnuts in creme Chantilly. My wife swears by their apple and maple syrup cheesecake and justifiably so. I stole a big spoonful of it. A good wine list has been chosen well and has something for everyone.
The food is complemented by attentive and friendly service by local young people who know precisely what they are doing and do it with great confidence. Outstanding, and they add enormously to the experience.
The Rectory Restaurant contradicts the axiom that hotels, let alone country hotels, do not have particularly good restaurants. This is a restaurant to visit again and again for a delicious, extensive, and imaginative menu. The Cotswolds is a beautiful part of England, and one repeatedly to enjoy. So, fittingly, is The Rectory Restaurant. Congratulations to all concerned.