I leave for London this Saturday for vacation (woo-hoo!!!) and will be spending ~5 days puttering around the Cotswolds (mainly in the northern area), ~5 days in Edinburgh, and then will be in London (Marylebone) for a weekend. Purpose of the vacation is to relax and, in Edinburgh, to enjoy the Festival (so not eating, alas). I’ll admit that I’m lazy (and super busy w/ other stuff), so I haven’t had much time to look anything up.
Partner like pubs; we both like mom-and-pop places, “affordable” gems (however you want to define affordable), pastries, cafes highlighting local produce/specialties, and we eat pretty much anything. No need for fine dining since I think that’d be lost on us. Any suggestions on good eats in those areas (esp non-London, since I posted about that on CH way back when)?
No, we haven’t. I’ve heard it’s beautiful and quaint, which is very much what we’re looking for. We basically just want to relax in a peaceful environment.
We have the NYT article for suggestions of what to see/do/eat with 36 hours in the Cotswolds, which is what we’re going to use as a jumping off point for our visit. Feel free to suggest any sites, destinations, etc. (either message me or in the off-topic area?).
So it’s my last full day in the Cotswolds. I’ll upload pics of the meals and snacks we’ve had (one response = 1d). Pics will come first and then I’ll fill in text, as I have time.
Despite having travelled very close to some of the recs above, time/schedule/desire meant we choose different places. But that’ll be good for future visitors, I think.
Day 1 was covered in the weekend rundown for LA. Forgot to add a ew things. Those were fish goujons (sp?), so the fish were really more like finger food (in terms of size). Fish was nicely thick but just a touch overcooked.
@SpockSpork was looking for some coffee, so we dove randomly into Hathaway Tea Rooms. Really lovely. We sat out back, which seemed like a good idea until the jam attracted lots of insects. Ploughman’s board was extremely hearty (the cheese alone would’ve fed several people as an app), and my cucumber and cream cheese sandwich was light and refreshing. Not picture is the current scone + jam + clotted cream (yes!!!), which was yummy. My almond and cinnamon tea was more aromatic than flavorful, but that was fine on a hot day. Definitely recommended.
Dinner at Edward Moon (recommended by our B&B host). It was… fine? 3 fish (salmon, bass, whitefish) and a goat cheese, potato, coconut curry. The seasoning was both dishes was quite light, and there wasn’t a ton of coconut flavor in the curry. I did sense that the spicing was more subtle and complex than what we get in the US. The fish was served w/ a side of steamed veggies, which was a bit institutional, for my tastes.
Not pictured is the banana split, which was very literally a split banana w/ a bit of whipped cream, hot toffee (substituted for the standard hot chocolate), a fruit (on which I’m blanking right now), and a scoop of ice cream. I actually prefer the lighter British version to what we have in the US. I also find the ice cream here way too rich for my tastes.
A perfectly pleasant and ciivilized place for a meal, although not a place I’d seek out otherwise.
I’ve found the food at tourist sites to be surprisingly good. Had my first Victoria sponge (after hearing so many referencecs to it on the Great British Baking Show!) at Kenilworth Castle. Partner thought it was too sweet, but I thought it was just fine. And, given how large other Victoria sponges are, this was just the right size.
Partner had a goat cheese and tomato tart (+ potato wedges) and I had a quinoa and avocado salad. The produce here in the counryside has been ,generally, of very good quality. I think the Brits are still confused what to do w/ it, though, b/c everything has been really underseasoned (incl the slad). Still, I was pleasantly surprised that we could ge something pretty healthy here.
Dinner in Wllersey at The Bell Inn (one of many throughout the Cotwolds, although I assume they’re not related).
Beef pie and lamp chops. Server didn’t ask our preference for the lamb and wrote “medium.” Argh. A shame, b/c the dish was good, aside from the slightly overcooked lamp. Again, we got steamed vegetables. I want to grab one of the cooksto ask them if it would kill them to roast a vegetable!
Beef pie had a VERY powerful beefy funk, which I enjoyed.
I’ve had 2. Both very good. I was saving those for last b/c they’ve been from our B&Bs, and, for no particularly reason, I felt like posting those after the trip would preserve my anonymity (although I can’t imagine that the owners are on FTC… I think travel places live and die by Trip Advisor nowadays… Thankfully, both places have been good).
And now for an example of un-fine pub food… New Inn pub in Willersey (which, as ar as I can tell, is one of 2 eateries in Willersey). Ohmigod, this was horrible. First, the service was beyond random. The hamburger was charred nearly to the point of being inedible. The chicken korma seriously tasted a lot like something from Trader Joe’s. The naan was… I don’t even know how todescribe it. Was kind o like foccacia crossed w/ pita? Avoid at all costs.
Har! The full English at the second B&B (didn’t get a photo but it was delish) offered that, but I asked them to skip it. Not a fan of… minerality.
Day 5: Bourton-on-the-water to Winchombe through Guiting Power to Chipping Camden.
Bakery-on-the-water in Bourton-on-the-water was a bit disappointing. The baked goods looked delicious; they were relatively meh. The Victoria sponge was a bit dry, the frittata didn’t have much falvor and was served cold, and partner’s cheese and onion pasty seemd o consist mainly of potatoes. The taste was actually pretty good, butpartner was annoyed that there was some “false” advertising in the description.
Dishes were paneer tikka (w/ paneer that actually tasted mildly of cheese), beef “rolls,” lamb bhuna, ans jaflon chingri.
We randomly stopped in a Maharaja in Chipping Camden (a guidebook said that the pub on the othre side of the restaurant had good curries, so we decided to go straight to the source…). F*ck, yes. This was delicious, and far above most of the LA Indian I’ve had (maybe Al-Watan – or was it Al-Noor? – comes close?). Subtle but sophisticated spicing, sauces that tasted clearly distinct from each other, and dishes that were mainly protein and not sauce… Is this the kind of prototypical and superior British curry house that @MyAnnoyingOpinions and others have referred to? And we even had a fun, smart-alecky Indian uncle as our server.
(I returned to LA ~2 wks ago, and, in some ways, Europe seems like a lifetime ago already! But potsing some more pics and brief reviews will make me happy ).
No pics, but we saw a stall at the outdoor market at Circencester selling… salsa and guac!!! I spoke to the vendor; she’s apparently from Dallas (!!!) and married a man from Cheltenham. She said that she wanted to show the UK what good salsa and guac tastes like. We asked her how Brits respond to her good. She says that the older ones are wary but younger ones (esp those who have visited the US) are interested and happy to try her stuff. She also noted that there was some confusion in the UK about Mexican and Tex-Mex being different cuisines (apparently some Brits thinks that chili originated in Mexico). Salsa was good (if a bit tomato-y for my tastes); didn’t get a chance to try guac.
Tried a bakewell and pavlova from Hall’s Quality Bakers. No pic of the goods b/c we took them to-go. Wanted to like it since it’s apparently been around for decades? Not particularly good. IIRC, the bakewell had a short pastry crust filled w/ some jam and a rather untasty marzipan topping. @SpockSpork thought the pavolva was like eating “a sweet brick” (too cruchy w/o a nice marshmallow-y interior).
Cote Brasserie is a f*ck yes. Reasonably priced and delicious. We got the tuna rillettes and rabbit parmentier and frisee salad and steak frites. I could’ve used more crunch and brightness from the carrots, but it was, overall, a very satisfying meal.
Food Fanatics (which is more like a smallish dining hall + deli + small market) in Winchcombe. Fine for the price and fod a quick bite , but certainly not a destination. The turkey in my sandwich was a bit dryish, but at least they warmed the food up.
There was a teahouse I wanted to visit in Moreton-in-Marsh (the name of which eludes me right now), but it wasn’t accepting customers 30 mins b/f closing. Tilly’s Tea House was still open, and it was actually quite fine. I keep forgetting that when a sandwich as “mayo” in the name, the mayo is actually one of the main ingredients (as was the case for my chicken and mayo sandwich). The cheese scone was too dense for my taste, but the lemon drizzle and bakewell were delicious.
Cafe Rogue in Cheltenham. Ew. Avoid. French onion soup was salty but otherwise bland, w/o little melted cheese.
@attran99: finally got to a Huffkins location! Having passed the one in Stow-in-the-Wold, this one seemed more like a Huffkins express (and the one in Stow seemed like it would be more pleasant to sit in). Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to stay b/c we had to return our rental car. The sandwiches were fine (nothing exceptional), but the peanut butter brownie was quite good. We had a scone, but I don’t recall much about it (and we didn’t have it w/ any condiments b/c we had to take it to-go).
Had we known that our flight from Birmingham to Edinburgh was going to be delayed 2-3 hrs, we could’ve spent more time in the Cotswolds. Cheltenham, in many ways, feels much like a “real,” working city, which also means that I found it be rather devoid of charm.
First full day in Edinburgh! A sandwich and burger in the VooDoo Rooms w/ our traveling sock monkey while waiting for Dave the Magician. Food took forever, and some of it was kindly comped for us. Completely satisfying, although my burger was medium (rrr). Dave was very good, BTW.
Some desert and a salad at Southern Cross Cafe. The raspberry pastry was very tasty. The carrot cake was surprisingly light. I enjoyed it, but if you’re looking for something decadent, look elsewhere. I actually have no memory of the salad…
A quick dinner at The Huxley b/f the Military Tattoo. Fine, but unmemorable. My salad is, believe it or not, a Cobb Salad. There wasn’t much cheese in the blue cheese dressing.