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Pudding heaven at The Old Rectory

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Author: Kirsten Compton, Posted: Monday, 17th September 2018, 12:00

Bakewell Tart & Ice-Cream Bakewell Tart & Ice-Cream

Walking up the gravelled path, through a pretty garden with archways of Yew and scented Jasmine, we arrived at The Old Rectory restaurant, set in a beautiful Cotswolds property steeped in history and charm.

It’s clear to see why owners and restaurateurs Diana and Sean fell in love with this corner of the Cotswolds when they opened The Old Rectory nine years ago.

We stepped through the door to the sounds of bubbling chatter and laughter coming from the restaurant, and moments later we were greeted by the smiling face of Diana – a very talented and skilled maître d’ who welcomed us into the atmosphere of the cosy, relaxed dining room.

The evening, with two other parties seated, was well underway and we were shown to our table, which was beautifully laid with a pristine white linen tablecloth and silverware in keeping with the surroundings.

The dining room was decorated with items reflecting the Cotswold village setting of The Old Rectory, with the focus on horse racing and cricket, which was very apt given the proximity of Colesbourne to nearby Cheltenham.

We decided to have an aperitif while we um’ed and ah’ed’ over the menu.

My husband tried Diana’s recommended real ale ‘Shepherds Delight’ from local microbrewery Cotswold Lion, which was a big hit.

The dinner menu on offer was a fixed price with a selection of three courses; starter, main and the mystery pudding of ‘Hot and Cold Desserts’ – we were already looking forward to this!

The menu was extraordinarily good value for the quality of food served and impeccable service we received, particularly as two evenings before I had been for supper with a friend and paid a similar amount for just a main course.

Sean trained as a chef at the highly acclaimed Claridge’s Hotel in London and this classical training is evident throughout the menu, presentation and overall delivery of the food. Each dish is a labour of skill and care.

My starter of Wye Valley smoked trout was delicious. The lightly smoked fish was perfectly balanced with accompanying horseradish sauce and bread and butter, making a very satisfying start to the meal but leaving the taste buds keen for more.

My husband loves paté and is often a tough customer as a result, but the beautifully blended soft duck liver pate served with plum chutney and Melba toast, immaculately presented in perfectly cut slices was well received.

Diana was on hand to keep our red wine glasses topped up with the bottle of Pinot Noir from the up and coming (if not now arrived) Languedoc wine region of France, which was an excellent pairing for our main course choices.

My husband chose Fillets of Cotswold Lamb served with redcurrant jelly, red wine and port sauce, whilst I couldn’t resist the classic Medallions of Fillet Steak with a peppercorn sauce – both of which were served with a veritable garden of different vegetables.

Step up to the final course – the mysterious pudding menu.

Diana started from the top with her list of desserts created for this evening, which included Raspberry Pavlova, Bakewell Tart, Treacle Tart and a sumptuous Chocolate Gateaux just to name a few.

Each dessert was served with homemade ice-cream, cream or custard, but I’m sure if you wanted all three it wouldn’t have been frowned upon.

Our fellow diners had Panna Cotta, Crème Brûlée, Tiramisu and Birthday Cake – a lovely, discrete touch for Diana and Sean’s guests who were celebrating that evening, but without the horror of us all having to sing in front of strangers!

I chose Bakewell Tart with ice-cream. Generally, I am not a big fan of desserts, but that changed immediately upon the arrival of the tart which was baked to perfection. It had a thin pastry base filled with fluffy light sponge, an ample layer of jam and was topped with almond icing sugar.

On devouring the first spoonful, I was reminded of Greg Wallace from MasterChef who once said that he loved the pudding he was eating so much that he’d “like to bath in it!”

There was no denying it – I was in pudding heaven and a quick glance at my husband’s plate proved I was not alone. I couldn’t help but giggle as, despite his earlier protests of being very full, his plate was almost empty.

I looked around the dining room and the other guests all seemed to have been transported into the same pudding Nirvana as my husband and me.

I can honestly say if I could have fitted in another slice I would have but, alas, it was time for coffee and the road home was beckoning us all back into the real world.

My advice would be to make sure you book ahead, have time to sit, savour and enjoy this unique dining experience, and whatever you do – save room for dessert!

Other Images

Treacle Tart
Fresh vegetables

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