By Sue Kelso Ryan
Whichever part of the county you’re in and whether you’re looking for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea, there will be plenty of food and drink options to create marvellous memories of Gloucestershire.
Cheltenham has an array of quality restaurants offering many styles of cooking. Key among them is Purslane, which is just off the main shopping streets in a Regency building. Taking your seat in the intimate and relaxed dining room, you’ll be greeted by the friendly staff and the homely smell of fresh-baked bread with seaweed butter. The unpretentious dishes on offer are likely to include seafood and fish brought daily from Cornwall, as well as locally sourced meats, fresh produce and cheeses.
The Art Deco Daffodil restaurant in the Suffolks quarter is a former cinema, offering high-end dining, afternoon tea and classic cocktails in a unique setting. You might have seen Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock in the Daffodil during the popular TV series. A popular venue for Cheltenham Festivals events, the seasonally changing menu offers twice-baked double Gloucester soufflé, dukkah-crusted baked aubergine or Chateaubriand steak cooked over coal, perhaps followed by warm pear and almond tart and a glass of Sauternes dessert wine.
Such is the wealth of English tradition found in Gloucestershire that taking afternoon tea is a must. The Well Walk Tearoom is tucked away near the minster, where delicious cakes, scones and sandwiches are served on dainty, floral tea services by the friendly team. Unusually, most of the china and decorations are for sale. Another gem is Lumiere, a few steps from the Promenade, which has three AA rosettes and offers contemporary food including tasting menus, every dish of which is a complete delight. Owners Helen and chef Jon set out to create the restaurant they would love to dine in themselves, so you won’t be disappointed. Both venues are the perfect place to re-charge your batteries before plunging back into retail therapy in the Promenade’s exclusive shops.
Taking your seat in the intimate and relaxed dining room at Purslane, you’ll be greeted by the friendly staff and the homely smell of fresh-baked bread with seaweed butter
Pubs and cafes
The Bell at Sapperton is a real treat. Covered in red-leafed Virginia creeper in autumn, the pub has plenty of outdoor seating and is found alongside the canal, equidistant between Stroud and Cirencester. Their motto, ‘always fresh, always honest’ bodes well for good eating experiences and there’s a warm welcome from the staff, who are easily identified by their tan-coloured aprons.
The Inn at Fossebridge is located in the pretty hamlet of Fossebridge, where the Fosse Way drops into the Cotswolds valley of the River Coln, an area of outstanding natural beauty. The pub is in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2020 and in the summer you can enjoy al fresco dining in the pub’s four acres of riverside gardens.
Located in Gloucester’s historic docks, the Barge Restaurant serves delicious English food, including Sunday roasts and all-day breakfasts. It welcomes children and is unlicensed but there’s no corkage charge if you bring your own. A hit for its relaxed atmosphere and good service.
Café René is housed in a medieval building in one of Gloucester’s oldest streets; it has wooden beams and there’s even a well indoors. Reasons to visit include sumptuous summer barbecues in the beer garden, music nights in the cellar bar and offers like ‘burger and a pint for £10’ on Mondays. They say: ‘We do not serve fast food; we serve good food as fast as we can’. They also serve pirates and zombies during charity events, but that’s another story…