The high quality and number of gastro-pubs in and around the Five Valleys is not
in doubt. But what about proper restaurants? Somewhere for a special occasion, like
a wedding anniversary?
Oldstone in Nailsworth appeared to fit the bill. In the heart of town in, strangely
enough, a very old stone building, Mike and Hilary Foster run a restaurant which
has Tardis-like qualities – mind your head on the way in and on one side is the kitchen.
I'm not keen on restaurants where things are over-formal for the sake of it and Oldstone
doesn't fall in to this trap.
I could bring young-ish children who are fully trained in the art of the knife and
It was pleasant to be seated in the bar beforehand (in better weather the courtyard
looks enticing) with drinks and an amuse-bouche – a nice touch.
I liked the simplicity of the menu. It changes every week or more often than that,
and it's dead easy to follow – set prices of £23 for a main and pudding, £27.50 for
three courses or £13 for a starter and pudding. There's a £3 surcharge for steak
and that's it.
The wine is well-priced for a restaurant too, with plenty of options at £13 and it's
willingly served by the glass. Although this was a night out to celebrate eight years
of wedded harmony, it was nice to know what I was spending beforehand.
My starter of salad with wild rocket, avocado and pine nut salad topped with pancetta
and a poached free-range egg was crisp and warm in the right places.
My wife opted for pan-fried sardines in garlic and parsley, which was a very generous
serving but light enough not to fill her up before her Cotswold pork tenderloin.
It was a tiny bit dry but the apple and cider jus made up for it. "Served on a bed
of black pudding" sounds a little off-beam but it worked and, though never brave
enough to try it before, she thought it was delicious, complementing the pork perfectly.
It's fair to say that all the while her eyes were on my seven-spiced Barbary duck
breast on soy and ginger sauce, which arrived in perfect order. It was well seasoned,
rich meat, with little fat and plenty of flavour. We could have gone for roast cod
supreme, broad beans and Champagne cream sauce or pan-fried sea bass fillet on piquant
pepperonata, an aged local beef fillet with stroganoff sauce or mixed mushroom millefeuille,
herb cream sauce and truffle oil.
But what we really struggled to choose from was the pudding menu.
I was influenced by the look of a neighbouring diners' clotted cream and summer berry
tart with berry sorbet and it tasted even better than it looked. Awesome stuff. The
white chocolate creme brulee was exceptionally gooey and, in true romantic fashion,
my wife allowed me to finish it. The other option, apart from a cheeseboard, was
baked cheesecake and locally-grown gooseberries.
Oldstone was most worthy of a wedding anniversary and I have been told we can return
there to celebrate another marital milestone.