During our visit to the Cotswolds last weekend, Fig restaurant, focused on fine dining and British cuisine, invited me to try their three-course dinner menu. I was joined by Ms B, my wife.
The restaurant is part of the lovely boutique hotel Cotswold House and Spa, owned by Bespoke Hotels group, and located in the main building, a splendid Regency mansion that used to be home to the local Guild of Handicraft. Read our review of the hotel here.
The dining room has large windows towards the magnificent park-like gardens of the hotel and exudes an atmosphere of grandeur and elegance.
The maître d’ led us to our table and after brief deliberation, Ms B opted for hand-picked crab, yuzu, cucumber, and avocado as a starter, roast fillet of turbot, fregola, peas, broad beans, clams and Marsala as her main, and caramelised spelt, milk jelly, coffee ice cream, and honeycomb for dessert.
I chose the slow-cooked pork belly, red pepper, smoked potato and fennel as a starter, the free-range guinea fowl, Anna potato, and asparagus as my main, and the cheese platter as my third course.
To accompany our meals, my wife picked a white Sancerre, I treated myself to a Saint-Émilion (we had both fallen in love with this heavy dark red Bordeaux wine during a visit to this picturesque French town one and a half years ago).
It did not take long until our first courses arrived. I was very pleased with my pork belly and the exceptionally full, spicy flavour of the red pepper puree. Ms B was equally happy with her crab meat, that went very well with the strong citric aromas of the yuzu, nicely balanced by restraining effect of the cucumber and avocado. The meat was as fresh as it gets, as if it had been landed next door by a fishing cutter this very moment.
A short while later our mains were served. There is a reason, why over centuries the French celebrated turbot as the best seafood has to offer. It is. We used to regularly oven-bake whole turbot at home and this evening I was reminded that we should pick that hobby up again. Nothing beats the texture and taste of a well-prepared turbot, and Fig did not fall short of our expectations with their pan-fried fillet version. Pheasant, wood pigeon, and guinea fowl are among my favourites during our visits to the area, and I was a happy man, tucking into my expertly cooked dish of guinea fowl that evening.
Our desserts were also very much to our liking. It is not every day that you eat caramelised spelt, and I was amused when Fig popped up on the top of page one of my search results when I googled “caramelised spelt”. The milk jelly, coffee ice cream, and honeycomb were a winning combination.
I’m regularly being criticised for it and do feel some shame, but it changes nothing in the fact that I am not hugely bought into English cheese (and I tried plenty of it), so my expectations towards my British cheese platter were rather limited. Out of 7 cheeses, I ended up picking Cotswold organic brie, Stichelton blue, Cerney Ash Pyramid goat’s cheese, and Berkswell unpasteurised hard ewe’s cheese, and I’m starting to re-consider my position. Very delightful selection.
We will be back during our next visit.