Decided on a long weekend away from London and I have never actually been to The Cotswolds, despite it being not all that far from London. I will try and post the other places I ate but Jesse’s Bistro definitely deserves it’s own post.
It’s a small place in tucked away in a courtyard and it’s the kind of local restaurant that every town should have. The reason it piqued my interest is that it is a restaurant that grew out of a butcher’s shop but in the end we didn’t end up eating any meat.
My starter was North Cerney goats cheese curd, roasted cauliflower, spiced lentils, curry oil. The cauliflower and lentils worked beautifully together and the curry oil was not overpowering. The curd gave a lovely creaminess. My only gripe was there was too much curd for the amount of cauliflower.
The missus chose Severn Valley smoked salmon, compressed cucumber, kohlrabi, caviar, creme fraiche, baby leaves. I manged to try some and the salmon was cut quite thickly, which I liked. You would expect a lovely freshness from the kohlrabi and cucumber to cut through the richness of the salmon which is exactly what you got. A dish that tastes exactly as you’d want from the menu description.
I assumed I would be ordering meat for main what with them having a butchers shop. However they had one of my favourite fish on the menu- gilthead bream. This was a great piece of cooking. Crisp skin, which I ate all of , with perfectly cooked soft fish beneath. It came with brown shrimp and samphire, which were great accompaniments.Only issue is that it came with mash potato and I’m not a fan of that with fish .
The missus also went for fish- plaice with pickled clams and fennel. She declared it perfectly cook and especially liked the fennel with it.
Panna Cotta for the missus. Now I love panna cotta but have had so many disappointing versions. Either it’s far too solid or they serve it in a bowl which takes out the skill of making a panna cotta that melts in the mouth but still stands up. ( I’m still searching one as good as the one with roasted peaches and lavender that I had at Babylon , Kensington Roof Gardens. ) I didn’t try it but I was informed that I would have found it too set but I have very high standards when it comes to panna cotta.
I decided on the South West Cheese Board Clockwise from the top; Bath Soft, Blue Horizon, Holy Smoked and Cornish Smuggler. My favourite by a long way was the Bath Soft , a very ripe brie type cheese. I hadn’t actually ordered the Holy Smoked (a smoked Single Gloucester) not being a fan of smoked cheese but had wanted Devon Oke. It was the only misstep in the whole meal.
The wine list was pretty reasonable and we shared a bottle of white Burgandy Montagny, 1er Cru, Bouchard Pere & Fils Burgundy. France, 2014* **B. A big fan of white Burgandy and it was beautifully balanced.
Service was friendly and unobtrusive as it should be.
All in all a very good meal. Nothing revolutionary but good cooking with good ingredients in dishes that make sense. Not as common as perhaps it should be. If I lived in Cirencester I’m sure I’d be a regular and count myself lucky.