(First a note to anyone stopping in from NaBloPoMo. I am completely unqualified to write the ‘restaurant reviews‘ series on my blog. I am an amateur, and my hypothetical target audience for these reviews is ‘mothers of families who have just arrived in the Gloucestershire area from overseas and have no kitchen equipment and are eating out frequently.’ So, a bit specific. I welcome any critiques, and tomorrow you’ll be back to my usual wanderings and musings.)
At 4pm on a weekday, we were suddenly possessed by the urge to return to Bourton-on-the-Water and see the town at sunset and twilight. After playing pooh-sticks and following the ducks down the River Windrush, we took a chance and walked in to The Croft for dinner.
Victoria Street at Chester House Hotel
Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2BU
0 1451 821132
Modern and clean but clearly still in tune with the old stone Cotswold building in which it resides. Fabulous views of High Street and the River Windrush. When we walked in early on a Thursday evening, the dining room was empty, and it slowly filled with an older local crowd. Don Henley was playing all evening, which struck me as a bit hilarious, but made it clear The Croft is unpretentious. The staff welcomed us in and were quick and efficient with our meals without giving us any sense of rush.
No one seemed to mind our kid-noise, possibly because we were off to a corner by ourselves. There is a chidren’s menu that includes more than the usual fish, chicken, and cheese pizza — what a relief. No coloring books or activities, but the view of the ducks and passers-by out the window was endlessly amusing. As were the giant bowls filled with silverware in the center of the tables.
Garlic bread was fresh and the garlic strong. Salads were lightly dressed (we’ve gotten used to seeing undressed salads) and were made with a larger variety of lettuce and cut vegetables than we’ve seen typically. A lamb shank was prepared with a subtle but beautifully pervasive mint flavor and served with a variety of steamed fresh vegetables. Husband was so-so about the fish and chips, finding them slightly bland. Plaice Goujon (fish strips) and chicken fillets (chicken nuggets) were prepared to kid-satisfaction. All items are locally sourced and seasonally fresh — the ice cream was especially delicious, and our apple crumbles were bowl-lickingly good.
Kids meals were a bit over 4 pounds each and were substantial portions. This is less expensive than we’ve been seeing in Cheltenham, but the meals did not include pudding (dessert). Adults entrees ranged from seven to thirteen pounds, desserts about 5 pounds each but worth every bite. All in all not an everyday place to eat for a family but a better family dining out value than comparable restaurants in Cheltenham — if you don’t mind the drive.
Locally sourced foods, view of the village, friendly staff and delicious desserts — we were ready to float away down the river when we left and I’m eager to return.