There are two dining options at Calcot
The first, which is open for lunch and dinner, is the bistro-style “Gumstool Inn”. It takes its name from the nearby Gumstool Hill, and is relatively informal, serving “premium pub food” such as steak and fish and chips.
The second venue is “The Conservatory” restaurant, and its appearance can be described as somewhere between smart casual and fine dining. It can seat around 100 diners at a time, and the hive of activity in the open kitchen is there for all to see. There are numerous tables that look out over the surrounding countryside where the spectacular vista can be admired between courses. Dietary requirements are very well catered for in both of the eateries as everything is prepared from scratch.
Although the à la carte menu is not extensive, there is a more than adequate selection to catch your eye, and the same applies to the wine list. After a generous helping of warm and crusty white bread from our attentive hosts, I started with a “Tuna à la Nicoise” salad (£11) featuring a piece of near rare fish steak which boasted a deliciously tender texture.
My companion sampled the finely sliced Calcot organic beef Breasola (£8) which had been immaculately prepared. It was exquisite. For the main, I opted for the potato and rosemary rosti (£16), a stack of vegetables which consisted of a fried base, wild mushrooms, baby spinach and poached egg, all topped with a sumptuous creamy sauce and garnish. My partner tried the herb crusted rack of lamb (£28) which came with a helping of new potatoes and a subtle gravy to finish off this dish.
With what had been a truly superb meal, dessert proved a tough choice as there are so many great creations to choose from, namely raspberry and shortbread millefeuille, and vanilla crème brûlée (all for £8). We decided to finish with something light and refreshing – homemade ice cream and sorbet (£2.75 per scoop).
Breakfast is served back in the bright and sun-kissed Conservatory. “From the buffet”, there is more than enough to satisfy any cravings, namely different types of cereals, organic muesli, yoghurt, freshly baked pastries, nuts and several juices. For those who prefer something a little more substantial, the “From the kitchen” section of the menu, which does not come at any additional cost, spans from Calcot’s full English to smoked haddock kedgeree. I sampled a delicious and filling mushroom and cheese omelette, whilst my other half tucked into the warm pancakes with mixed summer berries.
In fact, in the morning, diners are not only nicely set-up in terms of being well nourished, but guests are also fully informed about what lies ahead, courtesy of a small leaflet which is placed on each of the tables. It shows the day’s weather forecast and lists the main attractions, which includes the nearby Westonbirt Arboretum and Berkeley Castle – a nice touch.
For families and couples alike, Calcot is an idyllic and beautiful Cotswolds retreat where you reluctantly hand back your key card. It is a rural escape from the daily grind, where all of life’s woes can be left at the front door, and all that needs to be done is to sit back and relax, whilst taking full advantage of the hotel’s excellent and well-versed hospitality.
Calcot – Where and How?
Calcot is situated near Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8YJ. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.calcot.co or call +44(0)1666 890 391.
Bedroom rates start at £199, which includes a full English breakfast, early morning tea/coffee, a daily newspaper, VAT and service. An additional supplement of £30 per child, per night from 0-16 is additional covers breakfast, High Tea and use of the Playzone.
By Simon Wittenberg