It’s a rare thing these days dining out with ‘the husband’ and having a childfree night. One has to make the very most of it and choose as wisely as possible. I have been longing to try out the food at The Old Stocks Inn, Stow on the Wold for at least a couple of years so when I heard that the new head chef at the leading Cotswold hotel and restaurant, Ian Percival had marked his arrival with the launch of a new seasonal menu, I thought what better place to choose for this momentous occasion!
We arrived at the cosy and inviting Inn / hotel the on a wet and miserable evening last week and a rather too dark evening for August but thoughts of the end of the summer soon vanished when the charming Bar Manager – Richard Tuck invited to me to enjoy a twist on the Prosecco I had just ordered.
Not being one to turn down such an invitation a dice was placed in front of me with the promise of an intriguing addition to my drink of choice..one of 12 Briottett Liquers …one of The Tasteful Twelve!
I rolled the dice and it landed on a Number 3 first…
”Erm” says Richard, ”you may not like that, it’s a little predictable” and so I rolled again and this time landing on a ‘9’ ….”yup.. that’s a good choice” says Richard.
Without further a do my Prosecco with a twist was forth coming….it arrived far quicker than it took for me to guess what had been added – the answer which I failed to guess was …..Lychee and it was surprisingly DELICIOUS.
So much so that I had to have another so roll again I did (it was fun you see 😉 and this time …a Prosecco complete with Apple liquer arrived.
Whilst we enjoyed our drinks (me mostly) and scoured the varied and quiet lengthy menu a very attentive Bar Man asked if we had any questions about the food menu.
Its always a good sign if, when asking the Bar staff a question about the food menu the response you get back is knowledgeable and without hesitation and I was really impressed that this very attentive and friendly guy knew the restaurant menu like the back of his hand.
I don’t think there’s a sensible question I could have asked him about that varied menu that he didn’t know and my husband and I both agreed then and there that this was shaping up to be the best service we had experienced in the Cotswolds, in fact anywhere in a long while.
The menu was full of choice. Mains on offer included – Duck, Stone Bass, Pork, Arancini, Chicken, Steak and more..
The new head chef – Ian Percival, took the helm at the renowned Stow-on-the-Wold eatery in July after clocking up more than five years in head chef positions across the Cotswold region, and he says he’s now relishing the opportunity to put his own twist on the Old Stocks’ offering.
“It’s great to have arrived here at the Old Stocks Inn and had the chance to make an impression on the menu so soon.
“The team’s philosophy of serving British cuisine with an innovative twist is very much in line with my approach to food, so it’s been great to experiment with local produce and flavours to create something that really captures the Old Stocks’ personality.”
Ian has introduced fantastic new dishes to the menu, including starters such as smoked ham hock served with apricot, Earl Grey and brioche the starter which my husband enjoyed immensely.
New mains such as plaice, served with risotto, mussels, caviar and samphire and desserts such as Parma Violet – a violet panna cotta served with blueberries are all thoughtful additions.
I myself chose a lighter starter which was unusual for me and decided upon Apple and Celeriac soup, mainly to pave the way for my Rib Eye Steak and Chilli & Lime fries and not wanting to be too full to enjoy dessert which frankly is a treat and one which I wouldn’t have given up easily.
So let me tell you about the mains.. the Husband absolutely loved his Chicken choice and let’s just say the Steak was grateful that I had gone easy on the starter. The accompanying Chilli & Lime fries… oh my…they were something special and I had to fend the husband off from them more than once or twice . Here’s the Pork Loin served with cream potato, wholegrain mustard and pork crunch – neither of us had this dish but I certainly will do next time..
Our dessert choices were multiple….
A safe and predictable choice from the husband took the form of Ice Cream.. Hillbrook’s Ice Cream, a family farm, nestled within the beautiful area of the Malvern Hills, on the borders of Gloucestershire & Herefordshire.
Chocolate and Vanilla for him and for me, the aforementioned speciality from Head Chef Ian – the Parma Violet Panna Cotta with Blueberries. In addition to this because, well, when in Rome and all that jazz….I washed mine down with a Gin & Tonic Sorbet.
There was none left on the plate (s), I’ll thank the soup starter as well as Ian’s exemplary culinary skills!
And to top it all off.. a complimentary after dinner Liquer was served as a perfect end to a lovely evening with impressive service and unbeatable food, in fact, in the words of my husband as we left the table ‘that was the best meal we have ever had in the Cotswolds’ and… we’ve had a few.
The Old Stocks Inn has asserted itself as one of the most popular fine-dining locations in the Cotswolds and Ian’s arrival on the team is certain to bolster that reputation further. General Manager Charlotte Tuck says ..
And they do Charlotte – the menu, the service, the bar, the wine, the cooking, the decor…it’s all a winning combination and gets a VERY BIG 5 star recommendation from CotswoldCreate.
The Old Stocks Inn, Stow-on-the-Wold serves lunch from 12-2:30pm and dinner from 6pm.
For further information, visit www.oldstocksinn.co.uk and if you visit then please do let me know how you get on!