CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Restaurant Review: The Butchers Arms, Eldersfield

PUBLISHED: 01:16 20 October 2011 | UPDATED: 12:06 28 February 2013

The Butchers Arms gets Katie Jarvis' seal of approval.

Restaurant Review: The Butchers Arms, Eldersfield



The deliveryman who knocks on our door looks white and shaky as he hands over a parcel. Ive just delivered a package to Keith Allen, he tremors, and he opened the door stark naked.



Ooh! I say, in comforting crescendo, trying to form a sentence in which the words naked package and Keith sound reassuringly normal. Because, in fact, this is completely normal for Keith, who happens to be a very charming neighbour.



Clearly the deliveryman has led a sheltered life. Its not like that Saturday morning, for example, when I got up bleary eyed and shot into the bathroom to powder my nose, completely forgetting there was a ladder up against the outside of the window with a man painting the frame.



I wouldnt say there was a wobble, wobble, crash exactly. But it was the incoherent sounds of mental discomfort that alerted me to the fact that all was not well. It wouldnt have been so bad but he was a neighbour; we never looked each other in the eye again.



Another deeply humiliating incident, as we seem to be onto the subject, involved coming back off holiday to an empty fridge. So I did a sort of Clement Freud, making a delicious family meal out of a few bits of cardboard, nails and sticky-backed plastic.



A friend dropped by and was so impressed by my improvisation, she stopped to watch me making a white sauce from a packet of flour Id found modestly lurking at the back of said-cupboard. As I added it to butter, I realised it was more mobile than Id expected. In fact, it had evolved an entire and likeable personality of which bits were waving cheerily at me from the pan.



But let us leave this world of staggeringly low standards for a while. Its Ceri McQueen, our marketing supremo, who suggests the Butchers Arms for review. You must go to Eldersfield, she commands, much in the manner of Gandalf to Bilbo. Elders-where? I ask, semi-suspicious that this is yet another joke based on our relative ages. The Guardian gave it a good review, and Matthew Fort recommends it, she clinched.



So we head off blimey; beyond Gloucester to places so rural they make Amberley look as if it should have its own Underground system, to the Butchers Arms, where Snoop, the Scotty dog, greets guests with dignity at the door. Then ruins the effect by sprawling in the pub with her legs in the air. Tart, says the chap at the next table, knowingly.



By rights, the Butchers Arms should be inhabited by people who fall menacingly silent the minute you walk in, and who know the location of at least three bodies. But someone has got it wrong. Someone has made it one of the most fantastic food pubs in the county. The menu is compact but startling. Starters include Cornish fish soup with smoked cod, turbot, crab and red mullet; Bath chap with black pudding, cucumber pickle and fried bantam egg. (This is becoming strangely Hobbit-esque.)



We tuck into monkfish wrapped in Iberico ham (just the descriptions make me dewy-eyed) with chanterelle mushrooms, carrot puree; and Salcombe crab cakes with tomato and chilli relish and crme fraiche. Its so perfectly cooked, Im reduced to grateful weeping fits: sourced by someone who loves food; planned by someone who dreams about it.



And the main courses follow suit: fillet of Hereford beef, for example, with anna potato, crispy cows tongue and cheek and beetroot; and loin of Chedworth roe deer with celeriac puree, red cabbage, chestnuts and bacon. I have another fishy dish (unusual for me): pan-fried fillet of hake with cider-braised pork belly (fancy being allowed the two!), butter beans and salsa verde; while Ian has a perfect breast of Gressingham duck with pumpkin ravioli, ratatouille and basil pesto. Its gorgeous food, served by the lovely Elizabeth who owns the pub with James, whos tucked in the kitchen along with one of their mums whod kindly volunteered to wash up.



After nice puds Seville orange marmalade pudding with Drambuie custard, and treacle tart with (fab) white chocolate ice cream and apple sauce (but on the small side) and coffee, we paid 110 without trying too hard. But you know what youre paying for. Improve Snoops moral code and theyre onto a winner.



The Butchers Arms, Lime Street, Eldersfield, Gloucester GL19 4NX, Tel: 01452 840 381; www.thebutchersarms.net



Ambience 8



Service 7.5



Food 9



Value for money 7



Three of a kind: Hidden gems



â–  The Howard Arms, Lower Green, Ilmington CV36 4LT Tel: 01608 682226;


www.howardarms.com


It may not be well-known throughout the Cotswolds, but this is a 400-year-old pub beloved of the Sunday Times, where the food is roaringly good and the open fires are delicious.



â–  The Ostrich Inn, Newland


GL16 8NP Tel: 01594 833260; www.theostrichinn.com


This is one pub that shouldnt be hiding its head in the sand. Easy to find opposite the church known as the Cathedral of the Forest.



â–  Trouble House Inn, London Road, Tetbury GL8 8SG Tel: 01666 502206; www.troublehousetetbury.co.uk


Food with thought characterises the menu, whether its sardines on toast, 18-hour pot-roasted beef, or a nice bit of duck from Madgetts Farm.


More from Food & Drink

Wed, 11:43

Wine Wednesday’s with Vintopia of Tetbury.

Read more
Wed, 10:37

Festive a la carte menu launches in Grey’s Brasserie from 26th November.

Read more
Wed, 09:31

Cotswold Life readers enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with our compliments when joining us for our Autumn Feast Lunch Offer.

Read more
Tue, 12:00

Whether you’re after something for an adults’ stocking filler, a little something while you slave over the turkey dinner or a tipple to enjoy with your festive party guests, we pick 9 drinks from the Cotswolds you need to try this Christmas

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

If we can continue to show our support for talented and industrious jam-makers like these, we might just pull our favourite preserve out of the sticky situation it’s supposed to be in!

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

‘If its autumn in Gloucestershire, then it must be time for Apple Day when we celebrate cider’

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Here’s our pick of some of the very best chefs from our local pubs, restaurants and hotels in and around the Cotswolds and sharing their advice and tips on how they made themselves and their businesses successful

Read more
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Can you keep a secret? This offer is just for you!

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

Ciderologist Gabe Cook is on a one-man mission to promote the many benefits of drinking REAL cider

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

Fresh, locally grown plums are the unsung heroes of the fruit world so seek out local varieties and rediscover the joy of your childhood fruit

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

We’re fortunate to have fantastic pubs and restaurants on our doorstep in the Cotswolds, with many serving delicious dishes as well a great round of drinks. Here are six which champion local produce, and seasonal ingredients, to create mouthwatering menus

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Niall Keating of The Dining Room at Whatley Manor enjoys showcasing the best of the world’s cuisines to his diners

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Awe-inspiring views, picture-perfect scenery and iconic landmarks, the Cotswolds is the perfect place to enjoy a countryside ramble. We pick 7 walks for you to try with nearby cafes to rest your weary feet and indulge in a cream tea

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Discover the local pioneers who are creating delicious destinations for food-lovers

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search