CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

JRool Bistro, Stroud - Restaurant Review

PUBLISHED: 17:22 15 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:30 20 February 2013

The atmosphere's lovely; you don't have to spend a fortune; and it's all as relaxed as can be, says Katie Jarvis

Lets be serious for one moment.

I could regale you with light-hearted stories of my week, such as how I mysteriously shut my finger, very hard, in a chest of drawers and made such a fuss about it that no one in the family could bring themselves to examine the mangled remains. And then, when they finally did, all anyone could find was a small cut on the end of it. Eerie. But I wont.

Or the fact that Ive just escaped, by myself, to Malta for the weekend, leaving my poor family of three teenagers and abandoned husband unforgivably alone to pull delicious homemade meals out of the fridge and stick them into the oven without any help at all. Except for notes saying things like Turn right at butchers block; walk three paces to shiny metal object; pull open door and lift gaze four inches to shelf with shepherds pie; walk with it to hot object, bend knees to open Aga door... etc, etc. The dog turned out to be the most practical and helpful of the lot. But I wont because Ill sound twitter and bisted.

Or that the plane landed in such high crosswinds at Heathrow that the wings were doing bendy things; and neither the armrests on my seat, nor the pummelled hand of the unwitting stranger sitting next to me, will ever function properly again. But I wont.

Instead, Im going to be completely serious and dedicate this piece to a section of underpraised heroes: the Cotswolds food producers and caterers. Because I was strangely moved by my dining-out experience this month. It called to mind one of my first ever visits to an artisan producer a cheesemaker, as it happens. What struck me was this: here was someone making a product that sold on the shelves of luxury shops, bought by people called Crispin and Quentin (nothing wrong with that) (and Im not implying theyre a couple) who wouldnt think twice about spending 10 or more on a single cheese course. And theres nothing wrong with that, either. But the life of the producer couldnt be more different. Theyre the ones building cheese rooms out of cardboard and string to exacting health and safety standards, nonetheless; working untold hours a day; and returning home, in some cases, to draughty ancient farmhouses with not a touch of Farrow & Ball Wimborne White to be seen. And honestly, Crispin, there really are houses like that.

So why do they do it when they could probably earn more on the tills at Tesco, be eligible to buy all the only-just-in-date GU chocolate brownies at ridiculously low prices, and still be home for EastEnders. Especially as the last time I saw one particular food heroine of mine, she was in tears. Despite having worked all day, she had nothing to show for it because the milk separator (or some such mechanism) had broken down.

I felt like this about JRooL Bistro in Stroud. It was recommended to me by several lots of friends, so we thought wed give it a go. But, you know, we walked past several times, staring in at the window, wondering whether we ought to pass it by, after all. Its not glitzy, though its not exactly dear, either.

And then we went in, and the really nice girl serving (possibly Rachel; or it could have been Leona; both are mentioned on the menu) told us to sit by the heater and turn it up if we were cold. And when we picked our glasses up for a pre-dinner drink, the table came up with them because it was sticky.

But, but, but. There was something so delightfully intimate about it; it was a bit like a dinner with friends (who happen to have a very large dining room filled with lots of small tables). Jason I assume its Jason; he was also mentioned on the menu was cooking in the open kitchen. By himself, as far as I could see. That could have been stressful, but it wasnt; because I could hear that he and Rachel (Leona) were chatting and laughing. And the service from Leona (Rachel) was attentive and just the right sort of low-key-but-Im-here-if-you-need-me stuff.

The food... Actually, my biggest criticism was the bread: tiny portion with lots (admittedly) of olives, for 4.50; a bit steep and a bit plain. But the saut mushrooms on toasted brioche with poached egg was pleasant; and Ian nibbled delicately at the twice-baked smoked haddock souffl. His slow roasted belly pork with braised red cabbage and honey roasted parsnip puree and my roast chicken breast with butternut squash and broad beans (a bit heavy on the gravy) were simple dishes at under 13; but they delivered taste and comfort on a cold night. And we both had the most spoon-licking sticky toffee pudding (I know we should have chosen differently from each other so we could give you more information, but it would have caused a simply dreadful row). And as we ate, a table of five in the corner opened gifts and celebrated a birthday. And everyone smiled.

I dont know who you are Jason, Rachel and Leona; and I assume JRooL is a weird and, some might say, misguided combination of your names; but I love the fact that youre putting your all into this bistro. It really shows. It may not be glam, but the result overrides the sum of its parts. The atmospheres lovely; you dont have to spend a fortune; and its all as relaxed as can be.

Ambience 6, Service 7, Food 6, Value for money 7.

JRooL Bistro, 12 Union Street, Stroud GL5 2HE, 01453 767123;

More from Food & Drink

Monday, December 10, 2018

Veganism is the latest food trend to hit the Cotswolds but it’s something we can all enjoy a bite of

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Alleviate the stress of hectic Christmas preparation and endless shopping trips with a festive afternoon tea in one of these gorgeous Cotswold settings

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

Find a fabulous gift for everyone with Whatley Manor’s monetary vouchers.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The hotel in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire is offering free lunch or afternoon tea for the first ten that book for December 19

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

A perfect gift where rest and relaxation is required.

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

Applications are now open for a new competition that will give people from Gloucestershire the chance to see their food and drink products or ideas appear on supermarket shelves across the county

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Dark and chilly winter evenings are perfect for huddling in the corner of a country pub with friends, catching up over beer and supper. The Cotswolds have cosy pubs aplenty – here are 12 of our favourite places to go...

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

The most famous Bangladeshi restaurant is celebrating an anniversary

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Amid the season of turkey and tinsel Whatley Manor are throwing in a festive curveball, an evening of lobster, fizz & fries!

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wine Wednesday’s with Vintopia of Tetbury.

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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

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