CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

The Falcon, Cirencester - Restaurant Review

PUBLISHED: 09:06 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:34 20 February 2013

The Falcon

The Falcon

"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." Pub critic, G. M. Ball, finds that two entrepreneurs have taken Emerson's wisdom to heart and are building the foundations of a great pub business

The Falcon could just as well rename itself The Phoenix, as it's not the first time this roadside hostelry has risen from the proverbial ashes. Back in 2004 it was flying high and winning more medals than Michael Phelps for its excellent food, then the owners cashed in their chips and sold it in 2007 to seemingly hapless proprietors who literally cut off the Falcon's wings and watched it crash back to earth.



Then along came John and Maggie Armstrong. Buoyed by the success of The Puesdown Inn, The Falcon bears some similarities to its sister pub in Compton Abdale. For a start it's a typical roadside inn on the A417 between Cirencester and Fairford, much in the same way as The Puesdown sits along the A40 between Oxford and Cheltenham.



Unsurprisingly the food at The Falcon is equally as good as John Armstrong overseas the menu and the cooking at both establishments. Maggie Armstrong told me that the fact The Falcon had been so successful in previous years made them know instinctively that they could work their magic and bring the pub back to its former glory.



I have long been a fan of John Armstrong's cooking and his wife's business like approach to getting the little things right. John likes to push food boundaries and most of the time it works well, but he also cooks the staples as well as anyone. Maggie brings her five star hotel experience to bear, which means she knows how to hire good staff, with good manners and turn them out well. No girls in low-cut jeans and excess flesh wobbling around the table here.



On the rainy and slightly chilly September Saturday that I dined here with my partner, on entrance I almost broke into a rendition of "come on baby light my fire" as alas; the great fireplace was unlit and cold with only a few people dotted around it. But we were early. A pleasant greeting moments later and menus offering simple originality and some firm favourites immediately banished the thought and brightened the mood.



Split into two areas, the decor is contemporary Cotswold: all stone walls and Farrow and Ball colours with big solid thick timber tables. If the strategy was to make it feel homely trustworthy and dependable, the interior designer understood the brief well.



The chalkboard offers two courses from 12.50 or three for 15. Starters include the usual suspects such as vegetable soup and prawn cocktail, main courses include stir fried pork with basmati rice, and, beer battered cod, homemade chips and pea puree (mushy peas to the unenlightened). For those affected by the sub-prime crisis there's also hot and cold sandwiches, priced at around a fiver.



The menu is compact and slightly less adventurous than The Puesdown, and I think that's a good thing. John still oversees cooking at both establishments and dashes back and forth to each pub to ensure his sous chef is dishing out high quality goods. Doing this with a safe menu means less room for things to wrong.



We skipped starters and ordered steak with peppercorn sauce, chips and tomatoes, and, beer battered cod with chips and peas. The steak was perfect, succulent and cooked to perfection. The cod was full of taste with a thin delicate batter, and oh the peas! We shared a chocolate brownie with blackberries, which was soft and bursting with flavour. The menu changes regularly here to reflect what's in season, so do check the website before making a booking.



By the time we had drained the last remnants of a pint of Hook Norton and a glass of Sauvignon we looked up to find the place much busier and warmer, with that little excitable buzz of energy in the air that makes eating out so pleasurable from time-to-time. As we savoured the green views of picturesque Poulton from the window I made a note in the diary to inform the Armstrong's if ever a pub comes onto the market in the village in which we live.




Typical Starters and Prices



Ham Hock Terrine with Chutney & Toast - 6.00


Warm Duck Confit with Pine Nuts & Honey - 6.95



Typical Main Courses



Grilled Rump Steak, Rocket Salad, Barnaise Sauce and Chips - 17.00


Fillet of Sea Bass, Julienne of Vegetables & Saffron Mash - 13.50




IMPORTANT FACTS



Getting there: On the A417 roughly half way between Cirencester and Fairford




Serving times: Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday



Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday



Bookings: 01285 850844



Website: www.falconpoulton.co.uk




G. M. Ball's second edition of the best selling Forty Classic Cotswolds Pubs was released earlier this year and is available at all good bookstores, price at 7.95.


More from Food & Drink

Mon, 13:09

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

Read more
Mon, 09:13

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