Review of Tetbury's Sixty-five restaurant
PUBLISHED: 11:55 09 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:55 09 January 2015
Sixty-five is an odd number, but, as Katie Jarvis discovered, this homely restaurant in Tetbury serves up good honest food made by someone who cares
January resolutions. I promise that:
1. I will stop claiming I watch Real Housewives of New Jersey and the Jeremy Kyle Show “because I find the psychology so genuinely interesting”. I accept that, if I disappear for 20 years and am eventually found bound and gagged in the attic, it will be because of my family’s understandable rage at my not being able to utter the simple statement, “I enjoy reality TV”.
2. I will stop claiming to visitors, “Actually, I don’t really watch television; I much prefer to read”, while simultaneously being able to discuss the outcome of most shows with startling clarity.
3. When Ian goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I will cheerfully wake and informatively discuss the possible onset of prostate problems rather than passively-aggressively rolling my eyeballs in a way that ensures the whites will show, even in pitch dark.
4. I will acknowledge that being passive aggressive fools no-one in the house.
5. I will not pile extra duvets, dressing gowns and blankets on my side of the bed, only to throw the entire lot onto Ian circa 1am (Ian’s estimate), precipitating him having to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
6. I will properly discipline Ruby the cocker spaniel instead of constantly claiming to walkers with paw-prints up their front, “How odd. She’s never done that before.”
7. I will conquer my OCD and accept that, if the toaster isn’t exactly perpendicular with the knife stand, dreadful things won’t happen in the world.
8. When, as a result of the toaster not being perpendicular, dreadful things happen in the world, I won’t say, “Well, I did tell you”.
9. I will stop saying, “Whenever I wake up in the morning, I vow to be nice to people” so that Ed constantly has to ask, “So what happened to that today, then?”
10. I will continue to fight against developers wanting to cover the English countryside with inappropriate housing.
We drive through some of this beautiful countryside to Tetbury, where we visit one of the oddest restaurants I’ve ever seen. Good odd. Unusual odd. Odd odd. Number Sixty Five has been recommended to us by Penny, one of Ian’s friends, with possibly the world’s most beautiful smallish garden, and two cats who enjoy a lifestyle of the kind of sophistication everyone bar Brian Sewell can only dream of.
It’s cold outside but, inside, in a room with the sort of Axminster that conjures up grandmothers, carpet beaters and McCarthyism, there’s a cheery fire in the grate and The Archers playing on a wireless in the kitchen. I feel sure it’s a wireless, though I can’t quite hear whether or not David and Ruth are battling Ebola or trying to stop ISIS declaring the Islamic State in the milking parlour at Brookfield Farm. No matter. Their job is to make you realise that, no matter how bleak life can be, it’s never as dreadful as theirs.
The lady in the black dress, who welcomes us so warmly, sits us at a table for two and brings canapés. I’m pretty sure they’re not homemade but they’re welcome and we feel looked after and relaxed. The red wine is pulled from a larder as cold as the Beardmore, so, without fuss or undue concern, she opens it and puts it by the fire to warm.
The menu, at a set £30 per head, is a joyous celebration of things you’re not afraid to eat. I begin with crispy halloumi made piquant with a colourful beetroot and orange salad - not a choice I’d have dreamed up but really very nice; while Ian tries some pork and red pepper patties jollied up with a sweet chilli sauce.
For main course, I have some pork - simply served with a cream sauce, sautée potatoes and some fresh, crisp vegetables; while Ian has the venison special. It’s not acrobats jumping through fiery hoops, but it’s good, honest food, made by someone who cares and served by someone who wants you to feel completely at home. And it works. It’s the closest I’ve been to dining in someone’s home ever, apart from when I was dining in someone’s home. I really, really enjoy it.
Ian thinks it’s expensive for £30 but, with old-fashioned puds (a chocolate bread-and-butter) and coffee and petit fours (including an After Eight) included, I’m not so sure. You know where you’re up to with a set menu price that includes pretty much all you’d want to eat (a bread roll, too).
It’s empty when we arrive, and with a handful of diners when we leave. It deserves more. Go on - make a resolution to dine somewhere different. And, if you do, Number Sixty Five deserves to be somewhere on that list.
Number Sixty Five, 65 Long Street, Tetbury GL8 8AA, 01666 503346; www.numbersixtyfive.co.uk/restaurant.html
Value for money 7
Our restaurant reviews are completely independent. Katie arrives unannounced and pays for her meal.