“Notting Hill comes to the country!”, at Emily Watkins’s “rustic” inn; it takes different people different ways – fans love its “deeply ambitious” cooking and “comfy” style, but critics say the food “doesn’t always deliver”.
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“[A]nyone thinking of opening a local pub restaurant should come here and see the gold standard”, says the critic, who is much impressed by this seemingly rural gastroboozer. Problem is, the critic is not convinced that this neck of the woods can really be described as ‘country’ at all: “[i]f you want mud round here, you have to order it from Daylesford”.
Matthew Norman (2nd October 2008)
The critic visits the restaurant of a “handsome pub in a ridiculously pretty Cotswold village”, where the “sepulchral” atmosphere is at odds with that of the jolly but Sloaney (not that you’d find such a word in the Guardian) bar. Service isn’t up to much either, and “while Fat Duck alumna Emily Watkins is clearly a technically gifted chef with a passionate commitment to using the freshest and most local ingredients, [the food] wasn't spectacular enough to save the day”.
Zoe Williams (16th June 2008)
It may be like the produce of a liaision between a “sweet, delightful restaurant” and “a brassy London gastrobar”, but the critic likes her visit to the inn where there’s a Blumenthal protégé at the stoves. “I can see this place lasting a very long time, lasting to a time when nobody can even remember how many fashionable boxes it once ticked”, she says. “It's charming.”
Terry Durack (26th November 2007)
The chef’s Fat Duck training draws the critic to this “cute” little pub. He finds her approach: “in transition, caught between the precision and control of modern fine-dining, and the desire to build a local-food culture and with it, a personal style”. “The place abounds with good intentions, high ethics and great produce”, he finds, “but the cooking is still uneven… and the local staff are friendly but stretched.” Prices are “ridiculously” low.