Sunday, 2 August 2009

Trip down Memory Lane

WHEN I was a little girl sunny Sunday afternoons were often spent pottering round the Cotswolds village of Broadway.
Then the Scandinavians invaded, and our cream teas and browse around the Edinburgh Woolen Mill was replaced with trips to Ikea and - more often than not - a plate of meatballs.
So our weekend trip to the Cotswolds was not only delightful, but delightfully nostalgic.
Our night away was spent at the newly refurbished Noel Arms in Chipping Campden, just a few miles from Broadway; its quirky little High Street flanked in the same yellow Cotswold stone buildings.
Despite boasting just 28 rooms, the Noel Arms has a cosy pub, coffee shop and restaurant, and staff welcomed us warmly.
Our room was so 'new' (just six weeks since refurbishment) the smell of fresh paint still lingered. It's roll top bath and luxurious wet-room style shower were particularly impressive.
After exploring the picturesque village - regularly billed as one of the prettiest in the Cotswolds - we took dinner in the restaurant.
Service was relaxed but staff were impressively well-informed about the menu, and origin of ingredients.
I was sold even before I'd ordered, following the delivery of a basket of still-warm homemade bread. Id' have happily dined on that and that alone.
However, since the bread basket and the butter pat wasn't limitless I opted for a starter of hummus served with crisp aubergines and yogurt, while the boy chose the tomato and celery soup.
The hummus was good and chunky. complementing the crispy fried aubergines and cool yogurt dressing. Tomatoes scattered with olives, red onion and capers added piquancy.
The other half, who doesn't normally like celery, raved about the soup - the usually bitter vegetable in its raw state adding vibrancy and depth to the tomato flavour.
Our main courses looked as if they'd been sent from different kitchens; my chicken breast with sage and butter gnocchi was a rustic affair, although nothing I couldn't have knocked up at home (and I'm no Nigella).
Meanwhile, the boy's pan-fried guinea fowl with sausage of leg meat, potato rosti and rich pomegranate-studded sauce was a more sophisticated affair and wouldn't have looked, or tasted, out of place in a top-class restaurant.
He pronounced it one of the best main course dishes he'd had in ages, following it with a well presented board of local cheeses including Double Gloucester and Cotswold Blue.
Struggling, after mountains of bread, and then gnocchi, I opted for the zingy passionfruit sorbet, delicately garnished in crumbled shortbread and redcurrants.
The following morning we ate breakfast in the conservatory.
The boy enjoyed his poached eggs, sausage, tomato and bacon, although was miffed that the menu specified the bacon was 'rindless' when it was not.
I tucked into Cotswold yogurt, fresh fruit and honey, as well as toast spread with quality jam.
Although our stay was only brief, it was most relaxing and enjoyable.
For more details on the Noel Arms visit


Thinspired said...

Noel Arms looks like a charming little place! I want to visit the Cotswolds again soon. I have only been to Stow-on-the-Wold (spelling?) and I didn't get to see much of it. Thanks for the restaurant suggestion.

Emily said...

It is lovely, as is Stow. They are all very similar. Visited Daylesford Organic too, will blog about that next. You'd love it

Paolo Panini said...

Tina and I have plans to visit Daylesford Organic in the next three weeks, as we have heard so much about it. Tina knows the chef there, so I am interested in hearing about your experience, and directions there please?

Emily said...

Of course Paolo. I shall be blogging about it in the next few days. Check out the website at