Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Wheatsheaf, Northleach

For a while now, every time I've spoken to anyone about good restaurants/pubs in The Cotswolds (and there are many) The Wheatsheaf in Northleach has cropped up. People are really rating this country pub in a small Cotswold town tucked away off the busy A40 from Oxford to Cheltenham.

So after a busy week at work and with little energy to cook but in need of good food to start the weekend, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to find out for ourselves what all the fuss is about.

We arrived at The Wheatsheaf, pinching the last parking space (but no worries if you're not as lucky, you can find parking in Northleach square or lining the pretty streets) and were welcomed by a large party enjoying a drink in the sun trapped garden wearing the weirdest collection of colourful wigs. They were clearly having a good time so not a bad first impression.

The beautiful Cotswold stone building from the front is covered in lush green ivy which you can see peering in from the comfy windows seats inside. The interior isn't like your traditional country boozer, The Wheatsheaf is warm and stylish, with a mix of carefully picked antiques, classic touches and modern twists. 

We arrived at 7.45pm for a pre-dinner drink before our table at 8.30pm, I think we were lucky to get a last minute table on what looks like a busy Friday shift. A much needed glass of Prosecco for me and a pint for Harry. The bar is well stocked with both local and trusted tipples and less known international beers on tap. My chilled glass of Prosecco was served in a beautiful vintage inspired champagne glass and we were handed the A La Carte Menus to browse. The menu was a mouth watering selection, easy to read under clear headings of Aperitifs, On Toast, Seafood, Starters, Mains and Grill. As delicious as my glass of Prosecco was I wish I had gone for the suggested Grapefruit Margarita, top of the delicious looking menu. After some discussion and trying to convince each other we could share we decided on our separate orders. Cheese soufflé and Ham Hock to start and Chicken and Sirloin for mains.

The food really was as good as people had been raving about. The cheese soufflĂ© was light but covered in an indulgent cheese sauce with hints of green spinach running through. We probably could have shared the starter as be both begged each other to finish it off (it was my choice after all, so I won). Then mains, my chicken came on a bed of Panzanella Salad which was crunchy with croutons and veg but with a delicious zinging dressing. Harry was beaming after his steak, the best he's had in a long time, cooked perfectly and not a scrap left.

We were a little full for dessert but couldn't resist asking what a Marathon dessert was - of course, Snickers!! A hot chocolate fondant with peanuts hidden inside and a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on top. We couldn't say no and I'm so glad we didn't, it was amazing!

All the food was delicious. The atmosphere felt special but still relaxed so a perfect place to eat on any occasion and is obviously enjoyed by friendly locals, their dogs and visiting residents so a lovely treat just for a drink. I look forward to returning to The Wheatsheaf again, next time I'm excited to try their set menu served every Sunday-Thursday from 6pm in the back bar just off the pub garden. A 3 course set menu, including a steak all for £16. Bargain! 

Have you eaten at The Wheatsheaf before? What did you think? Any other Cotswold pub recommendations? 

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