Back in November, we were gifted a stay at The Plough Inn in Cold Aston, which is just between Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-water, as the team launched their new winter menu. The Plough is a proper country pub, 17th century in fact, with Cotswold flagstones, original beams and a roaring fire. It was bought by Tom and Josie a couple of years ago, after deciding to follow their foodie passions. The team is completed with Cliffy, assistant manager and Jonathon, head chef.
The pub is an ideal stop if you’re out in Bourton, and are looking to avoid the hordes of tourists which cram into the tearooms and pubs in the village – being just a short drive away. We arrived at 7pm after a long week at work and were ready for something hearty as befits the season.
The Plough is a big supporter of local farmers and had recently changed to a winter menu – a mixture of classic and more unusual pub dishes. To start, Tom and I shared the English charcuterie board with remoulade, cornichons and toast (£9) and a side of sea salt coated padron peppers.
For our mains, it was a really tough choice but between us, we had the slow-cooked beef shin with tagliatelle (£12.50) and the loin of local venison with dauphinoise potatoes, seasonal greens and a Madeira jus (£21) – read all this with the Masterchef voice-over lady in your head! It’s not often that we see venison on the menu and having tasted Tom’s, it was beautifully cooked, tasty, tender and just slid down your throat. The kitchen at the Plough has a charcoal-fired Bertha oven which added an incredible flavour to my slow-cooked beef shin.
And with dessert, I had the blackberry and Wood Brother’s gin posset with homemade shortbread and Tom the warm treacle tart with Devon clotted cream. Two very solid choices (£6.50 each).
Normally one of us is driving, but as we were staying over, so we had a couple of glasses of orange wine. Now, this is not some sort of fruit punch, but a wine that has an aromatic flavour and golden colour. It’s actually a type of white wine which is made by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the juice, creating that deep-orange hued finish. Ask the team for their recommendations. Tom also commented on the fact that the pub had a good selection of craft beers, he had the Beatnik Dark IPA. And to top it off a gin flip nightcap – gin, conker coffee liqueur, egg and a double espresso.
So, fully sated, we headed to bed, we were staying in the Notgrove room. Each room is named after a local village and The Plough Inn has three letting bedrooms above the pub which are accessed from a different entrance rather than through the pub.
The rooms have been renovated and decorated sympathetically to preserve the character of this grade II listed building. Our room was decorated in a cool blue with a super king bed and a cosy faux, sheepskin rug which was a delight to bury your feet into in the morning. The bathroom was also stocked with 100 Acres Apothecary toiletries, a brand I’m particularly fond of for its use of natural and indulgent ingredients and is made in the Cotswolds. Our room is available from £130 a night.
The Plough has a straightforward breakfast menu – full English with whatever combination you may like, plus plenty of hot coffee and freshly brewed tea. I heard several guests comment on the crockery, which we all liked very much.
There’s no dedicated parking for the pub, but enough space in the village to park (although I don’t know if that annoys the neighbours?) Having said that, it’s clear that the pub is both popular with visitors and locals, as the bar area was packed on Friday night with friends and family enjoying a couple of pints. It’s also a good spot for walkers, as there were plenty of muddy boots left in the hallway before ascending the stairs to the bedrooms. So if you’re looking for a getaway to blow away the post-Crimbo blues, then this might just be the spot for you!
More information available at http://coldastonplough.com/