Nestled in the heart of Tetbury, one of the most picturesque towns in the Cotswolds, The Ormond at Tetbury hotel is wonderfully located and Brendan McFadden was fortunate enough to sample what it has to offer.
First opening its door to travellers in the 17th century as a coaching inn, today it serves as a bar, restaurant and hotel, which welcomes guests from far and wide each year and many townsfolk. Upon arrival we were quickly greeted in the bar by an extremely welcoming waiter with a wide smile, who showed us to our seats in the restaurant area..
Head chef, Mariusz Przeworski, aims to meets to the demands and tastes of local folk, using produce sourced from the area and he has created a commendable menu, which is varied and extravagant. –Brendan McFadden–
Due to the vast amount of choice, ordering from the starter menu proved difficult, but eventually I was able to choose an Asian beef salad, a dish festooned by a mind-blowing array of exuberant spices and vegetables, which was astronomically well presented and rich with colour.
My companion went for the smoked mackerel pate, which was served on a wooden board in a small pot and accompanied with crispy toast and a touch of salad garnish. To wash it down I ordered Doom Bar, a heavy and sharp Cornish ale, while my companion opted for a Stowford Press, one of several draft ciders on offer. Other options on the drinks menu included dozens of wines and champagne from around the world.
The Ormond has been listed by the Sunday Times as one of Europe’s most cycle friendly hotels.
here is a quote from their article:
Iain Bailey came to cycling late, but he embraced it with the fervour of the zealot. He runs the Ormond at Tetbury, a hotel that doubles up as the headquarters of Cotswold Cycling Breaks.
it Offers riding routes graded easy, moderate or hard, Garmin satnav, tool kits and inner tubes, an evergy bar or two and bike locks – and will book a table for you at a recommended pub.
A “plus one” cycling break for a cyclist and a non-riding partner starts at £109 a night, B&B, with reductions for extra nights.
Most guests bring their own bikes, but Burton Cycles has road bikes from £20 a day or £40 for three days. The Westonbirt Arboretum is nearby, as are riding shopping in Tetbury, and the hotel can arrange spa treatments at Calcot Manor.
SWINDON really is blessed in its location, with the rolling hills of the Ridgeway to the south and the beautiful villages of the Cotswolds dotted to the north and west.
It was one of those unique villages on the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border that I had the pleasure of staying in recently. The small market town of Tetbury, where there are enough antique shops to quench the thirst of the most avid of Bargain Hunt fans, was my destination. Located just past the iconic market house and opposite Prince Charles’ Highgrove shop is a former coaching inn. While it may no longer welcome travellers on horseback, The Ormond Inn at Tetbury is still a popular spot in the town for people to rest their weary legs and it appears as popular with the locals as it does with those just passing through.
A warm welcome greeted us when we walked into the bar, which already had a buzz, building with people finishing work after a long week and wanting to wind down. After being guided through a maze of corridors, painted in a bold royal purple and lined with unique artwork, we arrived at our room. Personally, I was pleased to see the daring colour scheme stopped at the door.
Our room was light and spacious with the high ceilings you would expect in a 17th century building, a large window which looked out over the courtyard, and a bathroom which was bigger than some of the bedrooms I have had the displeasure of staying in over the years. The hotel has done well to find the balance between its historic past and bringing it into the 21st century.
As I left my partner Kate to get ready for dinner (something I was sure she had already spent an hour doing before we left for the hotel), I went to move the car to a free public car park, which was about a five minute walk away, before grabbing a paper and taking my place on a comfy sofa in the corner of the bar. The room was filling nicely, with the fire in the corner adding to the warmth, and I had barely had enough time to pick out all the unique bits of art dotted on every surface before Kate had joined me.
The restaurant, which is separated from the drinking area by the open plan bar, was refurbished at the beginning of last year and a new head chef, Mariuz Przeworski (formerly of Calcott Manor and The Swan at Southrop), had been appointed. Mariuz’s food is billed as ‘modern British using seasonal produce’, and he is spoiled by the collection of farms around Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. And if ever he is struggling there is always Prince Charles’ Duchy Home Farm down the road. You can understand my surprise then, when along with the main menu and the drinks menu, we were presented with a menu dedicated to pizzas. The choice was good and had some unique options, like the French Country (confit duck and poached pear), or the Spanish Lover, with smoked chicken chorizo and basil oil. It wasn’t something I was expecting from a country hotel in the heart of the Cotswolds, although it did prove to be a popular choice with those we shared the restaurant with. We opted for the more traditional menu, looking forward to seeing the local produce on our plates. After being given a complimentary side of homemade bread, which was delicious, our appetites were whet for the main event.
Kate went for the potted rabbit starter, which was, as you expect from a game dish, rich and indulgent, while I called dibs on one of my favourite starters, which I so rarely have, scallops. When a dish has been so tried and tested, it takes a brave person to take it on. Fortunately the chef was a fan of the traditional as he served the scallops with crispy pancetta, but was able to add his own twist by pairing it with a butternut squash puree and slices of kumquat. While the puree added a sweetness to counter the saltiness of the pancetta, the kumquat was too sweet for my liking and almost overpowered the scallop. That said, Kate was a fan which shows just how subjective these things are.
For my main course I like to test the skill and creative side of the chef by opting for one of the specials. So often you can tell if they have put some thought into what should be their unique dish or just opted to throw together what they need to get rid of in the kitchen. This time that was a confit leg of duck with roast potatoes, red cabbage and a redcurrant jus. It wasn’t quite a Turner Prize winner on the creative side but the skill in the cooking was spot on. The duck was moist while still having that crispy skin, while the roast potatoes were up there with my mum’s, which is high praise indeed. The cabbage was cooked with star anise, which accompanied the duck perfectly.
Kate went traditional again and went for boeuf bourguignon with a creamy mash which, for a dish which is often tricky to plate elegantly, was presented well in a deep circular dish. She said the local beef just melted in the mouth.
For dessert, oddly enough, the pizza reared its head again. This time it was in the shape of an indulgent eightinch sharing dessert with a topping of Belgian chocolate sauce, chocolate brownie, chocolate buttons and marshmallows. Again we opted against the Italian treat and went for the more traditional, with a sticky toffee pudding and a chocolate terrine. Both were equally indulgent and finished off the meal perfectly.
Full to the brim we returned to the bar, which had become full over the two hours we’d spent at dinner, and enjoyed a nightcap before falling into one of the comfiest beds I have slept in.
The Ormond is a real antique in its own right, albeit with a modern touch. And while it may no longer be a stopover for coach and horses, I would happily gallop back for another night of luxury.
“The Ormond at Tetbury sits snug and discreet in the town’s most charming street, right opposite Price Charles’s Highgrove Ship. A pleasing sense of quiet , relaxed style pervades the whole hotel. Rooms are done out individually and range from a four poster bed to Scandinavian style simplicity.
The menu is long on beef, local duck and game, Cotswold cheeses, aqnd bread make with locally ground organic flour. Add pleasant, polite staff and a good range of locally brewed beers and you’d search in vain to find a better Cotswold bolt hole. “
Chefs at The Ormond on Long Street have created the 10 inch indulgent pizza with layers of chocolate sauce heaped upon a crispy, thin base and topped with chunks of chocolate brownie, melting white chocolate buttons, marshmallows and cherries.
Owner of The Ormond, Adrienne Bailey said, “Our chocolate pizza tastes totally delicious and is proving really popular – it’s perfect for sharing after a meal or as a take-out treat. We believe that we are the only restaurant in the region baking chocolate pizza, but we’ve definitely hit upon a recipe which is tantalising Tetbury’s taste buds, and the word is spreading.”
“The Ormond at Tetbury in the Cotswolds is a great bike-friendly hotel. It’s a former coaching inn, all designer interiors and boutique chic, but with a dedicated bike room and work stand and packages that include overnight kit washing, pre-ride bike felltling and carefully planned ride gudes around the glorious greenery of the Costwolds.”