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david goodfellow

5 North Street, Winchcombe.

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So what does any true gastronaut worth his money, do on a lousy snow filled day. He hops in his motor and defies mother nature and does a near two hundred mile round trip to eat a bit of good food.

I was sure we had been here before, many moons ago. We had stayed in a B&B in the village quite a while back, and dined in the village, but it was not here, I knew that as soon as I walked in the door. Now considering Marcus(Gus)Ashenford has held a Michelin star for fifteen years at various places (and eight years here) it is strange that we have not, until now, eaten his food.

He keeps his head down, in a true old fashioned cheffy way, too busy in his kitchen to court modern media.

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A couple of amuse arrived with the excellent bread and english butter. Apricot and Walnut, and seseme seed. Both as light as a feather, thin crust and in no way hard work like some we have had of late. The butternut squash, ginger and chilli oil soup was worthy of a bigger bowl especially it being winter outside. The little bites of welsh rarebit went down a treat.

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Monkfish and grilled Scallop, was served with Parsnip puree, baby Spinach, marinated cucumber, crisp Parsnips and pesto dressing. A lot going on really, but the shining star was without doubt the Monkfish, taste and texture was spot on, and it was perfectly cooked.

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Chicken Liver Parfait, Bramley apple chutney, Peashoot salad was served with onion toast. It was not my dish but I tasted it and it was silky smooth, we both thought that there was too much chutney served with the dish, and it was a little too tart for my wifes taste. She would have preferred it a bit sweeter.

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Line Caught Sea Bass, Pasta, Bok choi, was served with ratatouille, and a tomato tartar dressing. Not quite as enjoyable as the Monkfish but pleasant never the less.

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We both had the Chump of Local Lamb, Wild Mushrooms and Choucroute. Thankfully it tasted better than it looked, I thought the presentation was poor, and the lamb was a tad overcooked for my taste. The mustard mash that the lamb sat on was good, however the carrots were disappointing, I was not keen on the texture.

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Mrs G tried the Thyme and Vanilla brulee, she ate the brulee, but left the sorbet. I did not have a taste, so I can not comment, nor did she.

Overall we were pleased, the bread, soup, monkfish and pate were good, the lamb, not quite so good. I was pleased that we finally got around to the visit, but on reflection its an awfully long way to travel for a meal, especially sitting in a queue on the motorway on the way back home.

That is the downside of living in the of sticks of course, with no decent restaurant within an hours drive. Still, perhaps Michelin will find something closer to us for publication in the new 2011 guide, although I doubt it very much as I like to think that we would have been tipped off before now.

Thankfully we arrived home without incident.

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Well done David - you should join our food heroes, traveling all that way in those conditions! :biggrin:

Thats a critical report for you. The monk fish looks good and at least it looks as though Marcus knows how to make sauces and is not afraid to serve them.

We must try it one day next summer - we don't venture far this weather.

We tried the Wesley House in Winchcombe a while back - don't bother!!


Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Nice report David, I hadn't heard of this place.

Don't you find that often the main course quality is inversely proportionate to the quality of the amuse bouche and starter?

Countless times have we been really enjoying a meal until BOOM the main course hits and you want to get up and leave :)

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You are right Nick. They often spend a lot of time getting the bits right then don't seem to bother so much about the main course.


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Thanks for the comments folks, I would have answered sooner except for the distraction of the Heston and Aiden Byrne stuff going on.

As you are both aware. I tend not to knock many places, because quite frankly chefs do a bloody hard job and sometimes we all cock up a bit, but its not blasted all over a forum if we do.

There was nothing to criticise on taste, we scoffed the lot, and this is an area most certainly we are critical of. If it tastes of nothing it goes back. Fortunatly we don't stamp our little feet, too often.

Also of course we dine out quite a bit more than most so perhaps we are a bit more critical than most, who knows. It may just be with Michelin places that I expect pretty plates of food.

But at the end of the day flavour is all, in my book at least.

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Thought it worth resurrecting this thread to flag up 5 North Street, after a recent (first) visit. Was a little intrigued about the place, having heard from others who have dined there, and having read David's old review.

It really is quite a small place, but one that's actually very cosy and charming. So too was the quickly delivered amuse of Welsh Rarebit - clearly something of a signature item. Freshly baked bread followed - arriving on a board with a knife and left at the table, this pretty much acted as an indicator of the style of the place. Clearly the idea here is to deliver on taste rather than follow the stuffy napkin route to Michelin star-dom. Another freebie of soup (tomato and chilli, if I remember) followed - a little predictable, but still very nice. And then we headed into the tasting menu.

Fish is not something I ever usually order when eating out, yet here two fish dishes were the real standouts of the evening. Even more surprisingly, the best was a dish of lobster with pasta. Lobster I tend to think of as overrated, overpriced, overchewy (or fluffy) and usually used lazily by chefs to indicate some sort of fine dining experience. Here it just tasted really bloody good. The second dish showed just how refined and subtle the chef can actually get - with a beautiful nage containing various tidbits, including tasty little crustaceans, deep-fried seaweed, and nicely finished fish. Think it was halibut, but to be honest it more of a supporting player to the other great ingredients. This was a real briny taste of the sea.

On the meat side, a terrine with quail and foie gras was tasty and perfectly done, if again a bit predictable and old fashioned. A duck breast dish, on the other hand, really surprised. It didn't have the 'wow factor' ( © GBM 2012) of the fish dishes, but it was big on flavour, and perfectly cooked, with the fat layer perfectly rendered out.

Then it was on to the cheese (another surprise - the selection on offer really lifting it a notch above so many other cheeseboards), and dessert. I'm embarrassed to say I can't really recall much about the sweeter stuff, but do remember it being pretty, pretty tasty, and thankfully with a little bit of tartness here and there to offset the sugar rush.

Service wasn't entirely flawless - a couple of extended gaps between courses highlighted the one issue with trying to turn out complex food and a lot of different dishes from a small kitchen. And it wasn't exactly cheap, at least not in comparison to other places round these parts. But I definitely want to go back. Which is much as you can ask for, really.

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