The Whitminster Inn is an independent, family-run restaurant situated between Gloucester and Stroud on the A38, that specialises in hearty English cuisine.
Complete with on-trend fishy delights and portion sizes to challenge even the biggest of appetites, SoGlos.com reveals the secret behind The Whitminster Inn’s success.
Situated between Gloucester and Stroud on the A38, independent family-run venue The Whitminster Inn cannot simply rely on passing trade to fill its booking sheet, and yet it has long been a firm eating and drinking favourite with punters from the county.
Setting out to discover its secret, SoGlos.com’s February visit saw The Whitminster Inn’s ample car park brimming with customers out for a mid-week bite to eat – with three restaurants under one roof, including the Indian Garden, China Garden and The Whitminster’s English restaurant, early indicators were that the trio was a popular option.
We headed for the English restaurant and found a cosy bar, leather armchairs and tall stools positioned to create a few nooks – mostly occupied by regulars, relaxingly separated from a dining area with a dozen or so tables.
While the chance to grab a pew and sup a pint of Hooky Norton or Sharp’s Doom Bar at the well-stocked bar was pretty tempting, particularly as the fire flickered away in the open fireplace, we thought it only polite to follow the helpful young man who was escorting us to our reserved table for two.
With self-proclaimed English-style cuisine, we were surprised to see Thai fishcakes and fajitas listed on the choice of starters – but nonetheless decided to forgive the continental hopscotch if one of the more international dishes passed the test.
Indeed, the sizzling spicy mini beef fajitas passed the taste challenge with flying colours. Floury fresh tortillas packed with tender seasoned beef, green peppers and onions – complete with sour cream and a decent salsa – triumphing over any homemade version of the Tex Mex dish we’d tried. There was nothing particularly ‘mini’ about the dish, however, and the addition of a generous salad made this more of a light-lunch option than starter.
My unmistakably British flash-fried whitebait dish, meanwhile, was equally as generous – a veritable school of bite-sized fish, a mixed side salad and homely triangles of buttered brown bread. Despite being a bit on the large side even for my ample appetite, it was a superb starter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall would be proud of and one we’d love to see on more menus in the county.
Our main courses were equally as hearty in the portion department – mine a decent locally-supplied lamb shank served on a bed of creamy mash with roasted root vegetables and rich gravy – with the traditional battered cod and chunky, crispy homemade chips with proper mushy peas being the favourite dish of the day opposite.
We were too cowardly to both order desserts, and thank heavens opted to share what turned out to be a (you guessed it) huge slice of chocolate brownie. Despite having a slightly cakeier than brownie texture, the warm chocolate treat with its accompanying scoop of vanilla ice-cream made this a successful dessert.
As we finished our drinks and, too full for conversation, indulged in a bit of people watching, couples, families and friends could be seen happily chatting away. While the young, but competent staff busied themselves and joked along with customers, with plenty of smiles on show.
Well surpassing our expectations, it seems there’s nothing secret about The Whitminster Inn’s success after all. Serving honest and hearty English (with the occasional twist!) fare, this is a crowd-pleasing venue with an independent spirit. Always on the hunt for a somewhere to satisfy a fussy SoGlos.com gran and a dad with an enormous appetitive, we’re already looking forward to sampling the weekly Sunday lunch carvery held in the venue’s Orchard Marquee.
By James Fyrne
Friday 11 February 2011
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