Gloucester Road, Tewkesbury, GL20 5SY | (01684) 292278
Gupshill Manor in Tewkesbury is a refurbished 13th century black and white manor house offering a good choice of food. Also boasts a large beer garden and takes part in the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival every year.
SoGlos.com makes an opportunistic stop-off at Gupshill Manor on the edge of Tewkesbury, only to wish we’d ditched the unsatisfactory detour.
Having spent a Monday morning in Tewkesbury and with bellies rumbling as lunchtime fast approached, seeing Gupshill Manor and a sign for ‘food served all day’ on the horizon was an omen we couldn’t ignore.
We’d heard good things about this edge-of-town pub and restaurant in recent years, after all, and as we slipped off the A38 and picked a spot in the ample car park, the thought of tasty home-cooked food in the family-run haunt left us salivating at the visions of what awaited inside.
Initial impressions were that of a more modern interior than expected, but welcoming nonetheless with some elements of rustic charm – the fairy lights spanning the chunky oak ceiling beams were a nice touch – including a roaring open fire which set the scene nicely.
With an afternoon of work ahead, however, it was lattes rather than pints of Old Speckled Hen or bottles of reasonably priced wine which we ordered – and we were instructed to take a seat by the brusque lady busying herself behind the bar.
Willing to overlook this early flaw in the service, we settled in a table for two alongside a handful of lunchtime diners – with the mean age suggesting Gupshill Manor is definitely the retirees’ afternoon destination of choice.
Ten minutes or so passed before we enquired whether the coffees were on their way, with the sharp reply of ‘they’re coming’ leaving us feeling apologetic for seemingly having spoken out of turn. While only three-quarters full, they were decent, frothy and piping hot cups of Joe accompanied by a delicious titbit of fudge each.
The three-course weekday set menu priced at £12.50 sounded tempting, we plumped for more obvious pub grub-style choices in the form of two warm open ciabattas – one topped with pan-fried steak, melted stilton and fried onions, the other barbeque chicken breast, fried onions and melted cheddar – and both coming with traditional chips and a house salad.
Given that Gupshill Manor was anything but busy, the clock watching began around 15 minutes in – and it wasn’t until a good 30 minutes later that we finally received our relatively simple choices, delivered with a cursory apology by our waitress. Thankfully, on this occasion, we weren’t in too much of a rush unlike many of the would-be lunchtime diners.
Why we’d been asked how we wanted the steak cooked, ‘well or pink’, only to receive the opposite (more chargrilled than the bloody specimen we expected) was beyond us – but by now feeling famished we set about digging in and sampling each other’s ciabatta choices.
The beef was great quality with delicious and generous amounts of punchy stilton, while the chicken topping also smacked of good quality ingredients – coated in plenty of sweet sauce and oozing cheddar cheese.
The accompanying chips were perfectly golden and fluffy inside; the simple but fresh mixed side salad including crunchy cucumber, radish and sweet orange bell pepper was great; but the Italian bread was left soggy from its topping in each case – perhaps not having been toasted beforehand, as a slight niggle to an otherwise satisfying meal.
It came as little surprise that nobody bothered to check to see if everything was okay during our meal, so with appetites suppressed it was time to pay up and hit the road. What a shame that the rudeness continued while being inattentively passed the card machine – with the feeling that rather than nothing being too much effort, the bare essentials of customer service were offered begrudgingly, insincerely, and with a sneer once again.
While we hope that our experience of Gupshill Manor was a one-off, and it does have all the makings of a handy gastropub, the competition for customers in today’s economy means substandard service – which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth – in exchange for hard-earned cash is difficult to forgive. Next time we’ll keep on driving by.
By James Fyrne
Wednesday 12 January 2011
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