Kimberley Warehouse, Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2ES | (01452) 382157
Dr Foster’s in Gloucester is a modern pub in the heart of Gloucester Docks, with a large conservatory as well as a restaurant upstairs.
The multimillion pound development may be hitting the headlines, but Fosters on the Docks is already proving to be a popular pull to the waterways.
With stylish new apartments being built at breakneck speeds and a swanky array of shops and leisure facilities being sketched out on architects’ drawing boards, Gloucester Docks is set to be the shining jewel in the city’s contemporary crown. But the relaxed and modern Fosters on the Docks has already stood the test of time, welcoming weary tourists and thirsty locals alike to the waterways for more than five years now.
Oak beams and flagstone flooring hint at Fosters’ heritage as a former flour mill, while an imposing modern glass conservatory overlooking the Dock’s basin shows a tasteful move with the times. Choose to relax on the brown leather sofas inside the cosy renovated warehouse or watch painted narrow boats chug along the water while you wine and dine in the conservatory, either way you will find a friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere.
The clientèle is as diverse as the décor – on Sunday afternoons you’ll find an abundance of day trippers flicking through local guide books and sipping on lunchtime cappuccinos, while on weekends a younger, more lively, crowd embark on the bar for a pre-club game of pool and bite to eat, with the Arctic Monkeys providing a sparkling soundtrack to the socialising.
Painted beams proclaim ‘a quart of ale is a dish fit for a king’, so it’s apt that both Bombardier and Spitfire are available on tap, while less regal tipples include Fosters (naturally), John Smiths and bottles of Spanish San Miguel. Metallic wine coolers could be seen chilling bottles of white on a majority of the tables on our visit, with an affordable wine list including a few Old World and plenty of New World choices for under £15.
The bar menu includes the admirable slogan ‘fresh food, real chefs’ and even a cursory glance at the comprehensive selection shows that you’re not going to find your run-of-the-mill pub grub at Fosters on the Docks. Yes, we waited a while longer than usual for our freshly prepared feasts to arrive, but we’d much rather have time to build an appetite than be subjected to the fast and furious banged in a microwave ethos of some pubs.
There is a true continental flair to the gastropub’s cuisine and a quality rarely reserved for bar menus. Starters include tender Mediterranean mussels, plump sautéed tiger prawns and a healthy selection of salads, including hearty portions of the ubiquitous chicken Caesar, costing from £3.95 to £7.50.
A few British selections are included amongst the more exotic main courses, including Cumberland fish pie, battered haddock, as well as feel-good staple sausage and mash for around £10. Again a foreign flair is given precedence with choices such as Greek moussaka, beef bourginon and vegetarian Thai curry reigning supreme. While a few more Gloucestershire ingredients would have been nice to see on the menu, the quality of dishes arriving at our table proved faultless.
With fresh food, a good choice of drinks and a carefree, friendly atmosphere Fosters on the Docks provides a popular out of town alternative. When the ambitious Gloucester Docks development project is finally finished, the pub will welcome even more pint-supping punters, so grab a laid-back bite to eat or a refreshing drink now, while you can still find a table.
By Michelle Fyrne
Wednesday 13 June 2007
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