Gloucestershire alfresco dining guide

Make the most of the spring and summer sunshine and dine alfresco at one of the top Gloucestershire restaurants listed in SoGlos’s eating out guide.

From roof top terraces to luxury picnics, SoGlos has hand-selected Gloucestershire eateries offering the finest alfresco dining options.

With spring underway and the great British summer on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to eat outside. So, make the most of the warmer months and tuck into some of the tastiest grub in Gloucestershire, outdoors in the fresh air.


Alfresco dining in Cheltenham


Malmaison Cheltenham

The lowdown: Dine in the sun outside one of Cheltenham’s most stylish hotels. Located just a few minutes away from tree-lined Montpellier, Malmaison’s Chez Mal Brasserie caters for both guests and non-residents. Focussing on serving seasonal dishes with global influences from France to New York, Malmaison promises that its menus are a rare breed. The outdoor dining space offers the perfect place to enjoy perfectly-poached eggs benedict and fresh coffee, while soaking up the morning rays, right through to a lazy afternoon lunch over a bottle of crisp, white wine.
Menu highlights: Promising generously-filled sandwiches and salads, burgers, and light bites throughout its lunch menu, the Chez Mal Brasserie is a laid-back location for a relaxed afternoon of outdoor dining. If you’re making it a boozy affair, why not begin with an aperitif cocktail such as the fruity Chez Mal Cocktail alongside some artisan breads or olives. To start, chicken liver mousse with truffle butter; baked sea scallops; or tempura of courgette are on hand to tempt your taste buds. But it’s the Malmaison’s 28-day aged beef menu which really offers some of the restaurant’s most delicious cuts of meat, ranging from Cumbrian chicken breast through to a signature rib eye steak. To end your afternoon of feasting, try the Chez Mal hot chocolate; a mash-up of salted caramel and white chocolate ice cream with hot chocolate sauce; or if you’re feeling fruity, the blackberry and cherry sundae with ripple ice-cream and shortbread, is sure to impress.
SoGlos loves: The stunning patio courtyard is an oasis of calm, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham’s busy town centre. Offering a range of bistro tables, perfectly positioned for a social brunch, through to individual tables, poised for an intimate alfresco evening, Malmaison’s lush, green patio area is an ideal location to lose yourself on a summer’s evening.
For more info: Call (01242) 370655, email reception@malmaison.com, or visit malmaison.com directly.


The Shutters Inn

Alfresco dining at The Shutters Inn width=

The lowdown: The Shutters Inn is a traditional family-run pub located in Gotherington near Cheltenham. Following extensive renovation, the pub reopened in September 2016 and offers visitors a relaxing spot to eat, drink and unwind. Its rear grassed garden is a lovely suntrap that’s perfect for alfresco dining and has seating for up to 70.
Menu highlights: Run by former chefs, the pub has a foodie focus and uses seasonal and locally sourced ingredients where possible for its traditional pub dishes. Diners can expect classics such a fish and chips; steak and ale pie; breaded scampi; toad in the hole; homemade faggots; sausage and mash; and shepherd’s pie. Its lunchtime menu, served from 12pm to 6pm, features a Ploughman’s lunch, a variety of sandwiches and paninis, jacket potatoes, and a full English.
SoGlos loves: On Sundays the pub serves its popular roast, with the choice of meats including beef, shoulder of lamb, chicken, turkey, and a vegetarian option, served with all the trimmings.
For more info: Call (01242) 300240, email info@theshutterinngotherington.co.uk, or visit theshutterinngotherington.co.uk directly.


Montpellier Lodge

Alfresco dining at Montpellier Lodge width=

The lowdown: Located alongside the stunning Montpellier gardens, inside a renovated park-keeper’s house, Montpellier Lodge and its outside courtyard space is perfect for summer dining. The venue has plenty of tables to enjoy a leisurely lunch, post-work cocktails and nibbles, or an alfresco dinner on balmy evenings.
Menu highlights: The restaurant specialises in using produce from the south west for its menus, including seasonal ingredients and flavours that draw inspiration from Mediterranean and Asian cuisine alongside classic British dishes. Its menu includes a selection of appetisers, such as crispy whitebait with lemon mayonnaise and peashoots, or mixed olives – ideal paired with a cold glass of white. Diners can expect to enjoy starters of handpicked cornish crab, cucumber relish and horseradish yoghurt or chicken & leek ballotine with vegetable pickle and crispy chicken skin. While the deli sharing board, complete with a selection of cured meats, homemade pickles and salthouse bakery bread, is perfect for dining in the sun. For the main course, tuck into a delicious dry aged steak, cooked to your preference; baked halibut with a fondue of leeks and creamed potatoes; or a vegetarian option of cumin roasted carrots with a spiced couscous. If you’ve got a sweet tooth then save room for one of the decadent desserts, or enjoy a scoop of ice-cream or sorbet for the ultimate seasonal finale to your meal.
SoGlos loves: The extensive wine list includes many by the glass, while the bar also serves up a range of cocktails, including its signature Montpellier Lodge Punch, which is perfect for summer socialising!
For more info: Call (01242) 262666, email info@montpellierlodge.co.uk or visit montpellier-lodge.co.uk directly.


Alfresco dining in the Cotswolds


The Kings Head Hotel

Alfresco dining at The Kings Head Hotel

The lowdown: The roof top garden of the contemporary Cirencester hotel and restaurant offers a delightfully secluded spot for enjoying a spot of alfresco dining. Bathed in morning sunshine, the terrace is the ideal place to go for a relaxing coffee, while it’s also perfect for lunches, along with dinner on balmy evenings. With the British summer somewhat unpredictable, alfresco dining is weather dependent, but if it’s not possible to eat outdoors then guests can retreat to the hotel’s stylish restaurant.
Menu highlights: The King’s Deli menu is available at lunchtimes, with dishes spanning charcuterie platters, mussels, a range of sandwiches, the Kings Head burger, and more, along with a choice of nibbles that make the perfect accompaniment to drinks. The restaurant’s à la carte menu is available in the evening, with sample dishes including pan seared sea trout with provençale vegetables; mushroom and blue cheese risotto; steak and chips; and fish pie.
SoGlos loves: For a summertime twist on afternoon tea, head to the roof terrace to enjoy the hotel’s signature sandwiches, cakes and pastries outdoors, and for an extra special occasion opt to have a glass of Champagne alongside your pot of tea.
For more info: Call (01285) 700900, email info@kingshead-hotel.co.uk or visit kingshead-hotel.co.uk directly.


The Maytime Inn

Sunday lunch at The Maytime Inn

The lowdown: Benefitting from far-reaching views of the Cotswold countryside, The Maytime Inn’s stunning garden makes the perfect setting for enjoying a spot of alfresco dining at the country pub near Burford. The sun-soaked space has plenty of tables for leisurely lunches or early evening drinks and dinner, while the grassy area, complete with picnic tables, is ideal for families or visitors with four-legged friends. The pub also benefits from an outdoor bar, and if you’re feeling competitive, you can challenge your mates to a game of pétanque. And, while you’re there, make sure you get someone to take a picture of you in the giant chair!
Menu highlights: The Maytime’s varied menu includes pub classics such as beer battered fish and chips; home-baked honey and mustard ham with free range eggs and hand cut chips; a sage and wild boar burger; and a selection of sandwiches. There’s also an à la carte menu featuring seasonal starters, mains and desserts. Of course, there’s nothing quite like a drink in the sunshine and The Maytime has plenty of real ales, bottled craft beer and ciders to sample, along with more than 100 different types of gin, including many local brands.
SoGlos loves: If you fancy a summer getaway, The Maytime also has six en-suite rooms that offer a delightful base for exploring the Cotswolds.
For more info: Call (01993) 822068, email info@themaytime.com or visit
themaytime.com directly.


The Hollow Bottom

Alfresco dining at The Hollow Bottom

The lowdown: The Hollow Bottom is a traditional country pub located in the Cotswold village of Guiting Power. The pub benefits from a spacious rear garden that’s perfect for soaking up the sunshine. The decked space has plenty of tables for alfresco dining, while the outside bar means you can restock your summer drinks with ease. When those evenings start to get chilly, patio heaters are available, as well as umbrellas to shield you from bright mid-afternoon rays.
Menu highlights: The varied menu has something to tempt all palates, with The Hollow Bottom’s famous burgers, served with homemade slaw and rustic fries topping the bill. The pub also serves British classics like Cornish day boat cod; chicken fillet strips; and locally cured Cotswold carved ham and eggs. Alongside nibbles, a children’s menu and tempting desserts, the menu really does offer something for the whole family. Just add sunshine!
SoGlos loves: The team at The Hollow Bottom offers a free mini bus service to its customers, subject to distance and availability. The eight-seater Hollow Bottom Bus will take customers home at closing time, to ensure guests can enjoy a cocktail or three without worrying about the journey home. Alternatively, there are also rooms available if you want to make your alfresco lunch into an all-nighter.
For more info: Call (01451) 850392, email hello@hollowbottom.com, or visit hollowbottom.com directly.


The Royal Oak

Alfresco dining at The Royal Oak in Tetbury

The lowdown: This classic Cotswold inn has been lovingly restored to become an award winning hot spot for drinking and dining in the heart of Tetbury. This dog-friendly local pub describes itself as a fun and friendly getaway. With plenty of outdoor seating available, there’s also high quality boutique rooms available, for when an afternoon just isn’t enough time to enjoy this charming country inn.
Menu highlights: Offering an ever changing seasonal menu, expect traditional pub-fayre such as beer battered fish of the day with chips; steak special of the day; or summer Caesar salad. The Royal Oak also offers a burger bar with a range of organic beef or chicken burgers. The pub also prides itself on its vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options, with delicious dishes sure to suit the dietary needs of your whole party. Why not try the lentil and bean vegan burger, or the butternut squash and cauliflower tagine if you fancy a meat-free option. To finish, classic desserts spanning vegan chocolate sponge; baked vanilla cheesecake; and three scoops of heavenly ice cream from The Royal Oak’s ice cream parlour are available. Perfect for cooling off after an afternoon’s summer dining.
SoGlos loves: The Royal Oak has a fully comprehensive vegan menu available. It also offers a meat-free Monday event on the first Monday of every month, with a different theme each time. It makes The Royal Oak a real foodie destination for Gloucestershire vegans.
For more info: Call (01666) 500021, email stay@theroyaloaktetbury.co.uk, or visit theroyaloaktetbury.co.uk directly.


Alfresco dining in Gloucester


Café Rene

Café Rene

The lowdown: Undoubtedly one of Gloucester’s most popular pubs, Café Rene offers a home-from-home dining experience for those wanting quality restaurant food in the comfort of friendly a pub. Picnic benches, complete with brightly-coloured umbrellas, are situated just outside the doors – not far from the historical Speaker’s Corner at St Mary de Crypt – giving diners the chance to enjoy a relaxed and informal meal in the sunshine.
Menu highlights: Café René’s famous homemade Desperate Dan burgers are sure to satisfy any appetite, coming in a variety of sizes – the Mini Dan quarter pounder, Desperate Dan half pounder and Very Desperate Dan pounder – all seared on the authentic chargrill for extra flavour, with a veggie option on offer too. Served in a lightly toasted bap with homemade salsa, salad garnish and choice of potato, the Desperate Dan burger is an easy contender for the title of ‘Best Burger in Gloucester’. Or for a suitably summery and lighter alternative, plump for specials including pan fried whole trout with almonds, lemon and dill, served with salad and potatoes, for example.
SoGlos loves: If you’re a real ale fan, you’re in for a huge treat at Café Rene, which has an extensive range of beers, including many from Gloucestershire breweries, whether you’re looking for something to accompany your meal or just a pint or two in the summer sunshine.
For more info: Call (01452) 309340, email info@caferene.co.uk or visit caferene.co.uk directly.


Alfresco dining in Stroud


The Oak

Alfresco dining at The Oak width=

The lowdown: Situated in the charming Cotswold town of Painswick, The Oak is a family-run pub that has a lovely sunny courtyard garden that's just perfect for alfresco drinking and dining. The sister pub to The Falcon Inn is run by Charlie and Lucy John, with Lucy responsible for creating the tempting selection of traditional home-cooked dishes that visitors can tuck into.
Menu highlights: Sample lunch dishes include baked Camembert with caramelised balsamic onions and a garlic baguette; crispy breaded crab cakes with sweet chilli sauce; soup of the day; and The Oak platter which is brimming with homemade scotch egg, glazed ham, strong cheddar, pickles, local chutney and Hobbs House bloomer. There are also a host of sandwiches to choose from, while the more substantial dishes including mac ‘n cheese with streaky bacon; burger with blue cheese and bacon; steak and chips; pie and mash; and a rack of barbecue ribs, with vegetarian options available. Fans of real ale also have a host of beers to choose from, while there are plenty of wines, spirits and soft drinks that can be enjoyed while soaking up the sun.
SoGlos loves: The surrounding area has plenty of walks to tempt visitors of all ages, while the dog-friendly pub means you can refuel with your four-legged friend in tow.
For more info: Call (01452) 813129 or email theoakpainswick@gmail.com.


Stonehouse Court Hotel

Alfresco dining at Stonehouse Court Hotel width=

The lowdown: Set on six acres of grounds and with views overlooking Stroud Water Canal, Stonehouse Court Hotel certainly offers a peaceful setting for enjoying a spot of alfresco summer dining. The 17th century manor house hotel prides itself on serving delicious menus using seasonal and local ingredients where possible.
Menu highlights: The hotel’s Court Brasserie menu can be enjoyed both indoors and on the hotel’s terrace, with its small plate dishes, including garlic, chilli and honey friend prawns; deep fried halloumi chips with sweet chilli sauce; calamari rings with lemon and dill mayo; and warm breads served with balsamic and olive oil, perfect for savouring outdoors. The menu also includes the likes of hamhock terrine; bubble and squeak risotto; beer battered fish and chips; and rack of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, pea puree and rosemary roasted roots.
SoGlos loves: It’s also possible to have afternoon tea outdoors, with a choice of cream tea, or the traditional tiered stands brimming with cakes, sandwiches and scones. For the ultimate celebration, indulge with a glass of Champagne to make your afternoon tea sparkle!
For more info: Call (01453) 794950, email info@stonehousecourt.co.uk or visit stonehousecourt.co.uk directly.


© SoGlos
Wednesday 21 March 2018

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