Iconic Cotswold pub, the Foston's Ash Inn, is set to reopen this December 2023 after an impressive refurbishment — and SoGlos got an exclusive invite to check it out before it officially reopens.
Its new owners, passionate chef Will Lloyd-Baker and general manager Harry Wynne-Morgan, have breathed new life into the pub, which has been closed for months, making some significant changes to the historic building and introducing a delicious-sounding new menu, too.
The bar area is perhaps the most significant transformation, creating a much more open, lighter and airier space, with plenty of charming spots including a chess table in front of the log burner; high stools at the bar; a piano; and a beautifully cosy dining nook where the former front door used to be.
The decor is everything you could want from a traditional Cotswolds pub, with a slick and modern feel — which extends to the new food offering, too.
The menu for the Foston's Ash aims to offer great value for money and showcase top-quality local and seasonal produce. Sample dishes like delica pumpkin tart with maple syrup, Spenwood cheese, radiccio and pine nuts; Todenham Manor Farm onglet steak with crisp potato, charred lettuce and anchovy emulsion; Gloucester Old Spot pork chop with charred cabbage, onion puree and spiced lentils; and clementine, gingerbread and chocolate trifle are currently being developed in the kitchen ahead of the opening.
The pub will also have a board of 'Foston's Old Favourites', with options like a classic burger; steak and chips; and pie of the day, too.
Behind the bar, craft beer fans will be pleased to see local favourites DEYA and Gloucester Brewery on draught; while wine connoisseurs are treated to a well-curated list featuring options from nearby Woodchester Valley Vineyard alongside New and Old World wines — and even some from the newest wine hotspot, Tenerife.
The pub will also offer a small but perfectly formed cocktail menu which will change seasonally, with winter options set to include an espresso martini, winter whisky sour, cranberry sangria and signature cocktail the Foston's Splash, which features grapefruit and tequila.
Come springtime, there are plans to create a kitchen garden within the pub's extensive outdoor space. As well as a stylish new patio dining area, the pub will be able to serve food directly out to alfresco diners in the garden straight from a hatch in the newly-extended kitchen.
There'll also be a children's playground and petanque to play, with the hope that the garden will become a vibrant, buzzy space for outdoor drinks and dining throughout the summer.
For anyone wanting to make a night of it, the pub is even offering accommodation in two shepherd's huts, ideal for a romantic night away.
Having grown up in Gloucestershire, starting his career at nearby The Painswick, Lloyd-Baker has honed his skills at venues all across the UK over the last decade, working at everything from Michelin star restaurants and five-star hotels to award-winning gastropubs.
Working together with childhood friend, Wynne-Morgan, who worked in hospitality all over the world before returning home to Gloucestershire around five years ago, the pair hope to bring the pub back to the very heart of the local community they love — with the reopening also creating 20 jobs for local people.
The Foston's Ash Inn officially opens at 5pm on Saturday 9 December 2023, with bookings being taken now.