Cotswold House Hotel
by Karen Jones
Occasionally, you get the distinct feeling that a chef is well on their way to winning accolades galore.
A recent visit to the delightful newly-refurbished Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden was one of those occasions. Head chef David Watts is undoubtedly a name to watch.
He trained under Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, who taught him this simple philosophy: if you work with the best possible ingredients, you can’t go wrong.
It is a mantra he has continued to live and work by, which means he is now one of the most talked about chefs in the Cotswolds.
Taking advantage of the early heatwave, we enjoyed an aperitif on the patio while we read the menu and waited to take our table in the formal dining room (you can also eat in the grill restaurant).
One striking aspect of the menu is that you can have any of the courses in whichever order you want and each dish can be served as a starter or a main and you can break ranks with tradition and have your dessert before the cheese course if you wish.
Our amuse bouche was white bait with saffron, slow cooked belly pork, and a black olive tapenade served with a light crisp cracker. It set the standard for what was to be a superb meal.
To start, we selected a dish of herring, new season garlic, purple sprouting broccoli and soy nuts and seared scallops with avocado and sesame. The presentation was like a work of art and once we got over the sheer beauty of it, devoured these divine dishes.
The main courses continued to delight. The confit Loch Duart salmon, served with pickled cucumber and wasabi, was exceptional, while the spring lamb, white asparagus, grellot onion and roasting juices, was another triumph.
Despite the apparent complexities of the dishes, there are no pretensions, just a desire to serve incredible food.
Continuing with our traditional journey of starter, main course, then cheese, we went on to sample exquisite wash rind goats’ cheese, fig, pecan and honey; Berkham blue, apple, celery and walnut and Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire, grapes, Muscat jelly, chicory and seeds, which elicited more “wows” from us as we devoured each mouthful.
Desserts of rice pudding, vanilla, rhubarb and ginger, chocolate, pistachio and sorrel, and almond custard cream and mousse were the perfect end to a memorable meal.
Watch this space: in our opinion David Watts’ career is on a trajectory and will soon be winning awards for his fine cuisine.
Cotswold House Hotel Restaurant launch
A specially selected guest list joined the management of Bespoke Hotels for the launch of two new restaurants at Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden. Guests enjoyed wine and canapés, as they perused the menus for The Dining Room and the more informal Cotswold Grill, which opened their doors in the last few weeks. Head chef, Dave Watts, talked about his inspiration behind the restaurants, and his passion for great ingredients for his dishes. The Grill, open all day every day, and The Dining Room, open Tuesday to Saturday, are set to become hugely popular in the area.