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Eating Out - WHAT'S NEW 

Our regular round-up of what's fresh on the menu in Swindon
 
Eating out in Swindon - restaurant news, new menus, tastes, themed-nights and more
Special theme nights, new restaurants, chefs winning awards - and especially special offers and competitions. You'll find it here in our regular, rolling round-up of what's new on the eating out front in Swindon.
 
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and definitely sign up to myswindonweb for the latest up-to-date info and offers.
 
November & December 2014
 
Chistmas Party Swindon
Two months rolled in to one because, let's face it, the big celebration that's called Christmas does tend to dominate things in pubs and restaurants as we approach the end of the year.
 
On that note, if you haven't even thought about your Christmas party yet (and some of us simply haven't) then of course it's not too late, although some of the big Friday & Saturday night dates in December will already be booked up.
 
Check out our guide for the best places to enjoy yourself - you can even WIN A CHRISTMAS PARTY with us too.
 
 
But as it's not quite turkey time yet....
 
Happy Birthday
The Highworth celebrates second year anniversary
 
It just shows how time flies when we write this column because it only seems like yesterday that we were welcoming Mike & Pauline (+ Jaz the dog) to the Highworth Hotel & Restaurant in Highworth this time in 2012.
 
And now with a lovely daughter + another child on its way and a big family of staff, it's time to say happy birthday once again - and roll on year three!
 
 
And what another cracking year it's been for them, with The Highworth now well and truly back where it belongs as one of the best places in Swindon to stay, eat, drink and celebrate.
 
New places to eat....
 
Just Desserts!
Kaspa's
    
Let's skip the starter and main course and head straight for the sweet stuff with news that Kaspa's is set to open in Clarence Street very shortly.
 
Kaspa's Swindon

Obviously attracted by the footfall to come from the new cinema and restaurants due to open at Regent Circus in the next couple of months, Kaspa's are a chain of exciting new dessert houses that only offer a menu of hot and cold 'afters'.
 
Expect the likes of gelatos, waffles, crepes, milkshakes, smoothies and the ever popular sundaes. Should be open in the last week of November.
 
 
Beer and Buns?
 
Likewise, we hear what was previously La Dolce Vita Italian just a dough ball's throw up the road from Kaspa's is soon to become the unusually named 'Beer & Buns'.
 
But before any fans of the Hooters bars in the USA start hooping and hollering... we may have some very disappointing news.
 
We think this establishment is most definitely one that's going to be concentrating on serving craft ales and displaying buns of the hot cross variety (at least at Easter time we asume).
 
Let's all hope it's more successful than the unfortunate but nice 'Cake & Ale' café and bistro that opened - and closed - in Old Town earlier this year.
 
When we know more, we'll tell you.
 
And the plural of Giraffes is?...
 
It's not often that you get to look up what the term is for more than one Giraffe - and hoping that it's something really quite unusual.
 
Like a 'Parliament' of owls, for instance, or a 'business' of ferrets (true!), but we have to tell you (just in case it ever comes up in a pub quiz) the collective noun for more than one Giraffe is.... wait for it.... Giraffes.
 
And the reason why we're even mentioning this?
 
Because the very popular Giraffe chain of family-friendly restaurants is opening a second place here in Swindon.
 

They already opened at Tesco's in Ocotal Way earlier this year (they are owned by Tesco's after all) and are now set to serve us all at the Swindon Designer Outlet too.
 
As part of the new £35 million pound Long Shop extension and Food Court offering, Giraffe will join Pizza Express and Wagamama's on the list of big names to open new restaurants.

> Swindon Designer Outlet New Extension - more details
 
On the move...
Los Gatos
 
Los Gatos Swindon
After umpteen years of serving quite superb tapas - and throwing the odd insult - the owners of Los Gatos in Old Town have decided to go 'mas grande' and move to much bigger premises round the corner.
 
Their sister, French, restaurant, Bistro Les Chats, though, still remains in Wood Street.
 
And a new name, amigos...
Olivio's is now ChilliShak
 
Fans of Olivio's in Victoria Road will notice there's been a change of name after the restaurant decided to concentrate completely on their traditional Mexican menu.
 
Previously they tried to offer the best of both worlds with an Italian option too but after the overwhelming choice was always the authentic burritos, fajitas & enchiladas their customers (many of whom visit just before & after performances at the nearby Arts Centre) said muchos gracias to more of what they like.
 
 
Congratulations!
To The Core in Old Town
 
And while we're in that neck of the woods in Old Town... may we say a big well done to everyone who helped crowdfund the restaurant expansion plans at The Core, next door to Los Gatos.
 
£10,000 was successfully pledged to help the owner Kris Talikowski turn the popular juice bar in to a fully fledged healthy-eating out venue called The Core Kitchen.
 
This video explains it all far better than we ever can, so do take a look.
 
 
 
And welcome...
To the new head chef at The Rose & Crown, Ashbury
  
We always like to give a warm welcome to new faces in the kitchen round these parts, and after recently taking over the reigns at The Rose & Crown at Ashbury, award-winning chef James Maulgue has well and truly settled in.
 
We've tasted James’ superb signature dish of braised blade of beef with confit ox tongue, cep potato, rainbow carrots and jus de roti, and can, without doubt, say it's worthy of yet another AA rosette for this talented culinary creator who loves classic French cooking.
 
Best of all, though, James knows his British classics through and through - and, most importantly, what makes The Rose & Crown well worth the drive just out of town during the winter weeks.
 
Pie & Mash
Every Monday & Tuesday in November at lunchtime & evening
 
A superb range of homemade pies served with creamy mash & onion gravy. Choose between the likes of Deerstalker - a British venison, dry cured bacon, red wine & puy lentil pie; Moo - a British beef steak, cracked black pepper & real ale pie; Mataador - a British beef steak, chorizo & butter bean pie; Heidi - a Somerset goat’s cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion & roasted garlic pie;  Chicken of aragon - a free range British chicken, smoky bacon & roast garlic pie
& Shamrock - a British beef steak & Irish Stout Pie. Tasty indeed!
 
 
Steak Night
Every Wednesday in November
 
Where would we all be, eh, without a proper steak night come autumn.
 
The Rose & Crown know how to put one on every Wednesday in November, with an excellent value 'Two Steaks and a bottle of wine' offer starting at £33 thrown in too.
 
 
 
Kleftico, anyone?
New autumn menu at The White Hart
 
One of our favourite places to eat, The White Hart at Stratton, have just launched their new Autumn menu.
 
 
This pub is well-known for its Sunday Carvery but with imaginative dishes on the day-time menu such as Jamaican pork fillet pan-fried with dark rum, garlic and fresh ginger and Greek Kleftico - slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with rice, cucumber and mint riata - it's developing a growing reputation for serving excellent food during the week too.
 
A good idea, then, to ask them for a FREE MEAL FOR TWO that we can give away to one luck SwindonWeb reader.
 
Just click on the link to enter.
 
 
Reviews say it all
Thai Orchid, Old Town
 
If you're a regular to this column you'll know we like to have a quick nosey at TripAdvisor reviews of Swindon pubs & restaurants to see who's having nice things - or not - said about them.
 
We all know the jury is still out on TripAdvisor and whether you should believe what's been written, but sometimes you can just tell it's pretty genuine - not obvious, flattering comments from mates or unfair criticism from rival establishments.

This month, we feature a restaurant that often goes unnoticed in Old Town -  The Thai Orchid.
 
It's the only proper restaurant in Swindon were you can enjoy authentic Thai food.
 
Here's just a couple of the recent reviews:

"This is a regular hotspot for me now and I have taken various family and friends who think very highly of Thai Orchid too!"
November 2014
 
"We ate here recently as a party of 5 each choosing a different dish so we could all share and what a pleasant surprise, after all this is Swindon and not renowned for it's culinary delights but well cooked, well spiced and all with a distinctive individual flavour."
Oct 2014
 
"Decided not to cook so went to the Orchid. Excellent decision on our behalf! Food was lovely. Started with a shared starter...very nice. I had the Tamarind Duck with spicy noodles....tasty. Enjoyed the jasmin tea as well. Good service..in fact there was a small error in the bill..once mentioned the waiter apologised...the manager came over and apologised and did not charge us for tea and coffee and the other waiter who brought the adjusted bill also was most apologetic. Enjoyable all round."
August 14 

Our advice, as always - judge for yourself!
 
 
And finally…
The Royal Oak at Bishopstone in at 38
 
Royal Oak, Bishopstone
Sounds like a run down of the pop charts, doesn't it?
 
But when Giles Coren of the Sunday Times, one of the most respected food critics in the UK, does a review of the best places he'd spend his own money in, a ranking of 38 out of 50 is bloody good going.
 
This Swindon pub has been described as many things over the years - eccentric, professional, noisy, scruffy, informal, warm, generous, funny, superb - and more - but it's not Michelin rated for its food for nothing.
 
And as it now serves its fantastic Sunday Lunch until 6pm on Sundays, it definitely gets our vote!
 
 
Dates For Your Diary
It pays to book early
 
There's always a few days in the year when a trip out for a meal is almost compulsory. So to avoid disappointment or, worse still, the drafty table next to the back-door and bins, here's the key dates.
 
They'll be on us before you know it!
 
Festive Season Fridays & Saturday:
Friday 05, 12, 19 December
Saturday 06, 13, 20 December
 
 
Don't forget....
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