Eating Out - WHAT'S NEW
Our regular round-up of what's fresh on the menu in Swindon
Special theme nights, new restaurants, chefs winning awards - and especially special offers. You'll find it here in our regular, rolling round-up of what's new on the eating out front in Swindon.
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02 April 2016
New Places To Eat
Always the most exciting news of the month! Where's new to try in Swindon and round about.
Helen Browning's Chop House, Wood St
After the French farce of the closing, then opening, then closing again of Bistro Les Chats in Old Town (sadly missed, it has to be said) it's a proper English hello to a brand-new pop-up restaurant in its place - Helen Browning's Chop House.
Co-owner Tim Finney was keen to reiterate that it's only a try-out for three months as they attempt to bring their Michelin award-winning organic cooking from Helen Browning pub, The Royal Oak in Bishopstone, to Wood St, albeit in a different form.
"It was too good an opportunity to miss," he told us, "the restaurant space here was available short-term and we wanted to see how a chop house would work serving our organic pork, beef & lamb.
"It's going to be an exciting three months, and if early booking are anything to go by we might be staying longer."
Menu-wise you'll find the likes of smoky pulled pork; BBQ ribs; prime beef steaks; proper burgers & hot dogs; superfood salads; artisan bread; local charcuterie; Buffalo ice cream and milkshakes all on offer.
And for those missing the Francais flavour of Bistro Les Chats already, moules frites are still available.
Nothing too exciting but not a Shanghai surprise either that it replaces the Chinese restaurant & takeaway that was on the Faringdon Road roundabout for the last 15 years. The food there at the end was hit and miss to say the least.
Worrying, though, Diwali can't even get the big fat telephone number right on their website, so let's all hope their chefs - British Curry Award-winning according to their site - know their spices better than their dialling codes.
New Season, New Starts
Not exactly new places to eat but with fresh faces and a different approach at the following pubs & restaurants this spring, it's any excuse to get out and give them a try.
New Owners Settling In
Good news for the people of Highworth, with word that the new owners have just arrived at The Highworth, the well regarded bar, restaurant & hotel, which has had temporary managers since Mike, Pauline and team left for new pastures in October last year.
Still a 2 AA Rosette restaurant, with two function rooms and courtyard for private parties, weddings and family dining, it's hoped the fresh start will once again make it a great venue all year round.
Relishing The Chance
Sally Pussey Inn, just off Jn16
Always a very popular destination for food, especially their carvery, we were very sorry to see Norah Thomas and Mike Randall retire after 15 years at the Sally Puss, as its known.
But with Rob Goves and the expert team from Relish now in charge, who run The Somewhere Else in Cirencester & The Gateway café at the Cotswold Water Park, the success is continuing judging by the full car park every lunchtime.
Rob (centre, pic. right) was welcomed to the pub by George (r) and Alex Arkell (l) and has already invested in the interior and launched a new menu of meat, fish & very good vegetarian choices + a dedicated children menu.
Relief all round too, as the carvery is still available every Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
New year, new name, same menu?
Back across town, you can add in there that the Rangoli Indian restaurant in Groundwell Road we rather liked is now called New Delhi. Reports seem good so far, especially the fact that they're still serving the rather tasty Railwayman's Curry, which brings us nicely on to....
Enjoy a Taste of History
2016 is exactly 175 years on since new Swindon was born with the opening of the GWR Railway Works in the town centre in 1841. One of the former building from the Works where they weighed the locomotives built here in Swindon is now highly regarded as Swindon's premium place to dine out, The Weighbridge Brewhouse.
Here the video we made for them shows off the restaurant & kitchen in all its glory, after the owners, Anthony & Allyson Windle - who ran the renowned Three Crowns at Brinkworth for over 20 years - restored it 5 years ago.
What better place to raise a toast to Brunel & Gooch and the Kings of Steam.
The Fox & Hounds at Wroughton
This pub had been going great guns since its complete transformation at the end of 2015 and is about to launch a new menu for the spring, summer season. More news when we know it.
It's sharing platter gives an indication of what'll be on offer - ideal for enjoying on the lighter evenings to come.
Reviews say it all
Kenzo, 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 restaurants to see who's having nice things 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 take a look at what people have been saying about
the new Kenzo in Old Town, which opened in late 2015 offering 'Oriental influenced tapas-style dishes with signature grilled steaks'.
And judging by the comments, the people of Swindon like the concept!
Here's 4 recent reviews
"It was an excellent meal and even better service. Upcoming gem in Swindon."
"First visit here and it definitely WON'T BE the last food was excellent and so were the staff."
"We were welcomed very warmly on our first visit. Ordering of drinks and food was as we wanted and when we wanted. Great food, especially the fillet steak. Waiters always at hand and very welcome considering a party of 7. Will go again."
"Have visited twice in last few weeks, once with work colleagues and second time with my 21 year old daughter, very impressed on both occasions. Service from head of house to young waitresses was first rate, attentive, polite, friendly and very efficient.
Our advice, as always - judge for yourself!
Felicitazioni La Carbonara!
So it's a very special congrats to Lino & Sue at La Carbonara, who have already raised a glass of Prosecco or three no doubt to mark 10 years since they first opened in 2006.
Always highly-rated, La Carbonara in Westlecott Road is one of Swindon's favourite Italians with a standard of home-cooked food that customer's rightly describe as 'amazing!' Here's to another 10 years.
Dates For You Diary
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!
May Bank Holidays - Monday 02 & 30 May 2016
Father's Day - Sunday 19 June 2016
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