EATING OUT: Who's in the Kitchen
Win A Meal At Weighbridge Brewhouse
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 new, regular round-up of what's new on the eating out front in Swindon.
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Time for a BBQ!
Just when does eating out feel like eating in? When it's a barbecue - cooked by other people!
And if the recent bank holiday weather is anything to go, then we're in for a great summer of enjoying food the proper outdoor way.
Two local pubs in particular will being hoping the sun's out when they throw two big BBQ nights this month.
Throw Another Shrimp on the Barby, Greg!
The Plough at Badbury
26 May 2013
Top cuts, steak, fillets, sausages (or snags, as they call them Down Under) & seafood are all on the menu, with enough for third and fourths no doubt judging by the portions we've experienced for Sunday lunch.
The views from the Plough pub garden look over Liddington Hill as well which isn't half-bad. Not quite the Bungle Bungles, but this is Swindon don't forget!
Saracen's Head, Highworth
25 May 2013
Bank Holiday Saturday is BBQ time at the Saracen's Head in Highworth, who continue their 'round the world of food' theme nights.
Eat in or out on the terrace for £9.25 per person with a sharing platter full of grilled favourites such as honey & mustard pork ribs, Greek-style chicken kebabs, corn on the cob and more...
There's even a vegetarian option of homemade veggie burgers and sauages.
The Rose & Crown at Ashbury
Fresh start for this traditional village pub
If you've lived and eaten out around Swindon over the years, you'll probably know the Rose & Crown at Ashbury was once a hugely popular village pub.
We remember its heyday in the late 80s and early 90s, when it was always incredibly busy with people enjoying some really excellent pub food, drinking heartedly and generally make the most of a short trip into the country.
Well, the good times are back - and are here to stay thanks to a whole new approach by the new people in charge.
Now run by former London restauranteur Gavin Ingram and his talented team, the changes are more than just cosmetic, with a new-look bar area and beautifully renovated dining area backed up by staff who know what the phrase 'good service' really means.
"The whole building is in the process of renovation but the downstairs area is now complete," Gavin told us, "and the feedback so far has been fantastic for both or our food and the new decor."
"It's such a wonderful pub and we jumped at the opportunity to take it on."
Just a short drive out of Swindon, the Rose & Crown also offer top quality accommodation if you fancy making more than an evening of it. Tempting!
Rudis Bar & Kitchen
Back towards the centre of Swindon - well, right bang in the middle of it to be precise! - we've heard very good reports from the May offer at Rudis Bar & Kitchen.
Rudi's is such an institution in Swindon, it's always nice to see it busy and their 2 courses for £10 is proving especially so.
Choose from either a starter and a main, or main and a pudding. Just download the voucher from their website and take it in. Booking a table, though, is highly recommended.
Available all-day, everyday except Sunday. And particularly useful if you're off to the Wyvern theatre nearby.
More than just desserts...
Some people say you can judge a restaurant by the quality of their desserts.
So if you believe in that - and there's many that do, then it's no wonder the Weighbridge Brewhouse is now known as one of the very best places to eat out in Swindon and Wiltshire in general.
And this month that reputation is being further enhanced by the addition of a brand-new desserts menu.
The top choice as far as we're concerned has to be the Lemon & Black cherry meringue, an individual sweet pastry case filled with homemade lemoncurd and fresh black cherries. All topped with a light airy meringue and drizzled with a cherry sauce.
Some like it hot!
And for those who like their desserts on the warmer side, don't worry, their popular chocolate brownie sundae and homemade sticky toffee pudding served with a hot toffee sauce and homemade Orange & Grand Marnier ice cream are still on the menu!
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New faces in the kitchen
Expanding team at 20 at The Kings
When you've cooked for the Masterchef judges - and they liked it, we think you know your way around a kitchen!
And that's just what professional chef of ten years, Brian Petrie-Pienaar has done during his time cooking for delegates and special guests at his previous job in Davos in Switzerland.
And now he's busy at the 20 at The Kings as the Old Town bar, hotel, restaurant expands its business.
Focus on functions
Peter joins alongside fellow South African Helen Stamatis to keep up 20 at the Kings' growing reputation for good pub food, and to develop new menus geared for functions.
"This is a busy place seven days a week," Peter commented, "with lunchtime trade everyday, Rotary dinners in the Ball Room for 50 plus funerals and conferences."
"So we're building up the team with skills to keep up with demand."
New pub food expansion
That demand will soon include organising the chefs at the new Plough Inn Ale & Cider House round the corner in Devizes Road.
"It's a very exciting new project and I'm delighted to have a kitchen team that can deliver the quality fayre people now expect from us," Darren told us.
The Plough Inn is currently undergoing a complete transformation and opens in early June.
Reviews looking good
Bel Cibo Italian, Cricklade
The jury is still out on TripAdvisor and whether you should believe the reviews?
Has the owner asked his mates to post a few nice ones in return for a meal? Or have local rivals used the forum to unfairly criticise new competition?
Largely, we think you can tell the difference between proper comments - be they praise or a moan - from the fake ones, so when reading the reviews of the new Italian in Cricklade, Bel Cibo, now open at The Vale Hotel, it looks like they've made a very good start.
Our advice - judge for yourself!
Friday Night Menu
Glasshouse Restaurant, Wootton Bassett
We've definitely noticed a trend for people looking for eating out information on a Monday rather than traditionally mid-week.
It's probably the huge range of offers now available for Mon-Thurs dining rather than at the weekend, when many of us just don't seem to have the time to eat out anymore.
But if there's ever an excuse to return to treating yourself when Friday comes, a great offer at the Glasshouse Restaurant at Marsh Farm Hotel could definitely be a habit-changer.
They offer 3 courses for £17.00 - including a glass of wine!
With a very good choice on the menu.
Make Time For Lunch
This month: West Swindon
Whether it's a business chat, a break from shopping or a just a change from the norm, there's some excellent choice of lunch venues in West Swindon.
Places where you can get a proper bite and not break the bank either.
Here's our pick this month from what's available. So why not give them a try?
Woodlands Edge & Brookhouse Farm
Lunchtime your way
A perfect lite bite here at either of these two popular pubs for under a fiver.
That gets you a sandwich, some nachos & a drink. There's plenty more good value on their all-day menu as well if you're hungrier.
Just off Jnct. 16
Food all-day, everyday
One of Swindon's most popular places for eating out, especially during the week.
Food is available throughout the day with an ever-changing specials board on offer. Great if your mid-day meal happens to be at 2.30 or later.
Choose from salads, burgers, baguettes plus a menu full of traditional favourites.
Eat as much as you like Chinese buffet
Open: Monday - Saturday
12noon - 3.00pm
The ideal choice if noodles are your thing at lunchtime or.... beef curry, king prawns or roast duck with plum sauce. Take your pick.
At £6.50pp you can visit the buffet as many times as you like (within reason!) - perfect for an office or family of big & small people!
And finally... a fond farewell to Roy Sansum
If you could take a typical English country pub and recreate it, we think you'd find it hard to beat the food and atmosphere that Roy and his team have served up at this country pub over the last ten years.
We've said it before and we'll say it again, the beef olives there are the best pub food we've ever tasted!
A plea to the new people taking over... please keep them on the menu!
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!
Late May Bank Weekend - 25-27 May
Father's Day - 16 June
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EATING OUT: Who's in the Kitchen
Win A Meal At Weighbridge Brewhouse