OUR quest for lunch took us to Cirencester and to the Golden Cross Inn, situated in the lovely Black Jack Street.
Full of independent businesses, it is a delight to walk down, unless of course you are in a rush to get to the pub, and you have taken the wife with you, as a lot of the shops are women’s boutiques.
Finally, inside the Arkell’s pub, we could see why this attracts a good crowd.
There are lively staff serving the gentle jostle of today’s famers’ market traders vying for position at the bar.
The dining area is split in two, one side quaint and cosy with a fireplace, the other well lit but equally comfortable with wooden floors and exposed beams, lit by the skylights above.
To drink we had a pint of Arkell’s 3Bs and a glass of wine, originally a white but I changed to a red as it was not quite the taste one was hoping for.
The Malbec was a lot better and all of a sudden I felt at home – if only I had brought my slippers.
It is apparently Veganuary, and we are all supposed to be eating seeds and salads, so it seemed cruel to judge a pub at this time of year on this sort of criteria.
We eventually went for a lamb special and fish and chips – obviously we can’t all be super slim gym bunnies you know.
I picked a starter also, a Cotswold Smokie – a smoked haddock, double Gloucester cheese, horseradish and tarragon fishcake.
It was served on wilted spinach and was covered in just enough rich, tasty hollandaise.
I could see from the rubbed-out markings on the specials board that the chef was obviously keen on his fish, a great idea at this time of year when we are all recovering from Christmas meat sweats.
The main, although a simple fish and chips, was delicious – a large piece of Cornish haddock took over the plate and went down well with the mushy peas.
Meanwhile, the lamb special was a rump on garlic mash with green beans a mint jus – a dish you might expect to be heavy but it was the perfect size and reasonably priced.
Soon it was time for desserts but we chose to share another glass of wine instead – it is January after all, so we took a few calories out of the equation.
Perhaps in February we will be back to try some of the ‘naughty bits’!
Hopefully we will see you all there.