If you are a lover of Italian food then you could do a lot worse than spend a few evenings in the Stroud district.
Venture out to Nailsworth and you will find Amalfi and The Olive Tree, both equally good options.
If you fancy staying in Stroud itself, then the pizza and pasta available at Sorrento will surely hit the spot.
Fat Toni’s also deserves its excellent reputation, with pizzas of such quality it far surpasses any other takeaway I have come across.
But it is the family’s other venture in the town that you really need to visit.
Toni’s Kitchen at Bisley House blows everything else out the water.
Space inside is at a premium so it is advisable to book, rather than strolling up on a Saturday night as I did. Fortunately, after a drink at the bar, a table became available.
The menu is not hugely extensive, but it is refined rather than remiss. With seasonal changes and separate lunch and vegan menus there should still be something for everyone.
Spicy n’duja and honey glazed pork ribs topped the list of tempting starters (£7 each or three for £18) but we decided to move straight on to the main event.
I plumped for a seafood linguine while my companions chose mushroom and truffle lasagne.
The food appeared to arrive exceptionally quickly although it may have been I was too absorbed examining the place mats, which explain the different machinery used to make pasta over the years, to notice time going by.
All pasta at Toni’s is freshly made on site and ‘fresh’ is exactly how it tastes.
Stroud wasn’t on the coast last time I checked and yet the seafood tasted as if it had been happily swimming around a couple of hours previous.
The linguine was perfectly cooked, with a subtle tomato flavour and just a hint of heat completing a sensational dish.
My friends were just as satisfied with their lasagne, which came with a generous bowl of salad.
You will not get much change, if any, out of £20 for a main meal here but rarely has the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ been more applicable.
We decided to skip dessert and enjoy another drink, this time in the garden.
The bar is rather on the small side, with just three beers and a cider on draught, and is crammed into the corner but the space available means there is no better option.
Indeed, a table had to be moved out the way, just to access the door to the garden.
Once outside the garden, which has produce growing in the corner, is a lovely place to enjoy a drink .
Do give this place a go, preferably while it is still warm enough to sit outside!