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Review: Horse and Groom, Bourton-on-the-Hill

Sardines on bread

Sardines on bread

The Cotswolds are positively awash with gastropubs. You’re surely no more than fifteen minutes drive from a Harden’s entry no matter where you are around here. Having not had a Sunday lunch out for a while, we decided to check out yet another one; the Horse and Groom, perched up in Bourton-on-the-Hill.

It’s certainly a handsome pub, inside and out, with thick beams and bare stone walls, an eclectic mix of scrub-top tables and a good selection of beers at the bar. Along with the obligatory collection of artisanal gins, of course! Some nice choices. Shame the barman empties the entire 200ml bottle of tonic into the glass with Maureen’s single shot. The list of wines by the glass isn’t particularly thrilling.

Tomato salad

Tomato salad

But we’re here for the roasts. Starters first, and the choice is short and trad. Maureen picks a heritage tomato salad, an odd thing to find on in February, and it is what it is. My sardines are good, skilfully butterflied and gently fried. Served on a slice of simple wholegrain bread that has gone soggy from the leaf salad under the fish.

We’re on better ground with the roasts. My lamb rack is full of flavour, pink within and firmly juicy. The gravy is outstanding. The yorkshire pud is a fine specimen, fluffy and crispy. Roast potatoes are big lumps and just fine. Veg is simply boiled. Not to death, there’s just enough bite to them, but there isn’t anything remotely interesting about them either. Maureen’s beef knocks my lamb into a cocked hat. It is an absolute dream of beef. Silken. Beefy. Perfect.

Lamb rack

Lamb rack

Sticky toffee pudding: a light and moist specimen, good enough to eat, the caramel sauce a bit over-sweet. Lemon posset: lovely example, and I like the diced tropical fruit crumble topping.

It’s a reasonable £28-30 for three courses without drinks. Seems about right to me. In my head I’ve lodged the Horse & Groom as: “if I’m ever in this part of the Cotswolds and in need of a bite to eat, this will do just fine.” You can call that damning with faint praise if you like!

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