In the picturesque village of Cold Aston, between Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-Water, this charismatic 17th-century country inn is the perfect pit-stop after a day spent exploring the North Cotswolds. New owners Thomas and Josie Hughes are passionate about combining uncompromising quality and service to make your visit truly memorable. If the mention of affordable gourmet food accompanied by a fine selection of quality wine and craft beer excites, The Plough Inn will not disappoint.
Muse over the extensive wine list with its dazzling array of natural wine, featuring both locally produced tipples and select global vintages. The quirky Spanish orange wine is definitely not to be missed, and there are nearly twenty different gin and tonic combinations to explore. In the warmer months, dining on the outside terrace is a must, while a roaring log fire eagerly awaits you later in the year.
The ever-changing menu of local and seasonal produce is sure to impress. The speciality Bertha charcoal grill is renowned for producing perfect chargrilled meats and the most divine seared fish. My starter provided an exceptional introduction – the classic buffalo mozzarella was light and fresh, while the tangy heritage tomatoes and fragrant basil pesto were uplifting yet subtly piquant. Contrasting superbly, my partner’s richly flavoured devilled kidneys atop sourdough with a delightfully rich peppery sauce was equally impressive. My main course of orzo pasta with fresh peas, mint and garlic pesto was delicious. The flavours harmonised exquisitely and the dish was everything a summer meal should be: light, vibrant and refreshing. My companion’s succulent hake fillet accompanied by sautéed squid, Parmentier potatoes, heritage tomatoes and aioli was very warmly appreciated, and demonstrated the hosts’ intention to go the extra mile. To finish, the lemon posset with walnut shortbread was faultless; the flavour evoked childhood memories of lemon drops and lemon curd wrapped up in a seemingly simple, understated dessert. The sticky date pudding provided a delightful twist on an old favourite, with layers of flavour enhanced by butterscotch sauce and indulgent salted caramel ice cream. The Plough Inn raises the bar in its grand desire to impress. Increasingly popular with locals and with three en-suite rooms available, it is unquestionably in the Premier League of rural inns.