Don’t let anyone tell you that Cirencester doesn’t have anywhere to eat or drink… at last count there were at least 20 plus places to grab a bite or something to drink, and there’s more on the horizon. There’s a restaurant to satisfy most tastebuds, from sushi to sandwiches, and french bistro to thai. That said I’ve not come across anywhere in my 8 years of living here that has really made me ‘WOW, I need to go again… tomorrow’. There’s been the odd one or two ‘it was a good meal’, but never one that has completely got me: hook, line and sinker… Well that was until earlier this week!
Imagine if you will, 3 ladies, fabulous friends, who hadn’t seen each other for 5 months, hungry for gossip and ‘dirty food’. And we’re talking ‘dirty’ in the sense of burgers, fries, milkshakes and more, but done well (actually really, really well)… what more could a woman want went having a good ol’ chinwag, except for a glass or two of vino. So on L’s recommendation, we headed to the newly opened Eat Wild in Cirencester.
From the moment I stepped through the door, I knew Eat Wild and I were going to good friends; someone had finally brought a little of that urban quirkiness that I love about the places we eat at in London, to the Cotswolds. Throw in some English gentry charm, and you’ve got the newest and hottest eating experience the Cotswolds has to offer…
Although the doors have only been open a couple of weeks and the spray paint on the rutting stag graffiti has just finished drying, the story of this gem in the Cotswold’s food crown, is a little longer in the making. Started in 2010 by brother’s Calum and Will Thompson, the Chaps’ aim was to source, cook and supply sustainable wild meat and game; and what better place to do so, than in the beautiful Cotswolds. Fast forward 4 years, a fast-growing reputation for great game and meat, topped off with a Countryside Alliance Award for ‘Local Food Champion’, and you will find yourself stood inside No. 4 Castle Street, and the new Eat Wild restaurant!
The Ladies and I meet up after work and rather than cocktails, my eyes were instantly drawn to the ‘specials mirror’ and Oreo milkshake… Probably not the best choice for the healthy diet, but why not? It was a Girl’s night after all. Armed with a straw (and spoon) I made light work of the cookies n’ cream goodness whilst we perused the menu.
The Chaps have stayed true to their ethics and the menu is predominantly game, locally sourced across the Cotswolds and the South West. Chatting to Calum, it’s obvious that the Brothers’ ultimate goal is to be just game focused; local, sustainable and excellent quality game. But in the meantime all the other meat is 100% organic and was previously running around the rolling Cotswold hills, free and living a great life. Now before you get all ‘well why isn’t the poor piggy still happy and free’, we’re not going to get into the meat vs vegetarian debate; but one of us Ladies is a staunch vegetarian and it was on her recommendation that we visited. L completely ‘gets’ the ethics behind Calum and Will’s sourcing of their meat, so much so she’s been and taken guests every week since Eat Wild opened!
To get the evening started, and to aid the main course deliberations, we ordered rosemary salted fries and courgette fries, perfect nibbling snacks. I can picture another evening sat in the window seat, catching up with friends, sipping gin cocktails and dipping into tin mugs of fries! There may have been another Oreo milkshake too (oops!).
Still not being able to decide what I wanted to eat, I let Calum make my decision for me; Wild Venison burger in a brioche bun for one. M went with the Gloucester Old Spot pulled pork roll, whilst L chose the Halloumi and Aubergine burger. The signature Buttermilk Chicken wings looked amazing, and another diner, sat next to us, went with the Vension chilli which they highly recommended; but it was really a burger evening for us.
As the gossip flowed and the summer’s evening sun still hung over the town, a serious case of food envy was brewing. The arrival of our burgers was met cries of ‘Oh Yes!’ and ‘Next time I’ve having that’. Despite not being an aubergine fan, I had a big case of the green-eyed monster for the halloumi that was sitting between the perfectly toasted brioche bun, then along came M’s pulled pork complete with a generous helping of homemade ‘slaw’; that pork looked so good. But it was my venison burger that stole the show; beautiful game, perfectly cooked, expertly balanced inside that toasted brioche bun complete with watercress salad, and not a limp lettuce leaf or gherkin in sight. Hurrah!! Oh, and before I forget my burger was accompanied by just ‘the’ best onion rings. Seriously, it was the best burger I’ve had…
Despite protestations of feeling far too full for dessert, up on the mirror with the Oreo milkshake there was the one pudding that could tempt even the fullest of tummys… Eton Mess! But with it being the start of the most glorious sporting fortnight, Wimbledon, this wasn’t going to be any Eton Mess. Three Kilner jars loaded with fresh strawberries, cream, meringue, shortbread and a sprig of mint, were met with audible gasps of delight as they were placed in front of us, on the recycled cable drum table. It might of taken us some time to get through, but I can honestly say we ate and enjoyed each single bite.
For me, Eat Wild has everything I want from somewhere relaxed to eat, with something for everyone; even if it’s just cocktails and munchies or a gossip and dinner. What’s more I can ask the Chaps and know that they’ll be able to tell me everything about where my food is coming from, right down to the fresh herb pots on the tables. Finally, the bill at the end is even a pleasant surprise… reasonably priced, excellent food and the best dirty food in the Cotswolds. Everyone else best watch out, Calum and Will are ones to watch and I can’t wait to see how Eat Wild grows!
Just writing this up makes me want to go back. I’ve promised Ian that we’re going back as soon as possible, and if he’s good he can come with us next time.
EAT WILD, 4 Castle Street, Cirencester, GL7 1QA
Telephone: 01285 850 033
Images are copyright of Eat Wild, and used with kind permission.
We visited Eat Wild for dinner, on our own accord. Thoughts and feelings are my own.