The Plough has been around since the 16th century. Located in Ford, a little hamlet in Gloucestershire, between Tewkesbury and Stow-on-the-Wold, it’s almost the middle of nowhere. But that’s what adds to the magic.
Last year The Plough was awarded the Best Cotswold Pub in The Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards, for supporting local suppliers to produce quality food. Another reason why, when my Dad mentioned a visit, it immediately became a must!
The Plough is a cosy, homely country inn. A roaring wood burner, untreated wooden country-dining style tables and chairs, paintings dressing the walls, and quirky ornaments spotted about, it’s almost what you’d expect from a village pub.
Getting in is a bit confusing. The car park is on the opposite side of the road and the entrance round the back. It’s like you have to walk through the beer garden to get to the door, which does look like it’d make a great little spot in the summer.
But after that, you have the warm welcome at the bar, the choice of tables (well on a Saturday lunchtime – but by the sound of all the bookings coming in it must get busy), and relaxed service. The team were friendly enough. Not overly chatty, but accommodating. The only real wait being for someone to take our order, which was a little longer than expected. But food didn’t take too long, especially as it’s all cooked fresh to order.
On the note of food, there’s plenty of choice. Between the standard menu and the specials, there’s pretty much something for all, from pub classics to more contemporary takes on the favourites. From smoked haddock fish pie with cheesy mash to half roasted Gressingham duck (with orange sauce) with bubble and squeak or beef with mushrooms in a creamy black peppercorn sauce with saffron rice, the choice can be a tough one.
Although the starters did sound fab too, like the Japanese crumbed squid rings and black pearl scallops with chorizo sausage & lemon oil, portions in general are huge. So I’d definitely say hold out for the main event.
The pie of the day was a chicken, leek and ham when we visited. Served with a choice of chips or mash (a no brainer, pie has to be served with mash) and peas, it’s a pub classic whoch went down a treat. The pie was delicious, with a good filling to pastry ratio, and the mash was creamy. The dish also came with a little pot of creamy sauce which had a subtle chicken taste to it – dad’s description was “chicken soup sauce”, which actually pretty much summed it up! Haha.
The fish pie was one of the best I’ve tasted. The smoked flavour of the haddock came through beautifully, there was plenty of fish and the cheesy mash topping took it to another level. The roasted vegetables which accompanied the dish were a la dente, and full of natural flavours – you know sometimes the carrots just don’t taste of anything, well not here. They also looked super cute!
The vegetarian wellington however. It was definitely on par with my favourite beef one. Stuffed with goat cheese, butternut squash, spinach & walnut, it was filled with well-thought out textures and flavours. It was rich, emulating a traditional wellington, and super tasty. It arrived with garlic & parsley sautéed potatoes (crispy on the outside, fluff in the middle), a creamy wild mushroom sauce, and a choice of vegetables or salad. The salad, the option I chose, was fresh and crisp, and not just your usual side salad. It had a good mix of leaves, cress, onions, pepper, cucumber and tomato.
After that, there’s not much space for anything else. Even with the sticky toffee pudding and banoffee pie calling me. No regrets though, as I was enjoying my main too much, and could not have stopped!
- Price: Mains priced between £10.95 and £21.95. Some of the dishes, as you expect, are more expensive (i.e. the fillet steak). Portions are more than generous so you get what you pay for.
- Food: Quite a variety between the main menu and the specials. Great quality! Each dish we tried was delicious. But I did notice they didn’t have any vegan options, and little vegetarian options, which is quite important in today’s world.
- Drinks: They serve local Donnington Ales, from a brewery in Stow-on-the-Wold – something I didn’t get to try but would have loved to taste! Large diet coke was £3, which is pretty expensive considering other options.
- Atmosphere: Homely. Like a country dining room, with a wood burner roaring. Quite quiet on a Saturday lunchtime.
- Wait: Seated straight away. Wait for someone to take our order was a little longer than expected, but food didn’t take too long, considering it was cooked fresh.
Have you discovered a fab place to eat in the Cotswolds?