Small plates, big flavours in Nailsworth

Faced with a large plate of food, I feel overwhelmed. I like to enjoy flavours but not feel bloated. I am a big fan of tasting menus. I love the sense of discovery of great flavours. It’s not just that though, it’s the manageable portions eaten leisurely.

Tasty bites at the Old Badger Inn, Eastington
Tasty bites at the Old Badger Inn, Eastington

Perhaps in a way, tasting menus have become more mainstream. Have you noticed the explosion of “tapas” dishes in restaurants recently? Eating supper out with a group of ladies recently (it was a committee meeting, honestly) at the Old Badger, Eastington many of us plumped for what was billed as tapas. In reality, these were sized portions of a selection of dishes.

Tapas literally means lid or cover. Tapas in Spain are small bites of food offered free with drinks in bars. Here, you might find “tapas” in any number of restaurants including Indian. What else could we call small portioned dishes that would trip off the tongue?

The Vault Nailsworth

Nailsworth was very busy last Friday with the Nailsworth Noel celebrations. My husband was singing with his choir in the local church so we had to eat early. The Vault at Nailsworth was an obvious choice. The restaurant is on a balcony overlooking the bar – great for people watching. The venue is warm and welcoming.

With two Spanish Chefs and one Brazilian in the kitchen, we could well have anticipated Spanish and Portuguese influences.Reading the menu, we discovered a wide range of dishes that tempted us. The menu suggests ordering two dishes per person. As we had little time, we plumped for 3 between us – plus dessert of course!

Dish of the day - sticky ribs
Dish of the day – sticky ribs

We chose two dishes from the specials menu and a salad from the main menu. The sticky ribs could have caused an argument as there were 3 pieces between the two of us. This dish was heavenly a rich sticky sauce, tender meat served with some lovely crispy potatoes. Next time I am definitely going to have this dish to myself!

The hake was well cooked and served in a creamy sauce prawns and with asparagus, lovely but overshadowed by the ribs. The beetroot and goats cheese salad was delicious, elevated by caramelised walnuts – a great winter salad.

My half of the Santiago almond tart
My half of the Santiago almond tart

And so to dessert, we shared a Santiago Almond tart which was beautifully moist and very moreish and a creme brulee which was more like a crema catalan with orange-y cinnamon flavours.

You’ll discover accomplished cooking from the chefs, it is somewhere we definitely will return to and eat just that bit more leisurely.

I’d say small plates whatever they are called are a winner!

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The Old Badger Inn | Alkerton Road Springhill|  Eastington GL10 3AT

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