Gloucester’s cheeses have already put it on the culinary map, but there’s more to this English city than its famous fromage. Here, foodies will find a community of independent, locally owned restaurants cooking up everything from Thai and Mediterranean cuisine to pub food and afternoon tea.
Sebz Café Tapas Restaurant
Cafe, Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
You needn’t hop on a plane to experience the authentic tastes of the Mediterranean with a restaurant like Sebz on your doorstep. Alongside pizzas and plenty of Portuguese main courses like chicken in piri piri sauce and espetada (a traditional Madeiran dish of skewered meat seasoned with rock salt, garlic and bay leaves), guests will find tonnes of tapas dishes. Highlights include the calamari and salt cod cakes, and the vegetarian-friendly Portuguese polenta with cabbage and figs or patatas bravas.
So Thai delights local diners with its deliciously authentic Thai cuisine. Alongside familiar fare like classic pad Thai and green curry, adventurous foodies will get a kick out of speciality dishes like plaa rad nam ma-kham (pan-fried sea bass with tamarind and honey sauce, crispy shallot, and roasted dried chilli). So Thai’s location is pretty special too, with an atmospheric dining room set in a 300-year-old wine cellar and a modern upstairs bar serving wine, spirits and beer, including a few Thai imports.
There aren’t many pubs that have an authentic Roman well in the middle of their main bar, but Café René, located in a Medieval building close to the 15th-century Grade I-listed St Mary de Crypt Church, has exactly that. Soak up the historic surrounds while browsing Café René’s varied menu. Choose from traditional pub favourites like steak and ale pie or beer battered cod with chips, peas and tartar sauce, or opt for something a bit different like Caribbean lamb curry. Don’t leave without trying a few local ales from the likes of Wickwar Brewing and Cinderford’s Freeminer Brewery.
If you like your food spicy and brimming with flavour, then look no further than Aroma, one of Gloucester’s most popular Indian restaurants. Lots of classic curry house fare features on the restaurant’s menu, including chicken korma and lamb vindaloo. But for a real taste of what Aroma’s wide-ranging Indian cuisine is all about, opt for a chef-recommended dish like kozhi chettinadu (a chicken curry made with a blend of 18 different spices).
Located on the outskirts of Gloucester in the village of Longford, the Queens Head is a traditional pub serving some of the finest food and real ales in the area. Choose from classic British pub food like slow-roasted lamb with mint gravy or beer-battered cod with mushy peas and gourmet chips, or go European with a tempting dish like chicken marengo (chicken and king prawns in tomato and mushroom sauce). Go on Sundays for the Queens Head’s popular roast dinner where dishes like 28-day matured roast beef, roast pork loin with apricot stuffing and roast leg of Welsh lamb are served with all the usual trimmings.
Nestled next to Gloucester Cathedral and the Beatrix Potter Museum, Lily’s, named one of the country’s finest tearooms by This England magazine, is an ideal spot for refuelling after a day exploring the local sights. Open for breakfast and lunch, the menu features dishes like full English breakfasts, sandwiches and quiche. But for an extra special treat, try one of Lily’s afternoon teas, which include a selection of finger sandwiches, fruit scones and cakes and, of course, a pot of tea.
Pan-Asian cuisine is dished up in historic surrounds at Tiger’s Eye. This unique restaurant is located in a beautiful 17th-century building opened by owner Nick Fullbrook, who was inspired by his travels in Asia. Head chef Robert Sinyard cooks up creative mains like pan-fried duck breast with wasabi mash and red onion jam, and poached salmon with spring greens, salmon and prawn mousse, crispy noodles and a teapot of lemongrass and fish consommé. For a really different meal, many guests opt for the restaurant’s black rock grill dishes, which include meats like wagyu sirloin, ostrich and kangaroo cooked tableside on volcanic rock.
Beer fans may already know of Gloucester Brewery, the award-winning craft brewery founded by Jared Brown. Due to its popularity, the company opened its own bar, TANK, which celebrates local beer and food. Opened on the historic Gloucester Docks, TANK dishes up delicious grub like burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and charcuterie boards with suggested beer pairings and alongside plenty of Gloucester Brewery’s own beers. Its flagship Gloucester Gold and American pale ale Chinook included. Diners can also sample guest beers from fellow craft brewers like Liverpool’s Mad Hatter Brewing Company.
Nepalese Chef’s eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary Nepalese and Indian cuisine has seen the restaurant hailed as one of the city’s best. Guests can play it safe with classic curries like balti, rogan josh and jalfrezi, or opt for a more adventurous Nepalese speciality dish. Each available with either chicken, lamb, paneer, tiger prawns or vegetables, there are tantalising recipes like dall rimjhim (a combination of lentils, lemon juice, fresh green chillies, garlic, chopped tomato, and Himalayan herbs and spices) and chhate milan (a traditional dish made with black pepper, lemon leaves, mushroom and coconut milk).