The Seven Tuns
Something very, very exciting is happening in the tiny village of Chedworth, Gloucestershire
Something very, very exciting is happening in the tiny village of Chedworth, Gloucestershire.
The (new look) Seven Tuns is the brainchild of Simon Wilson-White – who boasts stints at both The Ritz and the original branch of The Ivy on his rather impressive CV – and chef Tom Conway (Nobu; The Potting Shed; The Criterion, Piccadilly – yup, we’re firmly on dream team territory here) who unveiled the results of their stylish refurbishment of this charming Cotswolds inn – which has a pretty impressive CV all of it’s own, what with its 17th century origins n’all – in October of this year…and is already setting tasteful tongues wagging across several counties.
While Simon, Tom and their team’s new venture is still very much a ‘locals’ pub at the heart of a tiny but vibrant village (expect to be greeted by an exceedingly mellow, welcoming vibe and several friendly dogs with their friendly owners in the buzzing little bar area), they’ve curated an exceedingly thoughtful refurbishment, intelligently balanced to represent the point where traditional country pub charm meets contempo-chic expectations: serene modern artwork on the walls, lots of sturdy, polished wood, plenty of scrubbed-up, honey-coloured Cotswold stone, a loft area that’s been turned into a characterful upper-level dining retreat and a lush alfresco area that holds great promise for the spring/summer season. Meanwhile, on the fabulous food front, the duo have introduced a distinctly upper-crust ‘destination dining’ aspect to menus woven throughout with excellent, imaginative use of locally-sourced, seasonal produce and promising the kind of super-foodie combinations that one would normally expect to find in a 5-star city centre hotel restaurant… and for which we’d expect pay at least three times the price for the privilege of eating.
We started off our trip around the Tuns with a dish that pays polite homage to chef Tom’s Nobu days: tuna tartare with sesame, soy sauce and wasabi mayonnaise that turned out to be a beautifully-balanced wake-up call to all the senses – and could also be described as supremely elegant by elegant diners who don’t hint about wanting a spoon with which to slurp up the remains of the seductive dressing (well it would have been rude to let all that good stuff go to waste, wouldn’t it?). On the other side of the table, sweet, creamy home-smoked rose veal, the smoke-tinged slivers of meat judiciously counterbalanced by sour/sweet pickled cabbage and crispy capers – now that’s how to begin a meal with a flourish; on we forged, our expectations at full beam.
Despite the ‘trend’ for ‘forgotten’ cuts, you still don’t often see blade on menus around these yer parts – and even when you do, it doesn’t always live up to it’s posh braised steak reputation. But when that blade is wagyu blade (wagyu being the most luxurious beef, bar none) and it’s served with creamed celeriac, and spinach, and succulent little nuggets of deep fried bone marrow… well you don’t often encounter a beef dish this good for miles around, never mind in the Chedworth environs. Roast pork belly, however – well that’s hardly lesser-spotted, is it? But when Tom does pork belly, he does it all soft and creamy, and he serves it with sweet, (also) creamy scallops, and velvety potato terrine – and, like, wow. Yes, proper wow – because Tom does wow very, very well indeed.
For the final round, caramel ‘crème brûlée‘, the high comma/quotation marks totally unrelated to any form of pretension (to be honest, I didn’t notice the distinction on the menu at first glance) but there to draw our attention to the fact that this is not just a regular crème brûlée: this is Tom’s crème brûlée, and it’s sliced – yes, sliced! – very neatly from what’s clearly a very neat slab and served with slightly charred marshmallow and banana, and the whole glorious combination couldn’t fail to make anybody with a fork and a mouth swoon. For those who crave complexity, bread and butter pudding is taken out of the nursery and given a grown up, sophisticated revamp with gingerbread and lashings of whisky, served with pickled blackberries and the kind of custard that you want to swim in.
And to drink with our feast (that, by the way, has thus far only run up a total tab of around £65 which, as highlighted earlier, is a fraction of where we’d be at in city centre establishments that serve this kind of food) we simply asked Simon to advise us, because Simon is as expert a sommelier as Tom is a virtuoso chef, and the pub stocks a rather extraordinary wine list the like of which – sorry, but I’m going to have to press this point home yet again – you wouldn’t expect to find outside of a very upmarket, 5-star cellar, let alone waiting for you in an off the beaten track country pub.
So, in summary, we went off the beaten track and found a dinner that struck destination dining gold: breathtakingly pretty surroundings, a seductive interior environment and food that I honestly can’t praise highly enough, at prices that… oh come on; you’ve read this far, you know how that sentence finishes.
But you don’t have to blow out big to get a taste of The Seven Tuns – there’s a ‘proper pub’ bar menu available too, including fab fish’n’chips’n’stuff and the most generously-stuffed sausage rolls I’ve ever encountered (see pic, in the gallery) while the Sunday Roasts hold the promise of perfection. But if you want my advice (which is, after all, why you’re here,) use the drive from Bath to build up an appetite for a 3-course feast: both driver and hunger pangs are fully guaranteed to be richly rewarded at journey’s end.
While we’re not be planning on completely relocating to Chedworth, we’re definitely setting up a second home at The Seven Tuns.
Keep an eye on our News Pages for regular, seasonal food/wine bulletins courtesy of Simon and Tom.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Dog friendly ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
The pub is open from 11am daily.
Food served Monday-Friday 12noon-3pm; 6pm-9.30pm, Saturday 12noon-9.30pm, Sunday 12noon-4pm; 6pm-9pm
Set the SatNav and fill up the tank, Piggies! Chedworth is approximately 40-ish miles/64km from Bath
The Pig Guide:
Official Brand Ambassadors for this year's Great Bath Feast. Get involved >