Holly Heywood dines well in the Cotswolds.
Cirencester has not – as far as we are aware – received the accolade of being England’s happiest place to live. But based on our recent experience, this should soon be rectified. And as one of Cirencester’s happy places filled with happy people, a visit to Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden is sure to give you the happy vibes.
Founded by Toby Baggott and Sam Lawson-King, school friends from the area, Roots + Seeds offers both inside and outside dining from a menu studded with local produce in a true fork to fork experience.
The space was buzzing during our Friday night visit, with chatty tables both inside and out plus a soundtrack that fitted the vibe of the place perfectly. A newly-groomed terrier was constantly wagging his tail, having also got the message that this was a place to enjoy.
From a small but well-put together menu I started with a bowl of heirloom tomatoes topped with a chilled tomato consommé. In a world where even good tomatoes are seldom great, this reminded me of just how many distinct flavours arrive in the guise of tomatoes. There was a piquant one, a soft voluptuous one, a fresh green one, and… You get the picture. Topped with fresh herbs and flowers, this bowl was totally delicious. My dining companion chose slow cooked beef brisket topped with scrambled eggs and chives. It took some restraint not to reach across the table and test this out myself. I was informed that it tasted even better than the beautiful aroma would suggest.
For mains, we chose the dry aged steak, which came with beer braised shallots, a beautifully smooth and buttery mash, salsa verde and an inspired Marmite hollandaise. I chose cod, succulent and fresh off the Brixham boat, which came with in a deep bowl filled with courgettes, sugarsnaps and peas. I managed not to resist the temptation of a bowl of triple cooked skin on fries: crispy, fluffy and magnificent.
There was room – just – for a chocolate praline torte. Some restraint took place in that the plate was not scraped to remove every morsel. An Eton mess was juicy with fruit and crisp with meringues.
The well chosen wine menu offered plenty of options alongside beers from local breweries. Cocktails included some spins on a theme, such as a salted caramel expresso martini, worth ordering not just for the treat but also to see Sam’s exuberance with the cocktail shakers.
Don’t believe that this is style over substance though. I ordered an espresso, to be told that it would be a double…everything here is double. That really sums up the Roots + Seeds experience. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, and frankly this was probably the most delicious espresso I have ever had. On mentioning this to Sam, a look of concentration came over his face as he mentioned letting the machine ready itself, getting the perfect temperature and other details. It was a good reminder of the skill and care that goes into making great food and drink seem effortless. On a similar note, if you have food allergies or intolerances, the kitchen team has brilliant flexibility in managing the menu ingredient. You can dine safely and well here with lots of choices: yet another reason to recommend Roots + Seeds.
We’d arrived a bit late courtesy of a satnav malfunction so the restaurant was quieting down as we were finishing our meals but Sam’s personality can fill an empty room while making even the most lingering of guests feel wanted. We certainly did, and we certainly shall return.
Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden is open all week during the day for breakfasts and lunches (including Sunday lunch) with dinner (6-9pm) and the bar (until 12pm) Thursday to Saturday. Bring your best appetite and be prepared to be made happy.
We dined as the guests of Roots + Seeds. Opinions are, as always, our own.