Eating out review: The Rising Sun Hotel, Cleeve Hill
CRADLED in a corner of Cleeve Hill, with views of nearby Bishop's Cleeve, Gotherington and Cheltenham, The Rising Sun pub and hotel is the perfect place to take in a sun-soaked summer evening.
So when my friends decided they wanted to head out to the countryside for dinner one Saturday night, I jumped at the chance to go to the famous spot.
Having spent time covering the area, The Rising Sun is perhaps the place I had yet to pop into, a mistake in hindsight.
Every table in the gardens were taken and we were quickly discussing alternative destinations.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
I've heard many good and bad things about the pub and was determined to try it.
Fortunately determination prevailed. After circling the car park for a good 10 minutes, we finally managed to find a spot.
We didn't have to wait long for a table, quickly finding one among the revellers.
With the beer garden basking in glorious sunshine we were quickly notified of a queue forming.
The menu boasted clear descriptions, and we quickly made up our minds.
Both ladies picked the sizzling chicken fajitas (£10.69), served with a warm flour tortilla, grated Cheddar, salsa, sour cream and guacamole, all the essentials of a great Mexican dish.
My friend quickly chose the 8oz rump steak (£10.99) cooked medium-rare. A great British classic, it was served with chips, petits pois and plum tomatoes.
My mind was made up on their set menu, with two courses for just £7.95. I started with hand-battered fish goujons with salad and went with the chicken breast smothered in Cheddar and Tewkesbury mustard sauce.
Our food came relatively quickly as we watched the sun set with a drink in hand.
It took slightly more than 20 minutes for the dishes to arrive and I was pleasantly surprised to find my goujons made of battered flaked haddock, rather than the usual processed white fish.
It set the tone for the rest of the meal and my chicken breast did not disappoint.
The steak was cooked close to perfection, although a few more chips would have completed the plate. The salad was a brilliant accompaniment to the main dish.
Both fajitas came on sizzling hot plates, marinated in a medium spicy sauce and decent-sized accompaniments.
If anything, I wish I had been served a bigger portion, as did my group of friends.
Perhaps we are so used to huge portions in quick pub food, we've forgotten how quality always triumphs over quantity.
With the night quickly coming to a close, owner Parvis Tabai's crew quickly went round with offers for dessert, an irresistible temptation which the rest gave in to.
I was happy just to take in the views of the lovely Bishop's Cleeve in the fading sunset.
The ambience at The Rising Sun certainly made up for the slightly small portions, whilst the standard of food and meticulous service have certainly set the standard for future visits.