Filkins, Lechlade, Gloucestershire GL7 3QJ
The Five Alls Filkins
It is not often that I get cross when I do these restaurant reviews, but after visiting the Five Alls at Filkins I was fuming, why have I not been here before , my sort of place, my sort of food.
Filkins is about 30 minutes south of Banbury just off the A361 road two or three miles after the Cotswold Wild Life Park.
The Five Alls is an attractive honey coloured stone building in the middle of this typical Cotswold village.
It is run and owned by Sebastian and Lana Snow who have been here since September of 2014, though they had spent four years running another pub restaurant in the next village, their loyal staff and many of their customers coming with them.
I was met by Sebastian’s delightful wife Lana who gave me a quick tour of the building, she is obviously very proud of it, rightly so.
Two restaurants both with a great feel, a large garden and a cosy alpine snug with a large fireplace make this a very welcoming place. I am told the area in front of the fire is pole position in the winter, unlike some country restaurants there is a thriving village bar, even an Aunt Sally alley in the garden, I did not realise it came this far south.
The place is full of interesting items and the walls one of the restaurants is stunningly covered by Anthony Morris postage stamp wallpaper, on which are some great black and white photographs.
If the weather allows tables are available both in the garden and outside the front alongside the village street.
But time to try Sebastian’s food, trained under Anthony Worrall Thompson he ran for many years the successful Snows on The Green in Hammersmith until like many the collapse of banks in 2007 made life difficult and he relocated to our part of the country , a decision neither he or Lana have ever regretted.
If I’m honest I would have had all nine starters and gone home happy, but settled on roast foie gras with a fried hens egg, brioche and balsamic vinegar, I know some of you won’t be happy with my choice but it is one of the great food experiences.
However I would have been equally content with the potted shrimps or the Crayfish cocktail that was being enjoyed on the next table.
For mains I went as usual for fish, for the first time in many years I had Hake, not a fish you see that often as most UK landed Hake is exported to Spain, perfectly cooked it came with a brown butter and caper sauce and jersey royals and spinach.
Both courses were washed down with something dry, delicious and white though I clean forgot to ask what it was.
I am not a big pudding person but was fascinated by the Horlicks and Baileys ice cream, the waitress kindly bought me a scoop to try, excellent I am now a pudding person.
A lady came up to me during my meal and asked me if I was doing a review, I guess the camera and notepad were a give away, “Write about the fish and chips, they are very very good”, happy to oblige.
A coffee in front of the fireplace with Sebastian, a very articulate and passionate man who gave me an insight into the ups and downs of the restaurant business, though he too pushed the fish and chips, so they must be good and then it was back up the 361 to Banbury.
Well worth a visit either for lunch or dinner and if you want to make a night of it there are four pretty double rooms designed by Sebastian’s sister.
Review by Peter Jones