5 North Street
- When: November 2016
- Michelin Stars: 1
- Male DINK Rating: 11/15
- Female DINK Rating: 11/15
- Total Cost: $150; Food Cost: $90
This was the third of five Michelin-star stops during our time in the Cotswolds region in England. We had lunch at this small restaurant during a day of driving around the Cotswolds from our home base in Burton-on-the-Water. We made a reservation by filling out the contact form on the restaurant’s website. We did not hear back for several days, however, we then received an e-mail confirmation for “1ish” on the day we requested. It’s worth noting that this restaurant has had 1 Michelin star since 2004!
The town of Winchcombe is medium-sized for the area, and there appeared to be some restricted street parking around the restaurant (none available, though). We ended up parking at a lot further south on B4632 – a quick five-minute walk to the restaurant. When we arrived at the restaurant (about 10-15 minutes early), there was an elderly couple waiting outside, and the restaurant appeared to be closed. After only a few seconds of waiting outside, the door opened, and we were invited in early. While another person escorted the elderly couple to their table, the chef himself was out in the restaurant and asked for the name on our reservation. We were then seated by the waitress. The restaurant is very small and quaint. There are eight tables, and five of those were set up for two persons only.
The Sunday lunch menu we were given was a three course menu consisting of three options for each course. We were also given a small wine menu. Shortly before ordering, we were presented with a small snack – what we believed to be rhubarb and goat cheese on toasted bread (we didn’t quite catch the explanation). These were good, having a sweet and salty mix.
Male DINK ordered the Monkfish and Poussin, and Female DINK ordered the Sea Trout and Beef. We also ordered a half bottle of Chateau Musar from Lebanon. Shortly after ordering, we were given another small snack in the form of a small cup of soup. This was a celeriac and apple soup topped with a drizzle of chive oil. Other than being served a little too hot, this was excellent. The flavor was great, and it was just creamy enough without being too heavy.
By this time, the restaurant was filling up. The main waitress was aided by a teenage girl, and we overheard the waitress telling another table that the girl was her daughter. After doing a bit of research after our meal, we realized that the waitress and her helper are the wife and daughter of the chef – a family affair. This shone through with the service, which was personable and not stuffy. While this level of service certainly fit the atmosphere of the restaurant, we found it a bit lacking considering the status of the restaurant. For example, we would have appreciated more thorough explanations of the dishes as they arrived.
The Monkfish and the Sea Trout arrived after a decent wait. The Monkfish was served with sea lettuce, sea jelly beans, marinated celeriac, and crispy artichoke chips. The monkfish was cooked well and had a nice grilled flavor. The remaining ingredients worked well with the fish, and the marinated celeriac was delicious. This dish was really good, and I would order it again.
The Sea Trout was “home sugar cured” and served with pickled radishes/beetroot/dill as well as goat’s cheesecake and tomato chutney on the side. The trout was amazing and reminded Female DINK of a sweet sashimi – perfect preparation. The radishes and beetroot complemented the trout very well. The goat’s cheesecake, however, seemed like a random addition to the dish. In and of itself, the cheesecake had a good flavor; however, the serving size was simply too large.
After another decent wait, the main courses arrived. The Poussin consisted of two breasts and two legs – a good portion size. It was served with a delicious (yet almost unnecessary) piece of bacon, vanilla-infused plum, roasted garlic, mushrooms, and watercress greens. The poussin was cooked well and had a nice flavor on its own, and the remaining items seemed to mesh. This was a good and filling course. My only nit would be that it was a bit heavy.
The Beef was served with Guinness bolognese, chestnut choucroute, salt-baked swede, port sauce, and a very random crispy piece of lettuce on top. The beef itself had a good flavor, but Female DINK said she would have preferred a nicer cut. Also, in her opinion, the dish didn’t really seem to work – the flavors didn’t all jive. Something (maybe the swede?) was overpowering and almost sour. However, the Guinness bolognese was great.
Once finished with the mains, we were again presented with the menu to choose a dessert. Since we were full – and neither of us wanted chocolate or cheese – we settled on the “Presentation of Apple” intended for two. When the course arrived, each of the five presentations were quickly described. The best we remember is that that the presentations were (top to bottom) pound cake, ice cream with freeze-dried apple, black currant sorbet atop something, apple slices with popcorn and salted caramel sauce, and apple panna cotta. Each presentation was very good, and we enjoyed them all.
Overall, the food was good, with a few standout flavors – being the celeriac and apple soup and the sea trout. Since these favorites were both at the beginning of the meal, we felt as if the main courses were a bit of a let down and not quite at the same level. We enjoyed the not-so-formal atmosphere and comfortable, small restaurant as a nice change of pace from the usual formal settings of Michelin-starred restaurants. We also felt that 5 North Street was a great value for the money, especially at lunch time. If you’re in the area, we recommend giving it a try!
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