Another great new article from thebestof Cheltenham's Local and Vocal Magazine...
English Soul Food
Landlord Paul Cadby’s approach to pub food is simple: Use good quality local produce and don’t mess about with it. Local & Vocal visits The Farmers pub in Bishops Cleeve to hear more about his winning ways.
At one time or another we’ve all had our expectations dashed when on the lookout for great pub grub. A charming old building catches your eye and you stoop to enter the door of Ye Olde Worlde Inne expectant of some good country cooking. The menu talks a good game but anticipation succumbs to disappointment as a plate of microwaved stodge pie arrives smothered in oven chips; or a piece of flat breaded fish that seems unsure at sharing a platter with a dollop of instant ‘potato’, seventeen frozen peas and a tartare sauce sachet.
Not so in the kitchen of The Farmers pub, where Chef Andy and hands-on landlord Paul are creating proper pub grub. Here everything is made from scratch on the premises using good quality local produce; sauces are freshly prepared, pies are home baked, and ‘frozen’ is a word reserved for Margaritas and ice cubes.
The menu mixes English and European dishes and has a strong sense of identity. They keep things simple and do what they do well, demonstrating a confidence to venture outside of people’s comfort zone, but with an awareness that customers want to stay within the bounds of the familiar. The Farmers is not trying to be all things to all people so world foods like Indian and are missing from the menu, displaced by things like Game Pie and British Sirloin steak. Good classic food with a modern twist.
As Paul and family mark the anniversary of their first year at the helm they have already built a reputation for good food at reasonable prices. Quality and consistency are central to the success of the venture. The additional cost of quality ingredients has its compensation in a good eating. Keeping it simple and doing it well means the message will be received by people who appreciate the value in paying that bit extra for decent food.
Despite the absence of price deals, 2-for-1 offers, buffets and gimmicks, The Farmers has reached a plateau where customers either book ahead or risk getting turned away. The focus on consistent food quality means that every visit is rewarded with the same great dining experience which keeps people coming back for more.
Paul isn’t interested in owning a chain of pubs, and dismisses the prospect of The Farmers becoming a Gastro pub, his sights are set on making it the type of place where he would go to eat.