We visit the new kid on the block on the sustainably-sourced restaurant scene.
Founded in 2010 by Gloucestershire-born brothers William and Calum Thompson, Eat Wild started life as a vision of bringing sustainably-sourced wild meat and game to the public.
Initially, they rolled out their produce to farmer’s markets, festivals and outdoor events (including the London 2012 Olympic Games) and then, last year they graduated from their mobile catering van to a 30-seater restaurant, located on one of Cirencester’s main thoroughfares, Castle Street.
With an unassuming frontage, it’s easy to miss Eat Wild (we walked past it three times). When you do manage to cross the threshold however, you’ll be awfully glad you did – Eat Wild is just superb.
Inside, the interior is achingly cool – indeed, this Cotswolds restaurant could hold its own in Shoreditch or Brooklyn. With lots of clever up-cycling throughout, tradition has been mashed with contemporary art and the result is English country pile meets urban speakeasy. Two rutting stags sprayed by Swindon’s Visual Drop provide an electric backdrop to the space, and taxidermy from local artist Kate Latimer is complimented by a piano transformed into a cocktail cabinet, a giant tuba and scaffolding tables.
The menus are printed on brown parcel paper and scrawled across blackboards – Eat Wild specialises in ‘dirty food’ done well. Specialities include ‘Wild Venison Burger in a Hobbs House Brioche Bun’, ‘Gloucester Old Spot Pulled Pork Roll’, and Eat Wild’s signature ‘Buttermilk Fried Cotswold Chicken’. This is fast food, with a conscious.
Alfie our charming waiter welcomed us to our table. He’s an old family friend of the Thompson brothers and explained that they all had an introduction to game at an early age and developed their love of shooting, foraging and fishing from their parents.
He suggested we start off with a cocktail – a basil and cucumber gimlet – which was made with ginger-infused gin. It was tangy, refreshing, nostalgic of long summer evenings. The perfect start to the feast which lay ahead.
I decided on the ‘Pulled Local Roe Deer Chilli’ which came with Rosemary fries. It was spicy, succulent and for want of a better word, pretty perfect. My companion ordered the ‘Wild Venison Steak’, which also came with the Rosemary fries. Not usually one for game, he quickly declared it was the best venison he had every tasted, and wolfed down the lot in record time. Sides were also inspired: the ‘Chunky Slaw’ was crunchy and creamy and the ‘Halloumi and Watercress Salad’ was peppery and delicious. Sadly, we were too full for afters, but the menu of sundaes and sticky toffee pudding looked equally mouthwatering.
Seasonal, sustainable and locally sourced, it doesn’t get much better than this. These Cotswold siblings are definitely ones to watch.
For further information or to make a reservation please contact Eat Wild, 4 Castle Street, Cirencester GL7 1QA; 01285 657399; firstname.lastname@example.org