finds her happy place at the brand new garden bar
A good pub garden is a great thing. A great pub garden, therefore, is a truly wonderful thing. And they don’t get much better than the latest addition at The Bear of Rodburgh – The Bear Pavilion.
The Bear of Rodburgh has always been very pretty – full of Cotswolds charm and enjoying a dreamy location on Rodburgh Common – but the Pavilion has taken the outdoor space to a whole new level.
What was once a croquet lawn has been transformed into a spacious paved terrace with sofas for lounging and snacking, and proper tables for more serious eating endeavours, while the Pavilion is a now a fully stocked bar, so there’s no need to keep traipsing inside to get your drinks. When you walk from the car park onto the lawn, you’re greeted by a frankly idyllic scene of al fresco loveliness.
The Bear Pavilion is all about fun with slushies (yes,
we indulged – and we might have added a shot of rum, too!) and a popcorn machine, but there’s a menu with some seriously good food options too, because, well, fodder is no laughing matter.
The menu’s clearly been designed to cater for just about any munching needs you might have, with everything from small plates of snacks to properly big bites all present and correct.
Pork crackling with spiced apple dip is just the right side of tooth-breakingly crunchy, while antipasti skewers with black olives, feta, Parma ham and pepperdews are exactly the sort of nibble I really crave on a sunny afternoon.
There’s a section dedicated to Scotch eggs (with classic, veggie
black pudding versions), and mighty fine they are too, especially when coupled with the sharp, crunchy pickles and sweet chutney.
If you’re in the mood for sharing then there are boards for that, too. We got stuck into the fish board, which is laden with slivers of smoked salmon, crisp, golden goujons, crunchy whitebait and salty, silver anchovies, as well as – my favourite – sweet crayfish tails laced with a lush peppery mayonnaise. Yum.
A basket of scampi and chips gets delivered too – yes, it’s retro, but it’s also completely delicious, with a wonderful crunchy coating encasing succulent fishy goodness. We also cop an eyeful of the Big Bear Burger – a double stacked burger loaded with bacon, baby gem, red onion, mayo, crumbled blue cheese, gherkins, Monterey Jack, mushrooms and onion rings. There’s no doubt about it; this is a beast of a burger for big appetites only, and I promise myself that next time I visit I’ll come hungry.
I have, however, saved room for dessert, and nothing seems more fitting than that gloriously kitsch classic, a knickerbocker glory. There’s cream, there’s ice cream, there’s fruit – there’s all the good things you’d want in a summery dessert. My husband and I are sharing, though, so there’s the inevitable battles of the spoons to scoop up the choicest morsels, too.
Yep, The Bear Pavilion ticks all my boxes when it comes to al fresco feasting. And as soon as the sun decides to come out again, I’ll be back.
THE BEAR OF RODBURGH, Rodburgh Common, Stroud GL5 5DE;