Wild garlic grows in abundance in the hills around Nailsworth, and come spring you can often find chef Matthew Beardshall picking handfuls of this green, flat-leafed plant to serve at his restaurant of the same name. But it’s more than an ingredient; the name reflects Matthew’s relationship with the produce he cooks and serves with respect and imagination in his unpretentious, impeccably modern dining room.
With so many restaurants doing the “local” thing, one must do something outstanding to rise above the rest, and Wild Garlic does this by nurturing close relationships with the people and ingredients in its vicinity. It’s a throwback to old village life, where community is everything; the butcher is across the road and bread is baked fresh every morning. In this way, Wild Garlic pairs the best of the old ways with modern, imaginative techniques. And with four-star bedrooms on site too, they invite you to make a night of it.
The best way to sample all that this restaurant offers is with the five course tasting menu (you can go à la carte for a less extravagant affair). Olive oil poached sea trout provides a refreshing start, with cool cucumber pickle, crème fraîche and caviar. Scallops en croute requires delicately slicing through a pastry casing and opening the shell, but the reward is worth the effort for the luxurious scallops and tender fennel within. Other dishes are treated more simply, such as the honey-roasted old spot pork belly served with anise roasted apple and potato puree, while grilled puffball mushrooms with roast artichoke and shallots shows off Matthew’s flair for wild food and clever combinations, much like his fruit granita, made with plum, juniper berries and cinnamon and reminiscent of sloe gin.
Click on the following link to see Matthew’s recipe for
deep fried rice pudding with damson jelly.