Thursday, 8 November 2012

Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The burger at Cowley Manor in the Costwolds comes "on toasted brioche with cheese, bacon and fries." At £12 all in, how could I possibly refuse?

Immediately after we got married in August, me and the wife ran for the hills (together, you'll be glad to know). To the gently undulating hills of the Cotswolds, to be precise, where we luxuriated in the delightful environs of Cowley Manor...

Cowley Manor is a contemporary country house hotel which sits in the glorious Cotswold countryside just a few miles away from Cheltenham, surrounded by 55 acres of parkland, woods and meadows. The gardens feature several natural springs, a series of lakes and Victorian cascades. Oh, and hammocks, beanbags and sun-loungers all over the place so you can pretty much chill out wherever you happen to be. In short, 'tis an Awesome Place.

The emphasis is on comfort and is probably the most relaxing place you could hope to stay in the British Isles. There's a spa with an outdoor and an indoor pool and a stack of brightly coloured wellies by the front door in case you want to go for a walk and don't want to muddy up your Converse.

Having only got married a couple of days before we arrived, I'd been on something of a crash diet and it had been at least two weeks since I'd consumed a burger. Well, I had to be sure I fitted into my suit on my big day! So you can imagine my joy to find a burger on Cowley Manor's bar menu. Oh happy day!

And here it is. A bacon cheeseburger with fries for twelve English pounds. Although the "toasted brioche" mentioned on the menu looks suspiciously like a "bog standard seeded burger bun" which was a little of a let down when it arrived. Why dress something up on a menu needlessly when you're not going to deliver? ANYhoo, enough of that, here's a closer look:

Yum. OK, so I hadn't had a burger for maybe even as long as three weeks in the lead up to my wedding so my objectivity, in all probability was slightly (OK totally) skewed. I could probably have eaten a Whopper and babbled endlessly about the wonder of the experience - BUT this was an undeniably tasty burger.

Dark caramelisation on the outside of the patty, juicy well seasoned beef within. BUT, that non-brioche bun really let the side down. It was stale, STALE, I tell you. Fuck it, there was no way I was giving up the burger after going so long without one. It still tasted great and this was in part due to the dressing on the salad, which sported the subtle but unmistakable flavour of tarragon. Normally I'd prefer a crisper lettuce in my burger - but this limp stuff with the dressing worked really well with the smoked bacon and the rich cheddar in the mix.  

With a fresh bun, I'd probably have given Cowley Manor's burger five out of five. It was... an emotional reunion. If you ever get the chance to go to CM - don't hesitate, it's an amazing place.


Cowley Manor
Cowley, Near Cheltenham
GL53 9NL

Tel: 01242 870 900

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