By Pub Spy

EACH month, the SNJ’s Pub Spy visits a local eaterie to give his verdict. This time, he gives his verdict on The Old Fleece.

My last trip to the Badger in Eastington was going to be a hard one to beat. But the Old Fleece certainly gave it a run for its money.

Situated halfway between Stroud and Nailsworth in Rooksmoor Hill, the 250-year-old former coaching inn sits just off Bath Road, near North Woodchester.

The impressive building really stands out and you can’t appreciate the architecture as you stand outside. The car park isn’t huge but luckily we got the last space available.

Inside the atmosphere is relaxed and the restaurant is nicely laid out and decorated with long wooden tables. It has a homely and rustic feeling, spiced up with a touch of class.

Despite visiting with a group of friends on a cold Wednesday evening the restaurant was almost full when we arrived.

Before we sat down I ordered a pint of Doom Bar (£3.50), one of my favourite bitters. The long, elegant bar is carved from wood, and is well stocked with an interesting selection of different drinks.

The menu is probably the largest I’ve seen yet. It’s extensive and really takes a few minutes of concentration to scan the whole thing.

The range of dishes is excellent, with a good array of interesting options for vegetarians. The sharing platters to start look amazing and the burger menu alone is tempting.

There is a nice range of classical pub meals for mains, mixed in with some of the chef’s more interesting and creative dishes.

This menu caters to vast variety of tastes. I think you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it.

Stroud News and Journal:

With all this to choose from I took a long time to decide on my starters. But in the end I shared a Cajun dusted calamari, served with chef’s chilli jam and a side salad (£6.75) and smoked haddock fritters, tartar sauce and mixed leaves (£6.95).

Both were delicious, made even better by the sauces that went with them. The chef’s homemade chilli jam was amazing, as was the tartare sauce.

The dishes were well presented on wooden boards and came reasonably quickly despite the busy kitchen.

What let them down though was the portion size. Delicious as they were, three small pieces of haddock for almost £7 was disappointing. The calamari wasn’t quite so bad, but there still could have been a few more rings on the plate.

After much deliberation on my main, I finally chose prawn linguini with spinach, red onions and chorizo (12.95).

Stroud News and Journal:

For a head chef apparently renowned for his fish dishes, this certainly didn’t disappoint.

Unlike the starters this was a good sized plate, very well presented and full of great flavours. The balance of prawn and chorizo was just right so that neither overwhelmed the other, and were really complemented by the spinach and onion.

All our meals came at the same time after around 45 minutes, which for a table of 11 in a busy restaurant was pretty good going.

Between mouthfuls of my own meal I also got a chance to try a piece of Newent free range chicken and leek pie, which was rich and creamy and encased within perfectly cooked pastry.

Others on the table went for the Cajun chicken burgers, served with chorizo, cheddar cheese, guacamole and chips (12.50). These looked excellent when they arrived and got an immediate seal of approval.

By the end of the main each and every plate was empty. Overall the portions sizes were just about right and the presentation on every dish was simple yet striking.

After a little persuasion I decided to share a Raspberry Cheesecake (£6.25). There was little idea of what to expect from this short description, but it turned out to be the best decision of the night.

Stroud News and Journal:

It was definitely one of the nicest cheesecakes I’ve ever eaten.

The taste was amazingly rich and it had a perfectly thin layer of biscuit, drizzled with a fruity raspberry coulee. And the texture was unlike any I’d tried before, is was so thick and creamy.

This finished off the entire meal beautifully. Overall then my experience followed a clear upwards trajectory. The starter was okay, the main was great and the desert was sublime.

You may well have to fork out a little extra cash that at some other pubs in Stroud, but you definitely get your money’s worth. Great meals, helpful staff and relaxed and elegant and relaxed atmosphere.

I definitely suggest a visit at some point if you haven’t been already.


Atmosphere: 8/10

Decor: 7/10

Staff: 8/10

Drink: 7/10

Food: 8/10

Prices: 6/10

Overall: 8/10 


To book a table call 01453 872582 or visit the-old-fleece