WHAT happens when you put together the green hills of the Five Valleys and the sun-kissed tastes and flavours of Spain?

The answer lies in a renovated old bank in the heart of Nailsworth. It is The Vault – a new Mediterranean fusion kitchen, wine and cocktail bar.

This exciting venture is the newest addition to the town and it has caused quite stir since it opened three months ago.Keen to see what all the fuss was about, some friends and I paid a visit to experience it for ourselves.

Located in a prime spot in the heart of Nailsworth, The Vault strikes an imposing figure as you approach.

It is housed in the town’s former HSBC bank at Waterloo House on George Street and has transformed the interior with a modern and impressive new layout.

While the restaurant dominates the first floor, downstairs features an expansive cocktail and wine bar and a more laid back seating area.

The bar area is filed with old books, antique furniture and interesting furnishings. And towards the back several armchairs and comfy sofas have been arranged under low lights.

The décor for these impressive spaces are classy but modern and the building itself boats high ceilings, long wooden beams and giant curved windows and an original spiral staircase.

Gold wallpaper and the wooden panelling are then set against a deep blue ceiling, from which shadowy lights hang down and are reflected in the various gigantic mirrors that adorn the main room.

But the undeniable centre piece of the Vault is the 360° copper bar which lies right at its heart. Here they had a good number of local craft ales and a large wine list – perfect for accompanying the tapas.

Passing through this undeniably impressive main ground floor area and up the steps to the first floor, we were seated at a window table. As we were eating Spanish tapas-style food, the group decided to order a number of plates to share amongst us.

This proved to be a good idea and allowed me to try a little bit of everything – and trust, me you’ll want to try everything.

The large menu is split into three mains sections; fish, meat and vegetable. All together there were eight different options in each of these categories, meaning a really wide selection for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

These dishes are perhaps a little bigger than the portions you’d get in Spain – and a lot more expensive. The average price for a main is around £8 (the vegetable options are much cheaper).

Undeniably though, everything on the table was of the very highest quality. Each dish had its own unique touch. You can see the head chef Nacho’s influence all over the menu. It really blends the Mediterranean tastes with some interesting British touches.

A good example of this is the Herefordshire Flamenquitos – beef rolled with cheddar and Serrano ham (£8.95). This impressively sized roll was covered in breadcrumbs and served with their special ‘Hog Chips’, which are almost crisp-like and wonderfully salted potato skins.

It is worth mentioning here the reason the chips are named this way. It’s because the Vault is owned by Caroline and Greg Saturley (pictured) – the owners of The Hog in Horsley, where Nacho honed his menu before the opening of the landlord’s new business venture.

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Next up was the aged, home-carved Iberico ham with breadsticks (£9.95), which went perfectly with the matured manchego cheese (£6.95). This was served with a delicious little pot of quince jelly.

Then came a classic - patatas bravas with ali-oli (£4.95). This was perhaps the best value for money of all the plates that came out. The bowl was filled to the brim with potatoes.

Other traditional dish on the menu included a favourite of mine, gazpacho and their own Vault Tortilla, a Spanish omelette with onions, potatoes, spinach and a fresh romesco sauce (£5.95).

While all these dishes came out whenever they were ready, we didn’t wait any more than 15 for all the food. The service was very quick and the staff were very helpful with suggestions and explanations.

Next on this conveyer belt of food was the Iberian ham croquettes which came with a tasty paprika mayo (£7.95) and then a real highlight; tiger pawns and iberico ham crumb with Guacamole (£7.95).

Without a doubt though the best thing I tried were the Scallops “Nero di Seppia”. These huge juicy molluscs were served with delicious garlic chardonnay cream, crispy chorizo and a base of purple squid ink pasta (£9.95).

These were phenomenal and one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in a while. The drawback however was that you only got three scallops – which meant a fight between the table over who claimed them.

Another issue with this dish was the price. Normally I’d say that paying so much for such a small dish would be unreasonable. But I was forced to make an exception here - they were simply delicious, and exemplary of the menu as a whole. The only thing this was missing was my favourite Spanish dish – paella.

Even after all this food, we were still hungry for more. Though small, the desert menu had a number of appetising delicacies.

In the end I chose the Eton Mess Spheres, a sphere of meringue, strawberries and dolcetti ice cream from Cirencester (£4.95). After the salty and fishy mains, this proved the perfect touch of sweetness and rounded off a thoroughly satisfying meal.

All in all The Vault was a hit, both with myself and my friends. The location, atmosphere, service and food were all excellent, and you can’t help be mesmerised by the fantastic renovation of the bank. It really adds so much to the experience.

The drawback is that The Vault it is certainly more on the expensive side, especially if you order as much as we did. But then again, as a tapas bar, part of the idea is that you can nip in and share one or two different dishes. In that case it’s could be more affordable.

The Vault certainly fills a gap in the market in the district. The only other competitor for Spanish cuisine is No 23 Bar and Bistro in Nelson Street, Stroud.

While the food is great at both, they sit at different ends of the spectrum in terms of price, atmosphere and size – giving tapas lovers more variety and choice. This is a great addition for Stroud and another successful venture for the landlords extraordinaire.

For more information visit www.thevaultnailsworth.co.uk/

Five Stars *****