Saturday, 4 November 2017

Dining in Style in Teatro

Piano in the bar.
Carlo Vuolo reviews Teatro, the new restaurant at Ingleside.
Cirencester’s newest dining venue, Teatro, opened its doors fully on Saturday 21st October, following a ‘soft’ opening on Friday 6th October, with a 25% discount on the menu, the bar and restaurant had received many positive reviews from customers.

Teatro Bar and Restaurant is part of Ingleside House in Beeches Road, and has replaced the popular music venue The Vaults, which has now moved to The Golden Farm Inn. The rooms have been decorated to an exceptionally high standard and each of the four separate dining areas has its own style, from the bright and colourful Flamingo Room to the cosy and intimate Booth. The bar area is open and light, with a range of seating options. There is a lovely courtyard area outside which will surely prove very popular on summer evenings.

Jan and I had a table booked on the opening night for 7.30 but as the place was fairly quiet at that time we decided to sample a couple of the twenty-four different gins on offer in the bar. Ollie, Ollie and Callum, the three bartenders, were most helpful and, having recently endured a marathon tasting session themselves, as part of their induction, were able to recommend suitable pre-dinner libations. My Dauntless gin with elderflower cordial, fresh raspberries, a sprig of rosemary and Fevertree tonic (Cinchona tree bark contains quinine, used as a remedy for malaria – geddit?) was very refreshing and a perfect aperitif whilst Jan’s Cotswold gin tonic and a bayleaf certainly hit the spot.

We enjoyed some nibbles as we perused the menu. Lamb koftas with mint yoghurt for me (slightly too salty on their own but perfect with the yoghurt) and fried haloumi with mixed herbs for Jan, very tasty. For starters I chose the soup of the day, curried sweet potato, which was thick and smooth but perhaps not as spicy as I expected, whilst Jan’s wild mushroom arancini were delicious.

The ten main course options were fairly standard, fish, chicken lamb and beef all featured with a couple of vegetarian/vegan options, but the range of fresh ingredients and subtle twists made choosing quite testing. I was tempted by the wagyu beefburger but opted for the braised wagyu short rib ragu with hand rolled herb tagliatelle. The beef was lean and tender, the sauce rich and tagliatelle perfectly al dente. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. Jan’s artichoke tart with sautéed new potatoes and baby vegetables was good but rather a small portion and perhaps not something to choose if just having a main course, but as part of a two or three course meal would not leave one feeling overfull.

We selected a beautifully smooth Neropasso red from the Veneto region of Italy to accompany our first two courses but consulted the resident ‘gin expert’, Maitre d’ LisaMarie, to recommend something to go with our deserts. My excellent white chocolate
Chefs at work.
panna cotta was paired with Williams Chase grapefruit gin and Jan’s apple, fig and almond tarte tatin was perfectly complimented by Ophir gin with red chillies, both with Fevertree tonic, and both combinations pronounced wonderful.

My only criticisms of what was a lovely evening are 1) when you placed your knife or fork on the odd bowl-shaped plates they slid down into the food, and 2) the music from the bar was too loud from the dining area speakers, although separate volume controls in each room are due to be fitted shortly.

The music from the bar! Resident pianist, Steven Reid-Williams, who has toured with Boyzone and The Undertones as well as his own band, performs on most Friday and Saturday evenings. Outstanding both technically and vocally, it would be worth spending an evening in the bar enjoying his music even if not dining. I would pay good money to watch him in a different context.

Overall Teatro promises to be a ‘go to’ venue for lovers of fine dining, a relaxed atmosphere and an essentially classy ambience. Clearly no corners have been cut to create Cirencester’s latest and perhaps finest bar and restaurant. (Other dining experiences are available). At present Teatro is open in the evening from Thursday to Saturday, and Sunday lunchtimes. There are plans to extend this gradually, and to offer themed evenings with cuisines from around the world. For those going to see a production at the Barn Theatre, a pre-performance meal, from 5.30, would make a complete West End experience in Cirencester.

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