We don’t often have takeaways so we haven’t missed them at all in lockdown.

But we do enjoy the occasional meal out in a restaurant or pub, which is why we decided to try dining at home Calcot style.

Like almost all hotels the length and breadth of the country the restaurants at Calcot Manor near Tetbury have been closed under Covid restrictions. But executive chef Richard Davies has come up with a way of offering diners some top class food at home. And it’s not your usual takeaway – you add the finishing touches yourself.

We had an anniversary and we didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking a meal, but we did want something special. So we ordered from the service, which is currently available three days a week. Three courses cost £25 per person and you order online by noon the day before you collect from the hotel’s Gumstool Inn entrance. The meals come neatly packaged along with the chef’s instructions for finishing and serving each dish.

We chose pork belly on a bed of lentils with tender stem broccoli, crispy duck salad, Newlyn crab to start and orange tart for dessert.

Preparation was simple. The lentils were vacuum packed so they could be put in hot water, sauces just needed gentle warming in a pan, the sourdough bread for the crab had already been charred and just needed two minutes under the grill and the pork was re-heated in the oven at 185C for 15 minutes. We had plenty of time for aperitifs.

We slightly overdid the duck under the grill, which made it a bit tough rather than crispy. But that was our fault. The crab was fresh and in a zesty mayonnaise and the little bits of mango gave it an extra flavour.

The pork belly smelled amazing as it came out of the oven and our olfactory senses weren’t wrong. It was delicious. Arranging it on the plate as instructed just added to the anticipation. The meat was juicy and tender and the lentils in their sauce gave a real richness.

I have to admit it was strange eating a restaurant quality meal without the atmosphere of a restaurant. It was fun sitting at our dining table chatting and having a drink, knowing that the bulk of the preparation and cooking had been done by professionals. The little challenge of plating up and making it look as nice as it would served straight from the restaurant kitchen added to the experience. The advantage of this style of takeaway is that you don't have to serve it straight away or have it congeal if you leave it for a while. It sits quite happily in the fridge until you're ready.

I hope the Calcot carries on with this service because I can see a market with people who’d like to have dinner parties but maybe don’t have the time or aren’t confident enough in their cooking skills to do it all themselves.

Anyway, on to the dessert, which was the perfect finish. The pastry was crisp, the filling a rich mix of chocolate and orange topped with chunks of flaked chocolate while the chocolate sauce was light and sweet.

I hope that once we’ve had our Covid jabs we can return to the restaurant. But in the meantime our Calcot-style takeaway was a real treat.

Calcot and Spa



Tel: 01666 890391

Website: www.calcot.co

Open hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Lockdown: Order online by noon the day before and pick up at requested collection time

Parking available