Mickleton is in the upper reaches of the Cotswolds, in fact the most northerly village in Gloucestershire. As one progresses north through the villages of Weston and Aston Subedge and Honeybourne, the clue is in those names that the hills are getting lower and black-and-white timbered buildings more plentiful
The delightful Three Ways House Hotel, built in 1870, is privately owned by Simon and Gill Coombe. It has been run as a hotel and restaurant for nearly a hundred years and sits, as the name suggests on a crossroads, in the centre of this mostly honey-coloured stone housed village Between Broadway and. Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Three Ways House has a ‘U.S.P, in marketing terms (I used to rather quaintly think that ‘USP’ was unusual, special and perfect). Well I suppose this is true, but why we have to use such jargon, I don’t know... the ‘unique selling point’ here at The Three Ways House Hotel is the home of the internationally-known (and furiously-defended-from-imitation), phenomenon that is ’The Pudding club’.
Very traditional English, yes puddings, such as Plum Duff, Suet Roly Poly and Sussex Pond pudding are celebrated and revered here.
These recipes which grew in probably quite humble circumstances became the stuff of dreams and memories carried abroad by those indomitable people who helped run an empire on which the sun never set. They represented a little piece of home and, as Empire builders retired or came home were served in the small hotels of Cheltenham and Tunbridge Wells - and also London gentlemen’s clubs, always sticklers for tradition. Puddings are a tiny sweet piece of the past: Well done Three Ways for keeping up this traditional fare.
Many, many times a year (open) meetings of the club witness Spotted Dick orgies accompanied by dark chocolate mousses with masses of sticky toffee. Some of these much loved puds are available every day for passing travellers,
Enough preamble, on with the dinner.
The dining room at Three Ways is very pretty. From a sensibly short set dinner with nightly specials we chose a prawn and salmon mousse with a delicious micro salad and I had a perfectly cooked pigeon, beetroot and walnut salad. All very healthy... we ate cautiously because of the puds to come.
Calves’ liver was perfect on a bed of sweet potatoes and my cod was cooked to a ‘t’, with a tomato crumb and creamy lentil sauce. The veg were a little clumpy but well buttered which always improves things
Our favourite wine this year has been New Zealand pinot noir and the Feather Drop Hills 2010 did not disappoint.
Of course we had to try the famous puddings and marvellous they were too: a golden syrup sponge, a date and sticky toffee pudding and banana and cinnamon of that ilk.
Served in a large sharing bowl with homemade vanilla ice cream and lashings of custard. These were top hole desserts: full on, but great to experience once in a while and leaving behind a fond foodie memory.
Full marks to Caroline, Alex and Sarah who looked after us so well, they also between them have put in many years at this delightful hotel
A successful and tranquil meal followed by a peaceful night in one of Three Ways’ delightful bedrooms (some of which have a puddingy theme) with a warm welcome also extended to Delphi our Jack Russell terrier. We appreciated the warm bedroom with a storm blowing outside. The hardships of this job............