Review: Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn, near Cirencester

Giffords Circus: Winter Sauce

Giffords Circus: Winter Sauce - Credit: giffordscircus.com

Missing a taste of the summer season and Giffords Circus? Great news! The exceptional Ols Halas and Giffords Circus Sauce have set up home for the winter months at Baz & Fred’s newly opened Old Gore Barn, near Cirencester.  

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

The barn is a beauty, standing firmly in the landscape; a veritable cathedral to the gods of agriculture. Until very recently, though, the building was a derelict, ramshackle affair, standing unloved, waiting and hoping to be saved. Enter local foodie heroes and serial entrepreneurs Baz & Fred (yes, they of The Stump; New Inn in Coln; The Twig, Bibury; and the Pizzeria in London’s Brixton). 

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

As you drive through the dark, Cotswold lanes and turn into the Old Gore Barn’s gravel driveway, a circus-worthy glow of chain-lights guides you to the car park, and the distinctive sight of one of Giffords’ burgundy vans announces you’ve arrived at a little corner of heaven in the Gloucestershire countryside. Just follow the smell of woodsmoke to find the welcoming courtyard and what is possibly the world’s biggest firepit (made that size for cooking lambs on, Baz tells me; a family tradition that he’s brought with him from the family’s Cripps Barn, near Bibury).  

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

It really is a dining experience like no other; a 100-cover rural restaurant, with long candlelit tables bearing hearty, joyful food served on Emma Bridgewater platters and inspired by Giffords Circus. The generous, high-ceilinged spaces are bedecked in true Giffords Circus style, too, with Nell Gifford’s trademark colourful rag-bunting, beast-heads, props and banners from previous productions, and an air of conviviality that is distinctly Circus Sauce. 

‘It’s exciting to work in a different season,’ says executive chef Ols Halas, ‘as Circus Sauce is usually open during the summer months that Giffords Circus tours. The Old Gore provides us with a great venue with amazing facilities... creating a dining experience like no other!’ 

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

For last night’s launch event, we had a taste of the delicious, locally-sourced menu, including Bibury trout cooked on the fire pit; Cotswold crayfish; charred seaweed and bean-cake; fillet of Longhorn beef; fried thyme pastries with heritage winter veg and Blue Duchess; wild mushroom, celeriac and chervil dumplings; and truffle hash browns... all finished off with a mouth-watering crab apple, chocolate and pistachio meringue pudding. Heavenly. 

The icing on the cake? Sitting near to Tweedy Clown on the banqueting tables, sharing in the feast and recalling past pranks and indiscretions from his years at Giffords Circus. Of course, I can’t guarantee that on the night you visit, but I can guarantee you’ll have a magical time.  

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

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Winter Sauce launched on Friday, November 12 and will be open on selected evenings at 7pm for 7.30pm, serving a five-course set menu of local seasonal gastronomic fayre as well as three-course Sunday lunches. £55 per head for adults and £30 per head for children. Sunday lunches are served at 12.30pm and are £45 per head for adults and £25 per head for children. 

Old Gore Barn, Cotswolds, GL54 4NW, giffordscircus.com/wintersauce

For a taste of Circus Sauce in your own home, buy the Giffords Circus Cookbook written by Ols Halas and Nell Gifford.

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn, near Cirencester

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn

Winter Sauce at The Old Gore Barn - Credit: Candia McKormack