Gastro pit stop between Stroud and Cirencester
Jolly Nice, a roadside eaterie-cum-butchery-cum-farm shop between Stroud and Cirencester is, indeed, jolly nice (or shall I just say goddamn amazing?). Formerly a petrol station, over the last three years this unlikely pit stop has undergone a transformation as extraordinary as Caitlyn Jenner’s. Really!
It started with a 1960s Airstream trailer that caught the eye of drivers who, stopping for a burger and/or ice cream were treated to a food experience that was as far away from a truckers’ roadside van as The Fat Duck is from a Harvester.
Word spread and soon the clientele outgrew the trailer and today the old forecourt is home to said butchery, farm shop, kitchen (still serving the famous burgers, plus many other equally delectable dishes) and ice-cream parlour (well, hatch really, but the ice cream, made from the organic milk of tenant dairy farmers Rebecca and Simon Wilson’s shorthorn herd, and the brainchild of their daughter Harriet, a teenage entrepreneur who started off doing a roaring trade at festivals in the Airstream, is definitely ‘parlour’ quality).
Space isn’t a problem as two roomy yurts, attractively furnished in the shabby chic tradition (there’s a wood burner for chilly winter days), can seat those in the know (with or without buggies and children in tow – a meadow comes into its own in warmer weather) who now flock here to shop, eat and drink in Gloucestershire’s rural alternative to Borough Market.
All the produce is as far as possible sourced from local farmers and producers. The burgers are made from that shorthorn beef, a rare breed reared at the family farm in Westonbirt, while the brioche bun is baked by The Bertinet Bakery in Bath, the cheddar is sourced from Somerset and the rapeseed mayo, spiced ketchup and caramelised onions are all handmade in the kitchen. The mudlets have proclaimed these burgers the best ever and, for veggies, the mushrooms on toast are pretty special too.
As for the ice cream, well, I’m salivating just thinking about it. Just check out some of these special-edition flavours – passionfruit curd and torched marshmallow, rhubarb and custard, peanut butter and milk chocolate, sloe gin and tonic, absinthe – it’s like a party full of all your favourite friends!
And, *ahem*, I couldn’t help but notice the serving staff are rather delicious too…
Jolly Nice, The Old White Horse Filling Station, Frampton Mansell, Stroud GL6 8HZ. Tel: 01285 760868. harrietsjollynice.co.uk