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This Cotswolds Supporting Star Deserves its Own Moment in the Spotlight

Téatro was launched in 2017 as the supporting star of Cirencester's leading lady, The Barn Theatre - but the restaurant is a class act, which deserves its own moment in the spotlight, six years on.

The Barn Theatre was transformed from a WW2 Nissen hut into a 200-seater triumph, which attracted national treasures including Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and Helena Bonham Carter to star in its digital lockdown productions. And the success of the theatre and Téatro - despite the small trifle of a global pandemic - led them to convert the Georgian mansion next door into Ingleside House, an equally dramatic, boutique hotel. This is where we stay for the weekend, allowing us to savour Téatro's culinary numbers from morning to night. Head here for our Ingleside House review.

It’s a balmy, August evening for our first night in The Cotswolds’ capital, so we head for a relaxed dinner at The Firepit, Téatro's heated alfresco dining area. It’s a leafy warren of colourful parasols and chairs, with enormous heaters, twinkling fairy lights and cosy firepits.

I start with the silky beetroot carpaccio, topped with whipped goat’s curd and crispy walnuts. It’s light, elegantly presented and the perfect balance of sweet and savoury

My partner has a golden mountain of pan-fried scallops, which sit on top of an arty swirl of Jerusalem artichoke, topped with a tangy verjus.

It’s lucky the starters are light, because the mains are so generous, you’d deserve a picture in the local paper for finishing them.

I order the market fish of the day - a giant slab of tuna, teetering atop a Jenga pile of crispy potatoes, avocado puree and a zesty sauce vierge. Head Chef Pierre Needham sources quality, seasonal produce and that is very clear. The sweet, tangy vegetables cut through the salty, meatiness of the excellent tuna.

My husband goes for the crispy pork belly, topped with a pretty crown of crunchy rice noodles on a colourful bed of sweet potato puree, Asian slaw and rich, deep Master Stock. The belly is a sticky, crunchy and meaty delight, paired beautifully with the sweetness of the potato and the flavours of shallots, ginger, Sichuan pepper, garlic and ginger.

They are delicious and it pains us to admit defeat to the hefty hunks of meat and vegetables remaining on our plates, by the end.

Not realising how sizeable the portions would be, we also order accompaniments… but I’m glad we do, because the star of the show is their garlic and goat’s cheese courgettes, which I would happily eat as a main, from a large bucket. A rich, buttery, salty and utterly moreish dish, studded with sweet shallots.

And when they aren't dancing around the fire pit, our children enjoy some top bangers with chips and peas, followed by ice creams.

As the charismatic waiter chats to the other tables, we glean that it attracts a mixture of regulars, tourists and guests enjoying a pre-theatre supper, before watching The Barn Theatre’s musical production, Once. Many head into Teatro’s cosy piano bar for drinks with live, ivory tinkling accompaniment.

We discover this Hygge-heavy, inside space the following morning at breakfast. Each cosy room in this warren shares the same deep teal and pink colour palette, but in inventively different ways - giant pink flamingos and palm trees dance across the walls of one area, with natural stone walls, exposed bricks, gold tables and colourful parquet floors in other nooks.

There is no buffet warmer of semi-raw bacon or baked beans to be seen, instead, everything is cooked fresh to order from the breakfast menu. I have two, perfectly poached eggs on avocado and sour dough and my husband wins the morning with his healthy Shakshuka, with goats curd and baked egg balancing the North African spices.

Our children have baked apple and cinnamon porridge and - once we’ve told them the Chia seeds are “sprinkles” - they enjoy a hefty amount, which pleasingly fills them for the next few hours, as we explore the Cotswolds.

Each morning, the children choose a different, wonderland room for us to eat in. And they are so delighted by the showgirl themed “Powder Room” we make far too many toilet trips during our breakfast. This time, they both go for the golden and fluffy buttermilk waffles, piled with Nutella and caramelised bananas, which is messy and popular in equal measure. An excellent reminder not to forget wet wipes when leaving the room

We share a plate of artfully presented fruit and I have the Eggs Florentine. The Hollandaise sauce is pleasingly zesty and the rich, deep orange yolk explodes from my breakfast volcano like a sensual, M&S ad.

My husband decides to go light this morning, ordering just the homemade granola, with yoghurt and seasonal compote. Then at the last minute, he adds on the bacon sandwich. He is a firm believer in bacon being the best test of a good kitchen and these are high quality rashers, with fat which has actually been crisped, unlike the wet and floppy bacon often served at breakfasts, which looks like it has been cooked on a radiator.

Teatro shares the stylish drama of its little sister, Ingleside House and the big personality of its older sibling, The Barn Theatre, but it needn’t suffer Middle Child Syndrome, because its inventive, high quality offerings are just as appealing, and worthy of another trip back.

Téatro, 5 Beeches Rd, Cirencester GL7 1BN

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