Come July 2 and you can enjoy dinner and lunch with a view at new outdoor pop up restaurant and bar Pit Kitchen on the Cornwell Estate outside Chipping Norton.
Two brothers Adam and James Thomas are setting up their new Middle-East inspired street food business there over the summer and are hugely excited about their new venture.
“We want to create something fun, a bit edgy, to bring East London to the Cotswolds and to create a more casual dining scene there,” Adam explains, “plus it’s a hell of a spot.”
So what kind of food can we expect? “Seasonal sharing plates, lots of charring and BBQing, and a Middle-Eastern style menu all sourced as locally as possible and cooked on an open fire pit, as a takeaway or eat-in service..”
“Where we live in Dalston you can’t move for Turkish restaurants and until we moved there we didn’t realise how good Middle-Eastern food could be. I thought kebabs were something you had at 3am slightly worse for wear, but there’s so much involved when you do them properly. Plus we do lots of brining, marinading and make all our sauces from scratch, so this is a modern take on traditional Turkish street food,” Adam explains.
The brothers have drafted in the help of their friend and consultant chef, George Uren of River Cottage, Axminster and The Pony & Trap at Chew Magna to construct the menus.
Think shawarmas, koftas and kebabs at night as well as some top notch vegan and vegetarian food from pit roasted cauliflowers to sweetcorn with a spiced butter. By day you can enjoy salads, sandwiches, soups, cakes and snacks.
Local produce includes meat from Todenham Manor Farm, bread by Marks Cotswold Bakery, dairy from Ampersand, Cacklebean Egg Company eggs, Small Beer Brew Co, Gipsy Hill Brewery and coffee from Adam & Oliver Coffee Roasters of Chipping Norton.
The privately owned Cornwell Estate lies off the A44 between Chipping Norton and Stow-On-The-Wold, and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It spans 2000 acres and includes two wetland areas, lakes, spring-fed streams and woodland, and is home to Roe deer, badgers, foxes, otters, geese and a family of swans!
At the centre of the estate is the small hamlet of Cornwell, mentioned in the Domesday Book, (11th century ), plus a small church which dates back to the Norman era.
“It’s a really beautiful spot,” James adds, “and to start with we will set up at the top of a hill where you can see the countryside for miles around. We will move locations while we are there because there are so many beautiful spots on the estate for people to enjoy.”
So how did Pit Kitchen come about? “We have always loved street food and cooking but when we went to Cornwall and visited The Hidden Hut, an outdoor restaurant on the beach, we fell in love with it, and that’s when we decided to make our dream a reality,” Adam says.
James has been working in the hospitality industry for years, while Adam is a real foodie obsessive, so together they make a great team.
But why the Cotswolds? “London, where we live is saturated already, so we began looking further afield, and came across the Cotswolds.
“We did a lot of research and found the Cornwell Estate, so we wrote to them and asked if we could set up the Pit Kitchen there and they were really up for it,” James tells me.
Refurbishing a shipping container to use as their kitchen and base, guests will be seated on long tressle tables, which will be sheltered if the weather isn’t favourable.
“We want to make it family friendly, dog friendly, a real wear your wellies kind of place,” Adam says. “You order your food and drinks through the hatch and then sit and eat it while you enjoy the views. What could be better than that?”
So are they excited? “We’ve been planning this for five years now and in a way lockdown has changed lots of people’s perceptions about how and where to eat. It just seemed like the right time. So while it’s a big step we are really excited. This is literally our dream business and are pretty confident that this is going to be our summer.”
Opening times: Pit Kitchen is open from Friday July 2 until late October, on Fridays 12pm – 10pm and Saturdays 9am – 10pm for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and on Sundays from 9am – 6pm for breakfast, brunch and lunch, with further days to be confirmed. No bookings.