Countryside curries

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For a pub in the heart of the English countryside which makes a virtue of local sourcing to be promoting Indian takeaways is a little unusual....

For a pub in the heart of the English countryside which makes a virtue of local sourcing to be promoting Indian takeaways is a little unusual.

However, there's no confusion at the Foxham Inn as far as licensees Neil and Sarah Cooper are concerned. Located in the village of Foxham, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, the pub serves 300 meals a week, mainly to regulars and walkers.

Neil buys whole local lambs and pigs, and locally shot game. The Coopers also grow their own produce, smoke and cure their own bacon, hams and salmon, and keep their own chickens to ensure a steady supply of free-range eggs.

Adapting the pub to the needs of the local community is the thinking behind offering a takeaway menu to the rural farming area the pub serves.

Customers can enjoy a drink while the meal is freshly prepared, with the Foxham currently serving around 20 takeaways a week, a number that is steadily increasing.

"As well as fish and chips, we offer a variety of curries to cater for all tastes," says Neil.

"At the moment we have chicken korma, chicken jalfrezi, lamb rogan josh, beef and pepper madras and a vegetarian balti, plus a roebuck balti, which creates some intrigue."

The curries are produced using sauces and frozen rice produced by Indian food specialist Tilda, combined with the fresh, locally sourced meat used across the menu. "We use the frozen rice, plus the ready-to-use sauces," says Neil. "These shortcuts allow us to produce dishes quickly without compromising on quality, which is essential as we continue to build a reputation for our food.

"Our hugely popular courgette, pea and mint risotto, served with a tempura-battered courgette flower, is also produced with a Tilda rice, proving the appeal of rice dishes on the menu."

The availability of speciality rices that can be prepared quickly and easily has allowed the Foxham to push rice as an alternative side order.

"This works well with mains such as rabbit stuffed with black pudding, roast partridge served on savoy cabbage with bacon and home-oak-smoked salmon with dill mustard mayonnaise," explains Neil.

"We are versatile on the side dishes that customers can choose with their main course.

"We suggest accompaniments, but if they wish to swap rice for chips or salad for veg we are more than happy to accommodate them."


For pubs looking to branch out into the Indian food market, whether takeaway or eat in, two readers of The Publican​ have the chance to learn from a master. Courtesy of Tilda, we have two free places at a masterclass in Indian cuisine with chef Cyrus Todiwala at Café Spice Namasté up for grabs.To enter, simply answer the question:

Which of these is a variety of Tilda rice?

A: Basmati & Wild rice

B: Basmati & Angry rice

C: Basmati & Furious rice

Email your answer to by November 3. Normal competition rules apply.

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