Restaurants Cheltenham
Do the scallops work? They do. I’d return to enjoy them as a main course.
For myself, I chose game & hazelnut terrine with apricot compote. It came in great quantity! Perhaps I could have done with two bread slices to load it onto, as it’s hard to eat on a fork alone. The hazelnuts taste good, combine with game well, and add interest to the texture, but they do destabilise the pâté. It needs a structural back-up. Perhaps one slice of bread would have sufficed if I wasn’t prone to holding back on forkful sizes during a particularly fine starter? I never want to rush it, but maybe that was self- sabotage. Load that fork, diner! I
If this is a concern for you, my game was not “too gamey”. It was delicate and reliable. There’s a good crunch to the terrine and I enjoyed the minute swirls of other flavours next to the apricot. Go in ready to be exuberant; if you plan for bird-picking, you’ll flag soon. Pace yourself.
My main course wasn’t something I’d expect in a French restaurant, although of course historically, France and Thailand have had a lot of dealings. Food travels a lot more lastingly than we tend to remember, I think. These fishcakes — the menu named them rather more fancily, but I cannot recall the term (believe me, I’ve been trying) – with vinaigrette salad, & home made sweet chilli sauce, went marvellously with pommes frites; our choice one of several potato options for the table. It’s a very simple dish to look at, but the green-orange balance reflects the see-saw between fresh and comfortable, salad and fish. It’s a very solid combination, without being aggressive, and the sweet chilli tang removes any possibility of taste complacency.
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L’ARTISAN...

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Restaurants Cheltenham next next previous previous

L’ARTISAN...

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An unexpected amuse-bouche of aubergine  caviar with duck bacon arrived. Aubergine  caviar? Yes! If you fear the fish pearls, don’t  worry. Caviar’s nothing but a name here. It’s  creamy, light, soft — if you don’t pay attention  you’ll forget to notice it. The fat on the duck  bacon didn’t register in the mouth (I was  worried it might — my reflexes are delicate  about that sort of thing); it’s not hard work, just  chewy enough, like the perfect sandwich  meat.
An unexpected amuse-   bouche of aubergine  caviar with duck  bacon arrived.  Aubergine caviar? Yes!  If you fear the fish pearls, don’t  worry. Caviar’s nothing but a name here. It’s  creamy, light, soft — if you don’t pay attention  you’ll forget to notice it. The fat on the duck  bacon didn’t register in the mouth (I was  worried it might — my reflexes are delicate  about that sort of thing); it’s not hard work, just chewy enough, like the perfect sandwich  meat.
My dining partner chose scallops for his starter. I’m only recently coming around to scallops, but these were the gavel-bang on my change of heart. We recently ate at My Great-Grandfathers (a restaurant, not a relative) in Tewkesbury where the scallops were a source of admiration and much sharing, but I’d call it a toss-up between theirs and L’Artisan’s. That pâté-ish iron tang, the perfect lychee texture. What’s around scallops on the dish is always less important than “do the scallops work”? If they do, the rest of the dish is celebration, instead of distraction.
©  glos.info   2014, 2015