Restaurants Cheltenham
Chicken! Provencal stuffed, corn-fed chicken. I forgot to try it (I ate one pea, which was buttery and fresh and had no flaws), but I hear it was good. It’s beautiful though, isn’t it?
I weighed up the temptation of Calvados, but decided to choose peach liqueur topped up with sparkling french wine, to drink slowly throughout. Shots at lunchtime? Perhaps not. Served in a lovely glass (see above, it’s plain, rather than showy: elegant) with beautiful chains of bubbles, the peach
This is a good thing! A taste that reaches further than the tongue is a bigger experience. Dessert was beyond us; an espresso with surprise rum ganache was all I could manage. The waitress was attentive throughout, and ready to offer alternatives whenever we were unsure about an order. I was sighing over puddings I knew I couldn’t fit, but a coffee menu reeled off was just what I needed. I’m creeping gently into the world of coffee, so all I can tell you at this point is that it was pleasing, no shocks to it, with a low bitterness. The ganache was its perfect companion, either before drinking, afterwards, or as a flavourant to a sip (close your eyes for this). Great texture — it stuck to the roof of the mouth, but slipped off gently with the heat and liquid of the coffee. Would I go back? Oh yes.
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L’ARTISAN...

made sparkling wine seem a gentler, calmer prospect for lunchtime.  It was very fine, just sharp and sweet enough in the mouth to rejuvenate my interest in eating heavily, and registering in the nasal sinuses.
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Restaurants Cheltenham previous previous

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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!
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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