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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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. Website Website
©   2014, 2015
Restaurants Cheltenham previous previous

L’ARTISAN... Website Website
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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©   2014, 2015