Dined here during a weekend in Cheltenham for a birthday present. The restaurant itself looks like nothing much from the outside, and you can see why some of the other reviews say it feels like dining in someone's house! Whoever do not let that put you off and definitely head through the door to the delights that await you!!
We were greeted with a friendly smile and shown to our table. We were the first ones in the restaurant, and there was no music playing, so we did find ourselves subconsciously whispering due to the quietness! However once other diners started arriving it livened up slightly, although it never felt "buzzing" (probably my only marginal criticism of the evening)
The menu had plenty to choose from and there was an excellent selection of fish and meat. Whilst we browsed the menu we were given a selection of amuse-bouche, including absolutely delicious sweet corn muffins. From those first tasters we knew we were in for a treat!
For starters I had the scallops with pigs jowl, which were absolutely delicious and came in a extremely well seasoned broth. My boyfriend had the chicken terrine which was quite a large portion for such a fine dining restaurant but too was very tasty and very well presented.
Before our mains we also were offered a variety of bread rolls and received a small bowl of salted cod mousse with red pepper and garlic. The flavours were very intense and every mouthful was different, which I very much enjoyed but my boyfriend thought the cod was slightly too fishy for him! Personal preference I suppose!
For main I had duck with parsnips and my boyfriend had the lamb. When the waitress took our order she asked if we were happy to have our meat pink, which I thought was considerate as in some places they assume that everyone is ok with that. Our mains arrived and the portions again were generous, with lots of delicious meat and fresh vegetables. The duck was so succulent and went perfectly with the fresh parsnips and parsnip purée, as well as the coffee sauce it came in (which I wasn't too sure about when I ordered it but it was delicious!) my boyfriend's lamb was very tender and all of the vegetables were cooked al dente and were so tasty.
Before dessert we were given a pre dessert, which was an elderflower and strawberry panne cotta. It was absolutely devine!! The sweetness of the strawberries went perfectly with the fragrant elderflower. My only criticism would be that the portion wasn't big enough as it was so delicious despite being full you could have eaten two!
For dessert I had the duck egg custard cream with hibiscus meringue and rhubarb, it was sensational! I am not usually a dessert fan but it was far and away my favourite course (and I thoroughly enjoyed the other two as well!) all of the individual components were delicious but put together on one spoon and it was a taste sensation! Again wonderfully presented! My boyfriend had the chocolate delice with milk ice cream that was extremely rich and decadent, but again thoroughly delicious!
We didn't fancy wine so had two G&Ts during our visit and we were very surprised at how reasonable the bill was! We have eaten at restaurants without such high acclaim or delicious food and paid a much higher price! We did look at the wine list and it was extensive and you could get a decent bottle for a very decent price!
The service was attentive without being intrusive, although our waitress didn't seem as friendly as some of the others. The staff are highly conscientious, folding your napkin over your chair when you go to the toilet, explaining details of the food patiently and answering questions with great expertise. It was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, which made the experience even more enjoyable.
The decor in the restaurant is very simple and neutral, with some interesting paintings to brighten the place up.
We had a very wonderful evening here and thoroughly enjoyed the food! I couldn't imagine coming back to Cheltenham and being able to resist a return visit! So hopefully we will go again and try and tasting menu next time!!
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