Very often we’re asked, “What’s your favourite restaurant in Cheltenham?” And sorry to disappoint, but that’s a hard question to answer. It’s not because Cheltenham doesn’t have any great restaurants, it’s because there’s a time and a place for each one of them!
Here’s a little peek into why we make certain food choices based on our frequently faced scenarios…
As Cineworld cardholders, we pretty much face this scenario weekly (although there’s always a lull in good movies after the Oscars, so we haven’t been a lot recently).
SCENARIO – We have 30 minutes from arriving in town to the film beginning. We’re feeling ravenous as its 6pm and ask each other, “Where shall we go for noms?” There’s one place that wins unanimously for all four of us and that’s Paparritos. For nights when we have a little longer then we pull out our lucky coin and if it lands face up its Bar & Wok and tails is our new Monday night favourite The Bottle of Sauce, thanks to their insanely good half price burger deal. It’s not just the price that draws in but the burgers themselves rival the Tavern’s in a big way and in some cases exceed.
Our second scenario captures how we often feel on a Friday night. We’re going out, we know that much, but we feel a tinge of that end of the week tiredness and need a reliably good dinner experience. You have to begin the weekend on a position note, or you might as well just go to bed and wake up Monday. So a restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and without pretentiousness is the vibe we want to taste. In this case it’s a tie between Kibou, East India Cafe and Bar & Wok.
If we’re out with colleagues the flavour of the moment for a place to keep the masses happy is The Brewhouse Bar and Grill, or reliable Italian high street dependable Zizzi’s, but wherever we choose to eat with the team, it’s usually the sequel to 2-4-1 cocktails at Turtle Bay.
For scenario three we’re tackling takeaways. Between the four of us we order the majority of our takeaways from Bar & Wok and Curry Express. In recent news however, Deliveroo have answered our prayers and must be feeding their cyclists Red Bull as they now deliver out to our neighbourhood, expanding our options to Kibou, Charles Takeaway (pronounced Charlie’s if you’re not a Cheltonian) and Bhoomi.
When I asked our foodie foursome where their most frequently visited breakfast place is, one cafe stood out – Curious Café on Bath Road and with a surprising vote for Harvester in The Brewery’s all you can eat, cooked to order, English breakfast and continental buffet. It’s rare you find crumpets on a breakfast menu and you can toast them just how you like! For me they take three rounds through the toaster and 2 packets of butter each (I like to make sure all the spongy holes are filled in).
Before, during and after breakfast, most of us need a caffeinated beverage and that leads me onto where we go to get a decent coffee (and no McDonalds, it will never be you, no matter how much you try to slam independent coffee shops). A surprising little café next to Tesco rates very highly with us. It’s called The Green Coffee Machine and its opposite Cheltenham train station. Next on our list is the Coffee Dispensary on Regent Street.
And to our final scenario – Family are visiting and to keep three generations happy can be an Eton mess, but we’ve never failed with House in the Tree or Gianni’s. We’ve fondly seen House in The Tree radically ascend on Trip Advisor to 12th in Cheltenham and were relieved to discover Gianni’s has reopened to be as good as before!
Our list of frequent eats is always evolving, so I may be able to add a few more scenarios to this list as the Cotswold restaurant landscape develops, but for now, this is us on an average week!
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