Bill’s Cheltenham Cheltenham outpost of national chain.
Bill’s in One Paragraph:
The Cheltenham Bill’s restaurant is centrally located, handy for the theatre, shopper’s lunches. The atmosphere is usually buzzy and food is inexpensive and unpretentious chain restaurant fare.
The Longer Read:
Bill’s Cheltenham restaurant is well-established by now, part of a chain of 70-plus nationally.
I’ve always found the greeting at Bill’s Cheltenham to be warm, but in a sort of out-of-the-staff-manual kind of way. For example, I once counted 5 uses of the word ‘guys’ between arriving and sitting at a table. It can be a bit toe-curling; “Hi guys!”, “Are you guys looking for a table for four?”, “I’ll bring you guys some menus”, “Have you guys decided yet?” etc. In addition I’ve previously noted a bit of up-selling going. While every restaurant does this but the trick is not to make it too obvious.
On this visit, things calmed down a bit, which was good. I was even addressed as ‘Sir’ at one point (there’s posh for you). In addition service was efficient and prompt.
Bill’s Cheltenham is in Regent Street, very handy for the Everyman Theatre. Step inside to a small reception desk. There’s a bar on the left and dining room on the right plus stairs – Bill’s Cheltenham is on two floors. I prefer downstairs – it’s cosier with usually more staff. Upstairs feels a bit more like an overflow – it’s where the loos are and the views from the street side of the room aren’t that special. Probably fine when it’s full, though.
Starters cover things like Dakkochi Chicken Skewers ((£6.50) ‘Dak-kochi’ is just Korean for ‘chicken skewers’) , Prawn Cocktail (£6.50), Calamari (£6.75) or Grilled Halloumi (£5.95). Bill’s is a pretty good option for vegetarians, although it helps if they really like Halloumi – it crops up a lot. Dished are marked for lacto-ovo veggie and vegan.
Mains include Thai Green Curry, Sea Bass, Fish Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Ribs, Steak, Mussels, Salads and Burgers. Most mains are £10-15.
Mojo Marinated Chicken Skewers (£10.95) is a pleasant lunch dish for a sunny day. It came with couscous, mint and coriander, tzatziki with salad and cucumber, albeit with a pretty tasteless flatbread. Bill’s Hamburger comes with a basic salad and fries. I asked for it on the rare side, but was told it only comes medium or well-done. The burger itself wasn’t bad in terms of quality of meat and bun. Perfectly acceptable, but poorly seasoned and on the bland side. The small chip bucket arrives put on the plate, which I dislike – God knows where that’s been in the kitchen. Weirdly, after earlier experiences with up-selling, my requested addition of cheese to the burger (£1.35) didn’t happen.
Flat White (£2.80) was OK, Tea £2.30. 10% service charge added to the bill.
I wouldn’t go to Bill’s Cheltenham for fine dining, but it’s not really the point. It’s an attractive dining room, usually full and buzzy and sometimes that’s all you need. It is a dependable option in Cheltenham.