The Daffodil Restaurant in Former Deco Cinema
The Longer Read The Daffodil – Awaiting Review
First of all, a quick history of The Daffodil. This Cheltenham restaurant is on the site of a 1920s cinema called The Daffodil Picture House. At the time, it must have been quite something, with its 750 seats. Romantic double seats at the end of each aisle were available, called ‘kissing’ seats.
Local professional flamboyant Laurence Llewellyn Bowen designed for a refurbishment in 2008. The restaurant then opened as The Daffodil. In fact, it closed again a few years ago after a spot of financial bother, but the Daffodil is now very much open again.
The Daffodil – Cheltenham’s most exciting restaurant?
Cheltenham is a town with a lot of restaurants, many of which are tucked into semi basements (East India Cafe, Petit Coco) or with rather anonymous exteriors (Le Champignon Sauvage, Lumiere). The Daffodil is surely amongst the most exciting Cheltenham dining room to walk into. Chef and team work where the screen would have been and there’s a bar upstairs where the circle was. The sexy banquette tables around the edge, downstairs, are probably the best place to be.
The Daffodil is a lively, buzzy place to be – perfect, for example, for a first date. And by way of a conversation starter, it was used for scenes for one of the BBC Sherlock Holmes episodes. It appeared as The Reunion restaurant.
The management work hard on marketing here. Jazz performances (which fit the building’s era) happen. Look out for various offers cocktail, early deals, afternoon tea and gin sessions etc – worth keeping an eye on the website.
Food at The Daffodil
And the food? Starters are mostly around the £8-9 mark for Beef Carpaccio, Bang Bang Chicken Salad or Double Gloucester Souffle. Mains might be Grilled Lamb Rump and Slow Cooked Shoulder, served with dukkah, quinoa , peas, mint, aged feta, smoked tomato and salsa verde (£19.50). Pork Belly, Crackling or Croquette with sprouting broccoli, roast carrots, spiced chickpeas and hummus (£18.95). Roast Hake Fillet with potato gnocchi, broccoli, samphire, seaweed and brown shrimp butter.
They have a Josper too. This is a device like a cross between a charcoal grill and a very, very hot oven. It was the chef’s toy of the moment a while back. High heat seals in flavour and moisture. Also, the food is given a smokey, charry flavour. At The Daffodil, you can try lobster, salmon, poussin, calves liver and steaks given the Josper treatment.
The menu is sensibly short. There’s a longish wine list. Mark ups are ‘robust’ but there are some interesting wines
We’re not scoring yet, we need to visit again and be up to date on the food. On previous visits the food has been OK, but it was the atmosphere that we remember most. Atmosphere being as important as food, as any fule know.