The Find Regency Recency Coffee House / Cafe
The Longer Read The Find is a newish Coffee House for Cheltenham. It has an ambitious food offering, in the sense that it aims to cover everything from breakfast to supper. The Find is a major addition to the Cheltenham cafe scene and we waited to come up with scores until we’d visited a few times and things had settled down.
The business occupies a former Cheltenham town house and is on three floors.
Walk up a few stairs from (Regent) Street level. Either head straight on up, or turn right to the ground floor counter and cake bar. There are a few seats here too. First impressions here are of a clean, bright and modern cafe, but don’t neglect to explore upstairs. There’s an impressive cake cabinet by the till on the ground floor. (see pic).
Upstairs, on the first floor, there are two rooms. The front, street-facing, room (called The Withdrawing Room) is a pleasant space, tables and chairs, fireplace and feature wall. I’d choose this for a more substantial lunch, since the seating is more appropriate. For coffee and/or a snack head to the back room, called The Society Room. It has some banquette seating, armchairs and sofas. Colour scheme are those Farrow and Ball greys that are ubiquitous these days. Some mustardy and cerise (?*) sofas brighten things up in the Society Room. The sofas are wondrous, they’re sort of memory foam delights that yield gently as you sit back. Turn sharp right on entering the ‘Society Room’ to find one.
Top floor is called the Workplace, basically a few small office and meeting rooms with desk spaces and millennial writing on the wall. I mean that literally, not as a metaphor.
* We don’t know much about colour, but we know what we like.
Ordering at The Find
You can tell that a lot of thought went into The Find’s design detail and colour scheme. It’s attractive and well done. So we do we find it a bit soulless? Maybe there’s too much space. The layout does mean that you might find yourself be going up and downstairs a bit. And you wonder exactly how much space there is in the first floor kitchen, it must be Tardis-like.
You order at the counter downstairs, but The Find staff, who are a friendly lot, bring your order. So find a seat first (a logistical problem if you’re on your own and haven’t got a spare coat or something to bag a seat with). As mentioned, downstairs is nice enough, but I’d opt for the first floor.
Food and Drink at The Find
Things go a little bit TGI Fridays with the menu copy, which is exhausting. You can’t have breakfast, you have to ‘break your fast’. Lunches are ‘legend-making’, etc, etc. You get the picture. It’s a bit like being stuck with a pub bore who is incapable of asking for a pint without saying things like “Vouchsafe me a foaming ale, stout barman” all the time.
Thankfully, there are only essential adjectives in the menu item descriptions.
The Find is open for breakfast (see above) from 8am (9am weekends). They sell food all day, lunch from noon. teas and dinner. The Find is open until 8pm (9pm at weekends and until 5pm on Sunday).
Here are a few menu items to show the range:
Breakfast / Brunch. Full Breakfast is £11.95 and was rated very highly on a recent visit. Veggie version £9.95. Harissa Eggs on toast £4.95
Lunches include mains such as Ras El Hanout lamb (£15.95), Crab, Pea and Lemon Risotto (£13.95) down to a humble sausage butty for £5.95. Sandwiches are available, for example an Egg and Cress Sandwich, which had better be good at £6.45.
Puddings five or six quid. Winstones Ice Cream.
What we Found at The Find
Having visited a few times we’ve sometimes struggled to order what we wanted to. The menu was restricted during a race weekend, the water was off one time and we seem to hit a ‘let them only eat cake’ period between 4 – 6pm on another occasion.
Fish finger sandwiches seemed like a good order on a chilly Saturday. This was chunky, a bit of doorstop, but tasty and given a lift by a tartare sauce with a citrus zest. The huge cakes on offer downstairs are probably best shared, but a gluten-free Earl Grey cake was OK.
On a subsequent visit, the long winded menu had been replaced with a simpler, day-long version. We were told this was for a Cheltenham race weekend. We tried a ‘Sausage Butty’ with leek and mustard relish. Butty, to me, implies a no-nonsense white bread sandwich, but this arrived in a brioche bun. Much too rich for sausages, I’d say. I think the relish should have been served on the side and, in any event, it didn’t really do anything that some straightforward mustard couldn’t have achieved. Sausages were well-sourced though.
Some of the dishes, such as a cous cous, three beetroot and feta salad have been (IOHO) ill-conceived. Just not pleasant in theory or practice. A vegan friend loved the ‘Vegan Find’ breakfast and coincidentally, our in house vegan/vegetarian reviewer really rates the choice of cakes here. “They do vegan cakes that vegans actually want to eat” – versions of Black Forest Gateau, Maple and Pecan Brownie and Salted Caramel and Raspberry Brownie were rated highly. I think they’re from local genius makers Fair and Square, who also supply Green Coffee Machine and Scandinavian Coffee Pod.
Let Them Eat Cake
As mentioned, unless what you want is a cake, there seems to be a relatively limited choice at tea time. No scones, tea cakes etc – at least on the couple of occasions when we tried. A hot cross bun turned up on the menu once, but was everything that a hot cross bun shouldn’t be: Low fruit count. Cold. Detachable ‘cross’. Poorly spiced and not made with white flour. Update: since we wrote this scones seem to available more.
We’re not the only people to worry that The Find is maybe trying to be all things to all people – is it a cafe, a coffee house, a tea room or a restaurant? According to the 2018 SoGlos Awards, it’s the best cafe in Gloucestershire. Crikey, I’m not even sure it’s the best cafe in Regent Street.
Drink at The Find
Short sensible wine list, with a slightly high, but not outrageous, markup – Calmet & Joseph Villa Blanche Chardonnay (£23). There’s a cedary Domaine de Saissac (Cabernet from the Languedoc) at £20.95. You can keep it local with Poulton Hill Rose, a Cotswold sparkling wine £39.95. Incidentally Poulton Hill registered the Roman word ‘Bulari’ recently. It means ‘sparkling’ and the hope is that English sparkling wines will adopt it, as part of the long haul to be treated with the same respect as ‘Champagne’. Bulari Fridays anyone?
There’s a long list of esoteric spirits. Chase Potato Vodka (£3.25) and they have the new Cotswold Distillery whisky (£4.75). There are alcoholic milkshakes for the kids.
Back to the Coffee
Which brings us back to the coffee. It’s fine. Single origins were Costa Rica Azul (£2.65) and Guatemala Finca Santa Sofia (£2.75). Teas cover the range and they make a big deal of their hot chocolate. £4.50.
We want The Find to succeed, it’s a welcome addition to Cheltenham. And we hope it works with, rather than against, its outstanding near-neighbour, Coffee Dispensary. Based on a few visits, the food is getting better.
It’s a strange one, The Find. It’s all frightfully good taste, bags of money spent on it etc, but somewhere along the way, yep, we just can’t warm to it.