A few things in the Cheltenham restaurant cafe scene that we’ve noticed.
The Willow Tree in the High Street has closes its cafe operation. It now trades as a craft shop and venue. Not far away, O’Hara’s Coffee House opens for business in St George’s Place. Gridiron closed its doors. It’s never a pleasure to report a restaurant closure but the writing seemed to be on the wall. Meanwhile, over at The Railway, they’ve made the radical move from sausage menu to Thai ‘street food’.
In addition to everything else Five Guys Cheltenham has opened.
The November Michelin announcements causes a few ripples in Gloucestershire. Lords of the Manor and 5 North Street in Winchcombe lose their stars. In Cheltenham, The Tavern loses its ‘Bib’. For what it’s worth, we think that Purslane deserves more respect from Michelin.
There has been a remarkable sequence of new openings in the Cheltenham restaurant cafe scene. Consequently, there’s a real premium on chefs and front of house staff. We know of more than one restaurant in Cheltenham that is essentially in free fall with no head chef and ridiculous staff turnover rates. Brexit and the weak pound has already had an impact on overseas employee. The restaurant industry will be a rocky ride for those businesses that don’t look after their best people.
Giggling Squid, the Brighton Thai-based tapas (eh?) restaurant is slated for opening early next year. They have a site ready in Montpellier, not far from the new Ivy location. Opening February/March, we hear.
A few much talked about new openings are taking shape. The Ivy announces that it will open in December. Specifically it will be called ‘The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie’. The Find, a new coffee house venture in Regent Street (not far from excellent Coffee Dispensary) is at the vacancy advertising stage. So, surely opening soon, even if ‘opening in Autumn’ is as much they say at present. Furthermore an interesting aspect of The Find is that it will have office spaces bookable on the top floor.
Not a restaurant cafe, but foodies will have a keen eye on the John Lewis opening date. Local press say that it will open in 6 months time. Rumours are that it will be even longer.
Seems like busy times in Cheltenham will continue.
Best things recently
The best thing we ate recently was a brioche feuilletée from Baker and Graze, which we think is hitting great form. We have the most fun at Coconut Tree, with its great atmosphere. The top bargain in town is surely the Champignon Sauvage set lunch (they retained their two Michelin stars). Best coffee, in a competitive field, is from Scandinavian Coffee Pod. Best breakfast is from The Curious Cafe, but that goes without saying really. Our favourite cake is a brownie from the Chapel Arts centre, which is a great tip for a quiet coffee in civilised surroundings.
Remember we base all of our Cheltenham restaurant cafe comments on paying our way. Most noteworthy, we don’t take advertising. Furthermore we don’t write because of freebies. We like to hear from you with suggestions, comments or gossip – please get in touch.