Food 9 / 10
Drink 6 /10
Atmos 9 / 10
Curious Cafe Review Written With a Heavy Heart
The Longer Read
OK (sighs) time to review Cheltenham’s Curious Cafe.
Why the reluctance? Well, it’s a bit of a favourite and it’s hard enough to get a table sometimes. So the last thing we want is you, dear reader, trying to get in too.
By more or less common consent, Curious Cafe offers one of the best all-day breakfasts in Cheltenham, but that’s not the entire point. The staff are great – smiley, but no-nonsense – they’re witty and switched on. The kitchen clearly has its shizzle together (see below). The place is clean. Dammit, they even use my favourite marmalade.
To cover the basics, the cafe is on Bath Road (so if the Curious Cafe is full there’s plenty of choice nearby, not least Brew and Bake). Like moths, passing hipsters might be drawn in by the Edison lightbulbs in the front room – but ha! There’s no WiFi here, which leads to a satisfying shortage of students and business-heads clogging up tables with their laptops whilst they start things up. From the front room you go through to a second room and beyond there’s a garden, which fills first on warm days. Inside it’s a great layout, a mix of tables for two and long tables for bigger parties.
Menus are admirably short, focusing on breakfasty things, plus jacket potatoes, sandwiches and ‘warm curious wraps’ (curious warm wraps?). There are cakes. Pot of tea (Â£1.40), Flat white £2 or £2.80 (massive, but not good (see below)).
Let’s talk about breakfast at Curious Cafe
Trad breakfasts at Curious Cafe break down into the Blacksmith ((£11) bigger, includes black pudding/hash browns) and the Apprentice (£6.80) – bacon, mushroom, fried egg, sausage, beans, tomato and toast. There’s a steak breakfast for £10.65 and you can order breakfast sandwiches, omelettes, French toast etc. On our visit (Apprentice) breakfast was about as good as it gets; good ingredients (no slushy mushrooms or knackered tomatoes) presented at the same level of being ready, at the same time in the same place. That’s the skill of a good breakfast. Ingredients were good, the sausage (acid test of a cafe) tasty, no telltale white tidemarks to indicate cheap watery bacon.
Any niggles? Well, based on recent experience, the coffee is pretty awful. Tea is fine stick to that. Marmalade is 50p extra, but, then again, it’s Tiptree ‘Old Times’ and it came with a special long spoon.
Don’t get caught out by references to all day breakfasts – do note that the cafe closes at 2.30pm (2pm on Sunday).
Curious Cafe currently stands at #1 in our list of favourite breakfasts in Cheltenham. But you wouldn’t like it, honest.