Lumiere AA Restaurant of the Year 2017
Lumiere in One Paragraph:
Ambitious cooking in a hard-to-get-a-table Cheltenham restaurant. Dinner menu £70, drinks are pricey. Our experience has been that cooking is skilful and accomplished, albeit with the odd lapse. We’re assessing against the price level and expectations, you expect to be wowed.
The Longer Read:
Lumiere Restaurant has picked up quite a few awards since it opened in 2009. That includes 3 rosettes and Restaurant of the Year 2017 from the AA.
The restaurant offers a 5-course Dinner Menu and 9 Course Tasting Menu Wednesday to Saturday evening. A 3-Course Lunch Menu and 6-Course Tasting Menu at Friday & Saturday lunchtime.
You’d be forgiven for walking straight past Lumiere’s discreet entrance, if you didn’t know it was there. Step inside and the welcome is warm and sincere. First impressions are that they know what they’re doing here. A snack of crunchy beetroot breadsticks and goats’ cheese arrives quickly, the menu is interesting and the wine list is good. There are reasonable wine mark ups and a decent selection of old and new. They avoid the cliches too. For example Lumiere sidesteps Musar (Lebanon) in favour of the vastly superior Massaya. We go for the Côte Rotie-ish Shiraz Viognier from The Lane (£36).
Food at Lumiere Restaurant
After a snack of pork and burnt apple came a flawless starter of squab pigeon. Exceptionally pink and perfect, with black pudding and fig. The sweet hit of the fig had just enough acidity to restrain the richness of the crispy leg and blood pudding. This was a great dish, but was presented without any explanation. The front of house team are clearly passionate about food, so it would have been nice for them to tell us a little more. When we did ask questions they were really knowledgeable.
The beef arrived with the powerful and heady scent of truffles, and again we were presented with a really strong dish. Alongside a potato and truffle terrine was a perfectly cooked piece of beef (onglet/hanger?), topped with chanterelles and black truffle. The trend of grating black truffles instead of slicing them is catching on. Although that means that some of the visual effect is sacrificed, the flavour is clearly superior. A good sauce was dotted with cubes of super soft tongue (I think). The last mystery on the plate was a sage green powder. It might’ve been an onion ash, but in any case didn’t add much. As part of a three course menu, we thought the dish was a little slight, even for lunch.
Pudding was a well-risen damson soufflé with an almond milk sorbet. A nice dish, but a touch too sweet and not at the same standard as the previous two courses.
Lumiere Restaurant Summary
In summary, this was a very good lunch, as indeed it should be at this price. Our bill for lunch at Lumiere Restaurant was around £150 for two. OK, we treated ourselves and had cheese, dessert wine and some exceptional petit fours. For a straightforward 3 courses each and a bottle of wine, you can expect to pay about £100. Not bad value for fine dining but, equally, not inexpensive.
The food was generally very good, but only the squab dish delivered the full, cast iron, ‘wow’ factor. And, although the service was friendly and genuine, there were a few mistakes. At this calibre and price point, we left happy, but just a fraction underwhelmed.