If you have visited the Kampai Cocktail Bar on the first floor at Koj Cheltenham, you may have tried a beer than has just been awarded a 1-star Great Taste Award.
Brewed locally at Hillside Brewery, Bandana Monkey Beer was described as a "quaffable drink that delivers fantastic flavours" by judges of the coveted awards.
Andrew "Koj" Kojima said "The Awards are not for restaurant dishes, but we put a lot of thought into which drinks complement our food well and we knew from the sales and feedback that Bandana Monkey is a beer that can rival long established Japanese brands. Bandana Monkey is a lager that will tempt even the most ‘dyed in the wool’ ale drinkers, but with this award under our belt, it should be an even easier sell and its success has persuaded us to introduce a new brand of ruby ale which will soon be available to accompany our heartier autumn menu.”
Check out Kampai Cocktail Bar HERE and go and enjoy a great selection of Japanese beers, whisky, sake and sochu.
On Wednesday 1st August, The Wild Beer Co at Jessops House are hosting a 100% sustainable seafood feast with Kingfisher as they internationally start looking at the importance of eating well and looking after one of the eco-systems that has been seriously taken for granted over the years!
Tickets include entree drink and oysters followed by a tapas dinner hosted by their friends at Kingfisher who will also provide a talk on the importance of provenance and sustainability. Tickets also include an automatic name in the hat to be in with a chance to win a sea fishing trip to see first hand how it's all done!
Tickets are now available and we have limited availability so if your appetite has been whetted, get in touch with their reservations team to reserve your ticket!
WEDNESDAY 1ST AUGUST
With just 10 days to go before the Cheltenham Festival begins, the racecourse is covered in a blanket of snow with some drifts sitting deep up against the hurdles and fences.
These images were shared on twitter earlier today by @itvracing.
The ground team have been out doing a great job removing the snow. Here's hoping for a quick thaw and some dry weather!
The line-up for this year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival has been announced and it includes some star names from all corners of the globe.
The festival runs between 2nd - 7th May 2018 and will see Van Morrison, Imelda May, Kamasi Washington, Courtney Pine and Omar, Corinne Bailey Rae, Rick Astley + many more acts embark on Montpellier Gardens over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Tickets for Cheltenham Jazz Festival go on sale to Members on Wednesday 28 February, from 1pm; Public booking opens on Wednesday 7 March, from 1pm.
We all know the real way to someone's heart is through their stomach and award-winning Cheltenham fish and chip shop Simpsons, has created the perfect Valentine's Day bouquet.
The world's first fish and chip bouquet consists of a dozen potato roses leaf-shaped fish goujons all wrapped in traditional newspaper.
This is available for one day only on February 14th (Valentine's Day) and is a snip at £15.
Wychwood Festival, which returns to Cheltenham Racecourse from the 1st to the 3rd of June, has announced it's headliners for 2018 including Shed Seven, The Beat, Feeder and Baxter Dury.
This will be the 14th year of the hugely popular festival which been nominated as 'Best Family Festival' each year at the UK Festival awards.
Tickets are on sale now - wychwoodfestival.com
For a month or so now it seems that all anyone has spoken about in Cheltenham is The Ivy Montpelier Brasserie and with good reason too. The interior, which you would have probably already drooled over if you have been following The Ivy's progress is ultra impressive and the menus that serve food from 8am to a refreshing 11.30pm in the week and 12.30am on a Saturday make this a fitting place to kick off our reviews for 2018.
After a slow journey in fog we arrived in time for our table but sadly not in time for our planned drink at the splendid circular bar that occupies the middle of the main restaurant. We were pleasantly greeted on entering, offloaded our jackets to the cloakroom and were shown to a small table for two on the inner circle. The way the restaurant is designed means there is no bad tables and it doesn't actually matter where you sit.
Being the hottest place in town, it was unsurprisingly full and buzzing with a inviting vibe. The interior most definitely helps as the beautiful domed ceiling and the horse and jockey covered walls are great conversation topics.
Starters arrived after a couple of glasses of fizz. Atlantic Sea Scallops, Truffle risoni, shaved Parmesan, black truffle and sweet potato crisps was one of the most splendid dishes I have tasted for a long time while the wonderfully fresh Crispy Duck Salad, with five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, coriander and ginger was packed with many flavours.
Just feet away from us the barman was creating some awesome looking cocktails on his circular stage as our main courses arrived. Mustard and herb crust shoulder of lamb and The Ivy Burger, the latter ordered more out of curiosity as we both wanted to know what a "Potato Bun" tasted like. To me it was just like a brioche bun yet perhaps a little fluffier, to her it was the best bun she had ever had. The lamb was tender and sat on a hill of creamy mash. The rosemary sauce (known to many as gravy) appeared in its own miniature saucepan loaded with carrots and parsnips and a teaspoon for decanting which was a nice touch as well as being a hazard to anyone with an unsteady hand. From the first bite (I had two bites) you could tell the meat in the burger was quality. It was served medium (we were offered well done too but surely nobody opts for that?) with a side of fries, a Bloody Mary ketchup and a complimentary stack of salad that never got disturbed.
Did we need a pudding? Of course we didn't but ordered the Chocolate bombe. It was sweet, like magically sweet with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre that soon caved in from heat of the lava-esque salted caramel sauce which is sure to become one of the most boomeranged Instagram videos in Cheltenham. We managed to clear the plate and then somehow devoured a salted caramel espresso martini straight after.
I loved the Ivy but my only slight worry is that people will forget that its a brasserie and will pick holes because of the logo above the door and the stamp on the plates. In reality it is the finest looking, and busiest restaurant in town serving decent food at extremely reasonable prices and offers a very good dining experience which is more than can be said for many of the places that have rested on their laurels for a few years. Of course it's early days and yes it's the zeitgeist, but one thing is for sure, The Ivy has given Cheltenham a kick up the backside it never knew it needed.
Atlantic sea scallops 11.95
Crispy duck salad 7.95
Slow-roasted lamb shoulder 16.95
The Ivy hamburger 14.25
Chocolate bombe 8.50
The highly anticipated Ivy Montpellier has officially opened its doors in Cheltenham.
Situated in the stunning Grade 1 listed Rotunda building, the restaurant offers a sophisticated and friendly all-day dining experience including breakfast, an fantastic à la carte menu, afternoon tea, a weekday set menu option and a dedicated weekend brunch menu.
You can also enjoy a pre-dinner drink and a wonderful cocktail at the beautiful circular bar that sits below the spectacular domed ceiling.
You can find out all menu information below.
MONDAY - FRIDAY 8AM - 11.30AM
SATURDAY 8AM - 11AM
SUNDAY & BANK HOLIDAYS 9AM - 11AM
A LA CARTE
MONDAY - FRIDAY 11.30AM - CLOSE
SATURDAY, SUNDAY & BANK HOLIDAYS 4PM - CLOSE
SATURDAY & SUNDAY 11AM - 4PM
MONDAY - SUNDAY 3PM - 5PM
MONDAY - FRIDAY 11.30AM - 6.30PM
TWO COURSES £16.50 THREE COURSES £21
It seems like I'm reviewing The Tavern all the time, which is true to a point because for the last couple of years it has been searching for the identity that it has seemed to have lost in the last year or so. I'm happy to say, I think it has found it again.
It's a year since The Tavern reopened after a fire heavily damaged the pub in May 2016. It was to be the perfect opportunity to rebrand and reinvent both the interior and the menu, and for a time there was a real buzz. The classic dishes of the past were replaced by many different burgers, chicken wings, sides and fries. It worked for a time and was the first diner-like restaurant in the town. The burgers were awesome (especially "The Hog" and "Chili Cheese") as was the chili fries and mac 'n'cheese. But that was it. They were serving food until midnight to try and capture some late night visitors. Again, this worked for a while.
Fast-forward a year and we have a brand new menu, one which comes with high expectations with former Soho Farmhouse's Ronnie Bonetti who is now the Lucky Onion's Executive Chef and The Tavern's Head Chef James de Jong.
Gone, are most of the burgers, some of the sides and all of the shakes. You could tell that their days were numbered when a new "undercounter" menu was introduced a couple of months ago. From that we were treated to the devine lamb, roast garlic and mint meatballs (£8) (pictured above) which have found a spot on the seafood-heavy list of starters which includes scallops, clams, tiger prawns (£9.50) (pictured), salt 'n' pepper squid and half a pint of prawns (ask your parents). Two vegetarian salads and a bavette tartare complete the line-up.
The size of the menu is impressive. There are four steak options including the 32oz Tomahawk, all served with fries and all from West Country cattle and dry aged for a minimum of 30 days. I went for the slow cooked Hereford beef blade off the mains which was beautifully tender and served with the smoothest celeriac puree, carrots and topped with more carrots that sat in vinaigrette and served cold with a delightful kick.
There are seven other main options with lamb rump, monkfish tail, Old Spot pork Milanese, Loch Duart Salmon, Ricotta dumplings and spatchcock poussin all featuring as well as the aforementioned "tavern classics" of burgers, wings, a caesar salad and sides.
If you had to ask your parents about the half pint of prawns then call them back over to talk you through the pudding menu which screams retro with its truly spectacular Banana Split (£6) (pictured), Sticky toffee ice cream sandwich, Caramel Burnt Cream, Tonka bean panna cotta and a decent selection of ice creams.
The service was very good and there is a bartender eager to create cocktails from the menu and any others that are not on there which is never a bad thing.
The Tavern has found it's mojo again mixing the best of the old and new and creating an outstanding menu while putting itself well and truly back on the ever-growing, and ever-improving, Cheltenham food map.
5 Royal Well Place, Cheltenham, GL50 3DN
The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie in Cheltenham will officially open its doors on Wednesday 13th December 2017.
Bookings for the restaurant will go live to the general public at at 10am tomorrow morning (Thursday 16th November 2017) but readers of The Cotswolds Gentleman can secure their spot now by clicking HERE!
This Friday (8th September), The Tavern in Cheltenham is bringing their highly popular "under counter" menu, "over counter" and have created an incredible new menu which includes some amazing new dishes as well as keeping some Tavern Classics on there with the Tavern Burger, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger, Mac 'n' Cheese and Chicken Wings all still available.
There are actually too many new additions to mention.
There are nine starters.. yes nine, including salt ‘n’ pepper squid, the amazing spicy pork & fennel meatballs, Raw chopped hanger steak, radishes & Wiltshire trufﬂes and 1/2 pint of prawns.
There are eight new main courses which include whole brown crab, Loch Duart Salmon, Wiltshire Lamb Chops and Westcombe ricotta malfatti (v) plus four choices of char-grilled steak all from west Country rare breed cattle and dry aged for a minimum of 30 days.
If you loved the great sides from the old menu then fear not as you can still order the Tavern Slaw, Chilli Cheese and Sweet Potato Fries!
For those with a sweeter tooth, the pudding selection is immense. Choose from Peanut butter & chocolate tart, Banana split, Caramel burnt cream, Lemon & cherry posset and Cheese & crackers.
The Tavern started with a simple mission…to deliver delicious food at reasonable prices and their mission remains the same!
Like it or loathe it, TripAdvisor is a platform used by millions of people everyday who want a second opinion on whether a hotel, restaurant or place of interest is actually worth visiting. The thing is, anyone can set up an account and they can more or less say whatever they like. The trouble is, this can damage a businesses reputation and each review could actually just be made up!
I have never written a review on TripAdvisor. I have used it to look for that second opinion that I was on about but gave up as the reviews are so mixed that you come out more confused than when you went in.
Yesterday, former Masterchef finalist and new Cheltenham restauranteur Andrew "Koj" Kojima received a bad review. The person complaining mentioned "Bland Food and Drink", "Lots of tables next to each other" and, my favourite, "Odd flavoured cocktails". For the interest of balance this may all have been true. Koj may have had an off night and the staff may have not been on the ball fully. You have better nights than others, it happens. But this review is virtually opposite to what everyone else has said about Koj on TripAdvisor. Reluctantly Koj replied and was very graceful with it. Other restaurant owners may not have been so civil. But that doesn't take away from the fact that that review will be there forever. People will read through 50 good ones and get to this one and will have second thoughts. The person who complained about Koj also gave Pitville Park a bad review last year for being “NOISY AND FULL OF CHILDREN”......... wait for it.......... in the summer! Those pesky children enjoying themselves, whatever next?
So why should we take their opinion seriously? We shouldn't of course. But in six paragraphs this person has tried to damage the reputation of one of Cheltenham's newest dining venues. Who says that he wasn't in a negative mood going into the meal. As Koj points out in his reply "a restaurant experience is subjective" and can be "dependent on your own mood or frame of mind on a particular day".
So think twice before you post a negative review on TripAdvisor and perhaps just speak to a member of staff before taking to the internet and hiding behind a username.
You can read the review and Koj's response here - KOJ TRIPADVISOR and the amusing review from the same TripAdvisor user about Pitville Park below!
Today is a good day for anyone living in Cheltenham. The Tavern in Royal Well is now live on Deliveroo. This means you can get all of their delicious burgers, wings, fries and shakes delivered to your door!
Click TAVERN ON DELIVEROO to see the full menu and please eat responsibly!
Are you coming to the Cheltenham Festival and struggling on what to wear? Whatever you do, leave your shiny suit in the wardrobe and let me help you..
There is NO dress-code at Cheltenham although smart is recommended and you won't get turned away if you do choose to rock up in jeans, trainers and a hoody.. You will however look a bit of a dick.
It is very rare that you see anyone dressed like this at Cheltenham, but what isn't rare, are the amount of shiny suits! Why would you wear one of these? Or own one for that matter? Are you going to work? Or perhaps even court? No. You are coming to the Cotswolds countryside to enjoy the Sport of Kings. Can you imagine royalty of past and present donning a shiny suit at Cheltenham? No, neither can I!
Now let's get something straight.. This isn't about snobbery, class, money or even fitting in. This is purely about style.
We are not saying that you shouldn't wear a suit. Look how dapper Eddie Redmayne looks when attending the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in a grey tweed suit, navy coat and brown shoes. It ticks many boxes. Smart. Stylish. Country and simple.
Are you one of these people who are "frightened" of tweed? I know some of you who mock people who wear tweed. "You look like the Toad of Toad Hall".. Well it is much better than looking like you are just about to go up in from of a magistrate.
You don't have to go "full tweed". A nice jacket, shirt (and jumper depending on the elements), with some nice chinos and brown shoes is a great look and one that I will be wearing on one of the days.
Again, this isn't about money ad you can pick up a decent tweed jacket for around £60 if you shop around but why not treat yourself to one that you can wear for years to come?
Obviously the weather has a part to play in what you choose to wear although, with all the money spent at Cheltenham Rcecourse in the last 5 years, you have an abundance of places to shelter from the elements. If it does happen to rain, buy yourself a tweed coat or waxed jacket, a nice umbrella or perhaps even a trilby.. We would probably avoid wearing anything on the head unless it was a trilby or a nice tweed cap. The shopping is superb at The Festival and is well worth a visit.
I've scoured pinterest for some pointers.. Stick to greens, browns and blues. If you want to add some colour this should be with the jumper or perhaps some lighter colour trousers.
The Cheltenham Festival is just weeks away bring the world's best jump jockeys and horses to the Cotswolds.
The Kings Head, Cirencester have announced their 2017 Cheltenham Festival Preview in aid of The Injured Jockey's Fund will be on Friday 10th March.
You can hear the thoughts and opinions of 2015 Gold Cup Winning Jockey Nico de Boinville, Luke Tarr from Star Sports, Gold Cup winning jockey Sam Thomas, Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon. The evening will hosted by sports commentator Tom Clarkson and curated by Camilla Henderson with Ben Hastie, Deputy Head of Groundstaff at Cheltenham Racecourse giving an exclusive update on the ground conditions.
Tickets are £15 and include drinks and canapés at The Kings Head, and discussion and insight into all of the top races from Cheltenham week, including the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Chase, Ryanair Chase and of course, the Gold Cup. Guests will also be able to ask the panel questions in a Q&A session, and enjoy exclusive special betting offers from Star Sports‘ The Gentleman’s Bookmaker’ on the night, who are offering £50 free matching bet for all attendees.
To book your ticket contact the hotel on 01285 700900 or visit The Kings Head Cheltenham Preview for more information.
The Bottle of Sauce, Cheltenham's newest drinking and eating den, has a new menu which introduce some good looking salad bowls, yet keeping the awesome burgers (the Mother Clucker is still the best chicken burger we have had!), pizzas, wings and sides.
Check it out below and check them out here - www.thebottleofsauce.com