Cheltenham was once flooded with burger restaurants. They were literally popping up on every corner. However, within a year, most of them have disappeared. Real Burger has gone. Moody's lasted about two months, sadly it was far too big and in the wrong place and has returned to being The Bierkeller. The Tavern changed their menu for the umpteenth time and moved away from a full American diner menu to a more grown up offering which is really good. Five Guys arrived and will do alright as it's in The Brewery, but it's massively overrated which leaves us just two places, The Bottle of Sauce and Holee Cow.
The latter opened in 2017 and like most new places, I usually give them a few weeks to settle in before trying them. I never intended to leave it a year. It's in quite a good spot right next to Superdry and near the highly controversial Boots Corner and the incredibly new tacky artificial grass outside Starbucks. What's that about?
The interior is stripped back industrial with exposed brick and wood walls. There's a mix of tables, chairs stools and a long sofa down one f the walls. Hanging bulbs light the place nicely but very much like the menu, it isn't over complicated.
On the back of your paper place mat you will find six burgers, eight sides with a couple of monthly specials on a board on the wall. You can double up on each burger if you're that way inclined. The Holee Cow is the house burger, then you have Smokey Bacon & Cheese which is self explanatory, P.I.T.M (Piggy in the Middle) with smoked pulled pork, The Lamburghini, yep you've got it, a lamb kofte patty, The Spicy Clucker, a buttermilk marinated & dredged chicken breast with buffalo hot sauce and their vegetarian option The Bean Bag. All (as singles) are £9 or under and all the ones with a beef patty contains locally sourced West Gloucestershire beef.
We both chose the Smokey Bacon and cheese (one single and one double) with a side of both Truffle Cheese fries and Loaded Pulled Pork and Jalapeño sweet potato fries. Bacon Cheese Fries, Macaroni Cheese Bites and Chicken Wings are also available.
The brioche buns were lightly toasted, cheese was dripping out over the pattys and the bacon was properly crispy and as smokey as described. The fries were both superb with generous amounts of toppings. I can't remember lunch ever tasting so good.
It's like survival of the fittest for burger restaurants in Cheltenham and these guys are in fine physical shape. Find me a better burger in town... I'll wait.
Look out for their new Holee Clucker restaurant launching in November!
The wait is almost over. The new John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham opens this week and we popped into today and had a mooch around.
Shoppers will find over 49,000 products from more than a thousand brands as well as John Lewis’s first ever Men’s Personal Styling Lounge and The Discovery Room that will be showcasing workshops, talks and events every day.
The new store opens to the public this Thursday 18th October at 10am.
John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham has today revealed the first three local charities it will support as part of its local charitable giving scheme, Community Matters.
The Community Matters initiative allows local Cheltenham customers to decide which of the three chosen charities they would like to support by voting at the shop with tokens provided after making a purchase. At the end of the 12 weeks of voting, John Lewis will share the £3,000 donation between the charities, with the split determined by the number of tokens each organisation has received.
The first phase of Cheltenham’s Community Matters programme will launch on the shop’s opening day, Thursday 18th October 2018, and will run until the end of January 2019 when a new set of three charities will be selected.
The first three local organisations to be supported by John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham will be:
Cheltenham Borough Homes - an independent, non-profit organisation responsible for managing and maintaining Cheltenham’s social housing.
The Leukaemia & Intensive Chemotherapy Fund (LINC) - a cancer support charity working to improve the care of patients receiving treatment within Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court - a 16-bed hospice surrounded by beautiful countryside, providing a tranquil setting for specialist end of life care and support for people with life-limiting conditions.
Martin Bundy, Partner & Branch Manager at John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham, said: “Supporting the community is one of the founding principles of the John Lewis Partnership, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to give back to these three very worthy causes. Our Community Matters programme assists initiatives valued by people in the local area, and these will be the first of many Cheltenham charities we’ll be supporting from our opening day.”
After taking 3 years to perfect, Cheltenham Gin is a wonderful new cloudy gin inspired by Cheltenham Racecourse.
Each bottle of Cheltenham Gin contains a unique blend of botanicals, including fresh zest from Spanish oranges and limes and benefits from a double distillation process to create a gin with a very refined, smooth and elegant palate.
The wonderful fresh, clean start continues to deeper spices on the mid-palate, adding length and complexity.
John Lewis Cheltenham has become one of the first shops to welcome the new John Lewis & Partners name, as both John Lewis and Waitrose have added ‘& Partners’ to their brand names.
The change has been designed to highlight their Partnership business model and culture which differentiates them from their main competitors at a time when the business is investing in the service that their Partners offer.
When the new shop opens on 18th October, John Lewis customers in Cheltenham will notice striking new window displays, newly designed bags, and signage in store, new delivery on lorries and vans; as well as a fresh new look on johnlewis.com and the retailer’s app.
In addition to investing in their identities, the John Lewis Partnership said in June that it would continue to invest in both businesses at a rate of £400m-£500m per year, to enable the two retail businesses to differentiate themselves from other retailers by innovating in products, customer service and services.
Today, John Lewis & Partners’ largest own brand womenswear collection of 300 designs, which was created entirely in-house and carries the new name John Lewis & Partners went on sale and will be available in the Cheltenham shop from opening day. The retailer has also launched its first own-brand gifting collection called ‘Find Keep Give’ in all shops and online. The range is comprised of unique pieces, the majority of which were designed in-house by Partners.
Martin Bundy, Branch Manager at John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham said; “Our Partnership business model and the inherent strength of our Partners really sets us apart. Cheltenham will become one of the first shops to adopt this new visual identity, which puts Partners back at the heart of everything we do. This move not only reflects the business we have become but more importantly, the business we want to be.”
The launch of the new identity is being supported by the first ever joint John Lewis & Partner and Waitrose & Partners national marketing campaign; the single biggest ever campaign for both brands outside of Christmas. The campaign shines a light on the stories and skills of more than 100 real partners from across both businesses to illustrate what makes the partnership a unique business.
A select few stores unveiled new John Lewis & Partners identities today, with the full change to all 50 John Lewis shop facades and fleets of lorries being phased over five years to tie in with the refurbishment plans.
There is something very special happening at Manor By The Lake in Cheltenham on September 27th all in the name of charity.
The Bakers Dozen will see 14 chefs creating 13 courses for a one off evening in aid of Cheltenham Open Door, a charity who provide support to vulnerable, disadvantaged and lonely people including companionship and respect, food and drink, showering and laundry.
Some of the chefs on show include Simon Rogan, Adam Handling, Greg Newman, Ruth Hanson, Chris Underwood and Wayne Sullivan who are all giving their time up for free, as are everyone involved on the night including the venue.
This is a culinary event that shouldn't be missed.
Tickets are priced at £100pp and are available by clicking HERE.
JEAN PAUL THEVENET MORGON 'LE CLACHET' 2015 BEAUJOLAIS
Jean-Paul Thévenet is one of the winemakers responsible for bringing greatness back to
Beaujolais. He is very old school in his winemaking philosophy and makes this wine from 70
year-old vines in the Morgon area, which are cultivated organically and yield very little fruit.
The grapes are fermented with natural yeasts without the addition of any sulphur dioxide.
After fermentation Thévenet ages the wine for eight months in used oak barrels that he gets
from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti before being bottled without filtration.
Bursting with aromas of bright red fruit which explode on the palate, the wine has a
wonderful brine-like quality and a long cooling mineral finish. This is what Beaujolais is really
THE GRAPE ESCAPE
The Grape Escape is a wine bar in Cheltenham offering a selection of over 250 labels and a
weekly changing list of wines available by the glass. The bar is run by wine-loving husband
and wife team Ant and Zo who's passion is infectious and service is impeccable.
There are regular events including wine tasting, quizzes as well as some amazing daily offers. On the first Monday of every month they host a wine tasting event, giving you the chance to try some fine wines from all over the world. The tastings are all themed and might cover a specific region, grape variety or even a single producer.
Cheltenham based seafood restaurant Puslane has made the UK semi-finalist shortlist for Seafood Restaurant of the Year that comprises of twelve restaurants.
The award, presented by Seafish and The Caterer, is designed to find the best restaurants cooking and serving delicious seafood dishes.
The competition was created to find restaurants demonstrating both excellent examples of the cooking and serving of fish and shellfish, as well as evidence of fish and shellfish knowledge among their staff both front and back of house.
Stocking more that 41,000 products and laying over 90,000 metres of cable, the new John Lewis store in Cheltenham is just eight weeks away from opening its doors, and it's going to be pretty special!
Set over two floors, John Lewis Cheltenham will provide a range of exciting services and experiences, alongside the latest and best products in fashion, beauty, home, electricals and technology. Located at the heart of the shop will be an Experience Desk - John Lewis’s concierge-style service which will see Partners introduce customers to everything that the shop has to offer. Service Partners will be on hand to help customers plan their visit to John Lewis, from booking a personal styling session at the Style Studio to securing an appointment at the Nail and Brow Bar.
The shop will boast John Lewis' first ever men's personal shopping and style area as well as two cafes seating 200 people at the back and front of the first floor.
There will be daily events in the Discovery Room, from workshops to wine tasting.
Doors open on October 18th.
The line-up for the The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival has been announced with some of the biggest names from literature, television, music, sport and politics all appearing between the 5th and 14th of October.
National treasure Sir David Attenborough will appear in conversation with Emma Freud in the afternoon of Saturday 6th October.
Sebastian Faulks, Gary Barlow, Ruth Jones, Graham Norton, Caitlin Moran, Richard Curtis, Shane Warne, Roger Daltrey and Oscar winning actress Sally Field all feature on the star-studded line-up.
Tickets go on sale at 1pm on Wednesday 29 August for members and Wednesday 5 September for the public.
Visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature for the full schedule.
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!