For years we’ve been meaning to visit one of Cheltenham’s most celebrated, and highly decorated restaurants, Le Champignon Sauvage, which translates to ‘the wild mushroom’ (if, like me, you’re not a big mushroom fan, don’t worry – there are plenty of non-mushroomy options!). Recently we finally got around to a long overdue visit! So was it worth the wait…?
Tucked away in the quiet Suffolk Place suburb of Cheltenham, the very modest and understated frontage gives little away. Enter and you feel like you’re walking into the front room of a private house; it has a warm and homely feeling with sofas and a wonderful range of art.
We were offered a drink at the bar first, or to be seated, and as we were very hungry we opted to go straight through to the dining room, which continued the warm and intimate feel, whilst still having nicely spaced tables so you can enjoy your privacy.
We were presented with a comprehensive wine list, with something for every budget, and if the middle of the road red we had was anything to go by then they’re picked by someone who knows what they’re doing. It makes selecting much less of a lottery and takes the pressure off, as the table watches on expectantly to see if what you’ve picked meets their approval. It did!
The menu consisted of a couple of routes: Route 1 offers two starters, two mains and two desserts; pick one of each for the incredible price of £35! Route 2 offered a more significant six options per course, some of which were slightly more extravagant dishes. With a great range there’s bound to be something to please everyone. Our table was split, two ordering from the cheaper menu, and two from the full menu. We speculated the portions and/or presentation might be a little more extravagant from the full menu items, so were delighted to find everything of the same very high standard.
Highlights included these delicious nibbles:
This panna cotta look-alike is actually a bone marrow custard with jellied mushroom broth; it tastes a lot better than it might sounds to you!
The spiced cauliflower soup was perhaps my favourite single dish of the evening – smooth, creamy, rich and beautifully flavoursome:
And Steph was a big fan of her scallops the came with pumpkin, pumpkin seed emulsion and a spiced crumb.
For our mains between us we had a lovely selection of pork, venison, pigeon and bream.
We were also bowled over by the fantastic array of amuse bouche we were presented with throughout the meal; they were beautiful to behold, and a real treat for the taste buds.
The front of house team, led by Helen, one of the owners of the restaurant (along with husband and head chef David) were helpful, attentive and very knowledgeable. This particularly shone through when talking us through the incredible cheese selection (a dessert choice, or optional forth course).
So, was a visit worth the wait? Without a shadow of a doubt yes! A relaxing and comfortable environment, friendly service and exceptional food and drink, as well as very good value for money instantly make this one of my favourite places: I’d strongly recommend it!