Hidden away in one of Cheltenham’s Regency terraces, Jon and Helen Howe’s smart little restaurant has been making big waves of late. The cream and white dining room may feel a tad formal, but Helen’s friendly, engaging service is refreshingly free from airs and graces. The food tells a similar story, with ambitious, whimsical ideas tempered by unfussy plating and high-spec produce – perhaps corned beef with sauerkraut, heritage beetroots and wasabi or rose veal with frog’s legs, black garlic, parsley and broad beans. There are some mischievous touches too – from witty palate cleansers to English strawberries paired with tonka beans, white chocolate, mango and basil. Picture-prefect presentation and “extremely informative” staff get top marks from readers, prices are surprisingly modest (particularly at lunchtime), and there are plenty of inviting possibilities on the approachable wine list.
This wine list is a great example of doing simple things well. It’s beautifully presented without being gimmicky, and impressively accurate and consistent. The wines are fairly priced and well-chosen for the clientele, with a good spread of prices.