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It may be hidden away in one of Cheltenham’s Regency terraces, but Jon and Helen Howe’s smart little restaurant is cherished for its personal approach and “consistently good food” – he cooks while she oversees front-of-house in friendly, engaging style. The cream and white dining room may feel a tad formal, but service is refreshingly free from airs and graces. Likewise, the kitchen tempers ambitious, whimsical ideas with good sense and a respect for the basics, transforming high-spec produce into thoroughly modern dishes ranging from Springfield Farm chicken with smoked eel, Jersey royals and wild leeks to day-boat turbot partnered by bulgur wheat, ratatouille, salsify and brown shrimps. Locally reared lamb in a good call in season, while desserts mighty include a cheeky riff on sticky toffee pudding involving a soufflé, salted lime caramel and custard. Prices are surprisingly modest (particularly at lunchtime), and there are plenty of inviting possibilities on the approachable wine list. “Our first choice when eating locally”, noted one fan.
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