29 April 2007

Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham

We have a policy of monitoring excellent restaurants which have been there a while, and where there is a risk of retirement or boredom on the part of their owners. We failed to get to the Walnut Tree before Franco Taruschio retired, and so have been trying harder since. With this in mind, we went to Croque-en-Bouche twice in the 3 years before it closed, and managed to return to the Merchant House in the week before Shaun Hill hung up his apron. The Altnaharrie Inn closed shortly after we went there, but hopefully the two are not connected!
We therefore thought it prudent to return to the Champignon Sauvage, having only once visited it over 5 years ago. It had been the location for our "highest bill ever" at the time, long now since exceeded by Gordon Ramsey's Royal Hospital Road joint. This time, cars were involved, so it would be harder to achieve such a bill, and we were trying not to frighten our friend resident in the town who had agreed to accompany us.
It was a super meal, far too lengthy to list here, but some highlights were the amuse bouche cheese puffs, the veloute of white asparagus in a shot glass, kid canneloni with curd cheese and land cress, scallops with crispy pork belly; roasted cinderford lamb, lamb sweetbreads, crushed parsnips with hazelnuts; chicory cheesecake with chicory ripple ice cream; lemon and pine kernel parfait, lemon curd, fromage frais and pepper sorbet. The petit fours were exquisite - a selection of 10 different ones that we had to fight over.
We accompanied it with the most expensive Beaujolais on the menu at £24, and a supplementary glass of house white burgundy.
Lunch for the 3 of us was considerably less than it had been for the two people 5 years ago, and very decent value at that.

No comments: