This is a slightly different review to usual, not in the content or integrity, but because I was requested to review The Larder, Montpellier, Cheltenham, by one of their customers. In fact, it was the daughter of one of their customers, and her husband and her sister. Naturally, they’re all gushy about it, “you HAVE to review this place, it’s SOOOOO lovely” – ugh. I couldn’t say no to reviewing a new restaurant in Cheltenham, plus it shut them up.
Now, when writing these things, reviewers try to lead the reader through to the end of the article, tease the verdict. They may or may not achieve that, but in this case, I am forced to drag it out, because my friends made such a fuss. Don’t worry, it’s not an essay.
The Larder at One Bayshill Road, Cheltenham opened in July 2020, which they had to delay from the original launch in February because of the Coronavirus Lockdown. They, are two local girls, Hetty and Lucy, who also run the catering company Box Fresh Street Food. One Bayshill Road is actually a retirement apartment block, a very swanky one at that. The Larder was originally a residents only eatery, but, it has been opened up to everyone, which is a very shrewd move.
It’s a very grand looking building therefore The Larder has benefited from nice interior design. It’s relaxed and soft with a suitably contemporary feel to it. The lighting, delivered by teardrop pearl like shades, is a little bright, giving the dinner service a bit of a daytime cafe feel. I am a little fussy about lighting though. The Larder is also rather small, in an intimate way, with only 30 covers situated around a very open kitchen – it works. There are also only a few services at the moment, partly Covid but also because it’s new and the situation is slightly different. You can dine Thursday to Saturday and then a very nice looking Sunday Lunch service. You don’t need me to tell you, you;; need to book.
The staff are stand out nice. I had been briefed that Hetty and Lucy were lovely, other reviews on TripAdvisor also echo that, they really are a lovely team and you’ll be looked after. You can see that they genuinely love doing this and maintain a wonderful balance of professionalism and informality.
Similarly to the restaurant, the menu is also small – always a good thing. Any menu too large is defrosting a dump load of food – no thanks. I love restaurant with a tight menu. The Larder also has a surprisingly good balance of vegetarian options. The wine list is short and sweet also, favouring old world with a few new worlds thrown in – they have the Most Wanted guys on there.
Of the four starters available I went for a Black Pudding Scotch Egg, with only one thing on my mind, the same thing that should be on anyone’s mind when ordering a scotch egg in a restaurant. Will the yoke be runny? Take a look.
The celeriac remoulade was a nice touch, I ate the whole. This thing is nice. By the way, if you’re a bit weird about Black Pudding, you’re a loser.
The others went for a Mackerel Pate and a very fun looking Roasted Beetroot and Goats Cheese Risotto. The portions are actually pretty large and the price very reasonable, around £6.50. Everyone was happy, I tried some of the Pate – smokey as hell.
I made a surprising choice with my main, on offer was Sri Lankan Prawn Curry (my choice), Slow Braised Beef Bourguignon, Chicken Schnitzel on Linguini, Roasted Vegetable Vegan Tartlet (meh) and a Root Vegetable Tagine. The Confit Duck Leg had been gobbled up. They did hit us with a special, Lambs Liver.
The Curry and Schnitzel were to main choice. My Prawn Curry looked beautiful, but was a little cold and I think could have been spicier. The plate could have been hotter maybe. The latter is my problem, as a coconut based curry, it was never going to be kick ass hot. I am not sure that I ordered well – which is unusual. It was creamy, it was deep but left me slightly wanting. With is came a couple of small Onion Bhaji’s, they were really good. The prawns were perfect and the best poppadom I might have ever had.
We went for a range of desserts. The guys kept on about the Eton Mess, which as actually rather tidy and pretty. I went for the toughest Sticky Toffee Pudding ever, I couldn’t get through it with a spoon – it was so chewy, was great – not sure how intentional that was. It was served with Walnut Ice Cream – now that was a thing to eat! The final one was a Lemon Curd creme Brûlée – looked really nice served in a coffee cup.
Very tidy Eton Mess
Chewiest Sticky Toffee Pudding Ever with insanely good Walnut Ice Cream
Lemon Curd Creme Brulee
The Larder is a super relaxed cafe come restaurant that isn’t trying to fine dine you or charge for it. The food is homely and will suit pretty much everyone. I am confident that Sunday Lunch would be really good. It’s a really nice place to spend some time and the folks that work there are lush.
WEBSITE AND RESERVATIONS: www.thelarderrestaurant.co.uk
TELEPHONE: +44 (0) 1242 388 246