You hear a lot about the pub grub at places like The Sportsman and, yep, it's good. But when I look back on some of my all time favourite lunches, my long boozey lunch at The Royal Well Tavern in Cheltenham would have to be one of the greats. Terrific British produce, both local and sublimely fresh, are combined simply with classic French bistro style and a cosy, friendly atmosphere - a winning combination.
|Pleasing little touches add to the warm fuzzies|
Andy Martin trained under and has seamlessly taken over from previous head chef Humphrey Fletcher (formerly of The Glasshouse in Kew, Chez Bruce and the River Cafe among others). Not only does everything on his "stonking good food with no frills" menu sound hugely appealing, but it's all good value too - right down to a simply prix fixe daily menu at £10 for 2 courses or £12.50 for 3 (available until 7pm). You'll find things on the a la carte menu like poached monkfish with samphire and young vegetable nage (£19) or chargrilled hoggett leg with cannellini beans, shallot puree, tomato and thyme (£17). The steaks are apparently great too. Suppliers are proudly listed on the pub's website.
Wooden tables and floors and burgundy banquettes provide a comforting atmosphere to nestle in and wile the afternoon away over a bottle of whatever takes your fancy. Among our plates were a lovely beetroot and walnut salad, sublime fresh, grilled fish with roasted chicory and a gorgeous bit of pink duck with a rich stew of lentils and mushrooms.
There were some lovely ice creams for dessert and the cinnamon scroll with warm custard wasn't half bad either....
The Royal Well Tavern is the kind of place you can't help but leave feeling merry and satisfied.
The Royal Well Tavern, 5 Royal Well Place, Cheltenham, Tel: 01242 221212. Expect to pay around £30 per head for 3 courses + drinks (or less of the prix fixe menu).