Restaurant Review: Montpellier Brasserie, Cheltenham

Montpellier Brasserie, Cheltenham

Maggie Steel reviews The Montpellier Brasserie in the centre of Cheltenham

We arrived at the Montpellier Brasserie wet and deflated – our plan to eat at Raymond’s Brasserie Blanc had failed.

Too many men in suits had beaten us to it. We fled up the road in search of other options and stumbled on The Montpellier Brasserie. We left two hours later, absolutely delighted to know this place exists.

French chic

The décor in this brasserie is elegant: tall ceilings and windows, huge mirrors, half-panelled walls, grand lighting, mahogany colour tables and white linen napkins. I was reminded of the classy kind of brasserie you get in the rail stations of self-respecting French towns.

Spoilt for choice

When the menus arrived I was spoilt for choice. These menus are changed twice daily. The range of options for meat and fish eaters is impressive. For those on a budget, there is a set menu, which changes every day. For just £7.95 you can choose from a range of three appetisers and three main courses.

My husband did not regret his choice: olive, rosemary and roast garlic focaccia dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, followed by a beautifully presented plate of pan fried pheasant sitting on a generous bed of roasted pumpkin, butternut squash and curly kale. He added chips for £3.50 and was delighted when they turned out to be proper French fries. I’m not a big meat eater, but the pheasant was delicious.

I meanwhile was overwhelmed by enticing fishy options. I could have ordered oysters, lobster, mussels, scallops, smoked salmon, roast salmon or traditional fish and chips. (Apparently on Friday and Saturday evenings, you can choose your fish yourself from the fish counter.) In the end I went for a smoked haddock and mussel chowder, followed by a golden beetroot salad. Both good, but the salad was refreshingly different.

We both drank red wine, which came at just the right temperature. The range of drinks on offer was also vast – cocktails to calvados to champagne, local beers, foreign beers, wine and even an impressive choice of ports.

The food is beautifully presented

The food is beautifully presented

Desserts

The first two courses were so good we couldn’t resist pudding. I had a simple but deliciously buttery apple crumble with a cold, vanilla crème anglaise. My husband loved his ginger parkin, served with poached rhubarb and clotted cream.

Upstairs

The toilets are upstairs, but worth a trip. I won’t spoil the surprise, by telling you why. But I will say that while you are on the first floor you must also visit The Montpellier Gallery. It’s a gorgeous space, overlooking Montpellier Gardens with a bird’s eye view of the bustling traffic on the corner of Montpellier Terrace (where incidentally there was plenty of easy on-street pay-as-you go parking, even on a Friday lunchtime.) The Montpellier Gallery hosts a range of artists and has a vibrant events programme. The Gallery can also be booked for private dining – food from the restaurant in a beautiful, private space.

Worth a trip

I shall be going back to the Brasserie and the Gallery soon. Can’t decide whether to try the Sunday Jazz brunch next or the Friday night fish counter. But one thing I do know – I will be back. Many thanks to those men in suits!

Check out the lunchtime offer for t4w members at The Montpellier Brasserie.

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