Apart from being a gorgeous town Cheltenham also offers a vast range of culinary experiences. Known as the food capital of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is well known for its range of gastronomic delights. This time we decided to turn this occasion into an esculent transoceanic treat for the whole family with the sophisticated taste of locally sourced products. Table for four please…
Upon entrance we were immediately greeted by a joyous, impeccably dressed host who courteously guided us to our table. The dining area was sparkling clean and attention was given to detail. The chairs felt very comfortable and so did we. The candle centrepiece was meticulously arranged and placed appropriately on the table. We were promptly served by overwhelmingly helpful waiting staff and it did not take very long for our choices to arrive. The ambience was appealing and classy but not overwhelmingly formal. Everything seems to have a sense of perfect balance and propriety, including the staff. So far so good. But how about the food? Could it match the appeal of our surroundings? A major decision now need to be made: which exciting taste shall we opt for, the Orient or Sub Continent?
Although both cuisines looked gorgeous we opted for Indian. Our dinner comprised of a three-course meal beautifully presented. Every now and then, as we waited, a soft fragrance of spices would greet us at our table.
Choices ranged from jhinga nissa to salmon dil tikka. I decided to have a starter of king prawn pathia. I would definitely recommend the starter which had a bold, but not over the top sweet and sour taste, thoughtfully put together. The starter definitely had more of a sweeter taste rather than sour and at times a hint of mango would visit my palate. The puffy bread felt light, soft and fresh in my mouth. Had a little more ‘sweet’ been added to the sauce and it would be too sweet. The experience I was left with was one of a bold taste with a light tease of what was to come, but was the main course worth the wait?
The Main Course
The main course was a difficult choice. What should we venture onto next? kadai, mamtaj or balti? Vegetable, chicken, lamb, salmon, king prawn, venison, duck? I decided to navigate towards the unusual and treading carefully finally ordered a main course of chicken chettinad, a bright, fragrant traditional South Indian curry with chicken simmered in coconut, red chilli, black peppercorn and curry leaf flavoured sauce. And what a journey that was. The main course smelled great. I must also point out that chicken preparation can be tricky. If you don’t know what you are doing the endeavour can easily turn into a total disaster as one might end up with an overcooked slice of rubber that I would not dare to call a chicken breast. I must say that I sliced several pieces and the chicken breast felt soft and evenly cooked. I can honestly say that our family main menu experience was remarkable. The children were offered off-menu chicken korma and they loved it. My wife also thoroughly enjoyed the venison. I would definitely order the same dish again. The venue could also function as a great place to have business dinners if I ever wanted to impress my clients as private function rooms are also available.
For dessert we had mango sorbet and coconut ice cream, chocolate fudge cake, tiramisu and the exquisite matka kulfi pot. The children would not let us leave until we had tried the desert and I must say that the chocolate fudge tasted so smooth in my mouth that I would not hesitate to recommend it or even order it again. I managed to convince my son to allow me to try his matka kulfi pot and found the taste fascinating. This traditional refreshing Indian ice cream had the texture of a sorbet and tasted of spiced milk with ground almonds and pistachios and a hint of saffron. I cannot fault the desert.
Apart from the pathia and korma approaching the level of how sweet a dish should be (at least for my palate) I can say with certitude that you will savour what the Spice Lodge has to offer on its menu. The food is superb. You will not find tenuous or bland tastes there. And yes, this magnificent award winning haven still impress. My family definitely want to go back. Look no further for delicious food, impeccable service, and unparagoned ambience when visiting Cheltenham.
Eric De Souza is our Maximise reviewer. Eric enjoys exploring new tastes, places and experiences and is happy to be invited just about anywhere as long as all costs are covered. Invite Eric to write a review for you. Get in touch at email@example.com and download a full media pack at www.maximise.live/mediapack