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Le Champignon Sauvage


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#61 Matthew Grant

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 05:54 AM

David Everitt-Matthias is interviewed by Hilary Armstrong in the 6 April 2005 edition of Restaurant Magazine.

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Is that your alias Andy? :raz:
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#62 Andy Lynes

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 06:06 AM

No, I'm afraid I missed out on writing this particular story, which is a shame as it would have provided a very good reason to re-visit the restaurant. Fingers crossed another opportunity may present itself in the near future, but as ever I am in the hands of the editors.

#63 YKL

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 03:34 AM

and it was indeed the Restaurant article that prompted me to go last night. I don't know why the hell it took me so long to catch on that it was in Cheltenham, and therefore only half an hour from Worcester where I have been working for a couple of days every week for the last 2.5 years. think I always assumed it was much nearer London which was very foolish of me! The original plan had been to go with a colleague, but when I rang to book for next week - turns out that they're on holiday next week. I was too impatient and greedy to wait another month - so at 8pm last night, I was being led to a nice window table just for me.

Reading back through the posts last night - many of the dishes have already been described and lauded in much more impressive writing terms than anything I can offer, but thought I'd share my thoughts?

I perused the menu with my tonic water (no, really) and some cheese savouries. The shortbread one was lovely - and melted almost immediately on contact with the tongue - very good indeed. Think the other one was a mini-choux disc with tomato paste and some very sweet caramelised onions. (have to confess it looked like a mini pizza to me - and it was only when I heard the explanation proffered to another table that it all became clear.)

Making the selection was ridiculously difficult - there was at least three starters and two mains that I was genuinely torn between. Starters wise - there was a lasagne of oxtail and lamb sweetbreads with horseradish sauce that particularly caught my eye. But then I would have had to pass on the langoustine dish with tortellini and cock's kidneys (see other posts?) ... decisions, decisions, decisions. (Hadn't caught up with the egullet reviews recently so had forgotten the details.)

Mains - there was a (I think) some seabass with cep gnocchi and carrot and red wine emulsion vying with the Gloucester Old Spot pork belly with pigs cheek, braised with chinese five spice for my affection.

In the end, Helen Everitt-Matthias came to my rescue by confirming that the oxtail lasagne (lasagne of celeriac apparently) followed by the pork would be too hearty courses but the pork was a sort of signature dish. So langoustines and pork it was then. I can always go back!

My reward for all this was a pre-starter of a veloute of bloaters. As in the fish I said? Yes, smiled the waitress. As if I needed to ask - one sniff and the smoky fishness was there in all its glory. I didn't expect it to be quite so hot, so small sips after the first big gulp were the order of the day - which had the advantage of making this glorious creamy concoction last a little bit longer. It was delicious, and I would have quite happily eaten an enormous bowl. Things were looking very promising indeed.

I munched on my bread roll (lovely warm, nay even hot granary roll) as my starter arrived - and for me - this was probably my favourite dish of the night. The flavour of the sauce was fantastic, rich, flavoursome yet still managing to be light. The cock's kidneys were a triumph - kidneys are my least favourite form of offal since I can find them quite tough but as described elsewhere - was delicately mousse like in texture, with a surprisingly understated taste. I thought they must have been poached - but no, apparently, that's how they are. The langoustine (4 whole, and 2 tortellini) were pretty good as well.

and so to my main. The couple next to me seem to be having a tasting menu, which would explain the reduced portion sizes. all this meant I was not prepared for the enormous plate of food which followed! The pig's cheek was my favourite meat - taking well to the spicy flavour of the sticky braise - which I guess also contributed to the impressive sweet sauce on the plate. For me, the pork belly was good - but less stellar than the pigs cheek since it was less tender than I expected - although the flavour was very good.

After such gluttony, it's surprising to imagine that I had room for dessert, no? Ah well, I like confound expectations in that way. The Trio of Pink grapefruit desserts was preceded by the pre-dessert of rose geranium scented cream, and greengage sorbet. The sorbet was absolutely delicious, and the space powder topping on the cream was a fun touch. I now want to know where you get such popping sugar!

Of the trio - the parfait was my favourite because I think it was the most successful at keeping the sweet and sharpness that I love in grapefruit. The jelly was a close second though, but the sorbet didn't do it for me. Maybe I had been spoiled by the greengage.

Tea and P4s to follow .... which rounded off a very pleasant evening with some very good food. The bill with a reasonable tip for the smooth friendly service was £60 - and I think I got fair value. and I intend to go back ....

Yin

#64 postcode

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 04:16 AM

And it's set to get bigger (the restaurant, that is)

#65 Gary Marshall

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 05:10 AM

and closed for 6-7 weeks too if anyone was thinking about going...
you don't win friends with salad

#66 JudyB

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 05:34 AM

and closed for 6-7 weeks too if anyone was thinking about going...

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That's all right - we're booked for lunch on Saturday :biggrin: .

Does anyone have experience of getting a taxi there from the station? Such as will they know the restaurant by name, or do we need to give them the address?

#67 postcode

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 05:40 AM

Contrary to the rumours, people don't actually get less intelligent the further out of the M25 cordon you go.

#68 JudyB

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 05:44 AM

Contrary to the rumours, people don't actually get less intelligent the further out of the M25 cordon you go.

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How about finding out some facts before jumping to conclusions? I live well outside the M25 mess - as you would realize if you had bothered to do any research!

The question was actually a serious one since I have had problems in the past with taxi drivers who apparently don't know local restaurants...

Edited by JudyB, 01 June 2005 - 05:45 AM.


#69 YKL

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 05:45 AM

and closed for 6-7 weeks too if anyone was thinking about going...

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That's all right - we're booked for lunch on Saturday :biggrin: .

Does anyone have experience of getting a taxi there from the station? Such as will they know the restaurant by name, or do we need to give them the address?

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The centre didn't look big so you'd hope they would know. Having said that, I seem to remember reading somewhere that locally it's also known as the champion sausage - which amuses me far more than it should!!

Hope you enjoy the meal

#70 MobyP

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 10:37 AM

You can walk it from the station in 10-15 mins.

I have a report with pics to post, after a great meal, but am waiting for Suzi to return from conquering america to do so (as she has the rest of the pics). Apologies to D E-M.

Edited by MobyP, 01 June 2005 - 10:39 AM.

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#71 JudyB

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 03:17 AM

You can walk it from the station in 10-15 mins.

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Thanks Moby.

We were considering walking at least one way, but it all depends on when the train actually arrives and what the weather is like.
Just at the moment it is hard to tell whether it will be pouring down or bright sunshine - more probably both!

(The train timetables aren't much more convincing either since we seem to be in limbo between the old and new timetables, so we *think* we know when we will arrive but it is hard to be entirely certain).

#72 britcook

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 03:51 AM

The restaurant has been in the same location for maybe 15 years and Cheltenham is not that big a town, you shouldn't have any trouble with taxi drivers knowing where it is.

#73 culinary bear

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 03:55 AM

Is the expansion a gearing-up for a third star?
Allan Brown

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#74 Andy Lynes

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 04:48 AM

My understanding is that waiting lists, especially at weekends, are getting longer and longer so the restaurant is turning away business. David has put up with a less than stellar kitchen for the last 19 years and the dining room was in need of re-decoration. The next door premises became available and they have decided to expand. I think they are taking on one more chef and one more front of house to cope with the larger dining room.

I wouldn't be surprised if all these physical changes were accompanied by some tweaks to the food, considering the additional preperation area and the extra pair of hands. But I don't think David is the type of chef to go chasing his tail after another star, although I'm sure he would be totally delighted if he did get one. The investment makes sound business sense. He doesn't want to squeeze money out of his punters (hence the very reasonable menu prices and the frankly ridiculously cheap wine list) so the only way to increase his turnover is to get more people in the place.

It will be interesting to see if he does put his prices up. I bet his bank manager thinks he should, and I really don't think anyone is going to begrudge him a few extra quid. How many two Michelin star restaurants do you know that charge eleven quid for house white.

#75 Gary Marshall

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 06:00 AM

i can't think of many restaurants, full stop. That charge £11 for house wine nowadays.
you don't win friends with salad

#76 Basildog

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 07:33 AM

2 of our house wines are £10.50

#77 YKL

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:20 AM

:biggrin: :biggrin:

#78 naguere

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:27 AM

The Birminghamplus link didnt work, but this is the text:

Birmingham Plus Restaurant of the Year Award winner 2004, Le Champignon Sauvage, is extending its premises to provide even more space for our magnificent certificate. Additional benefits of the extension into the former picture-framing shop adjacent to the restaurant include an increased number of covers (there will be 40 in total, though more generously spaced than at present). Diners will be able to avail themselves of new seats, designed by furniture maker Kevin Stamper in consultation with David Everitt-Matthias and the kitchen will be similarly extended and feature a range from Molteni.
The restaurant will feature a new colour scheme and the bar area will be modified to provide more seating for guests. Work is scheduled to start on 6th June (when the restaurant will be closed) and take between six and seven weeks. We will hopefully be providing updates on progress and be running an article on the expansion to coincide with the restaurant's re-opening in July
Who cares how time progresses..

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#79 Duncan

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 09:23 AM

and closed for 6-7 weeks too if anyone was thinking about going...

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That's all right - we're booked for lunch on Saturday :biggrin: .

Does anyone have experience of getting a taxi there from the station? Such as will they know the restaurant by name, or do we need to give them the address?

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As it happened we walked from the station, and the rain just about
held off. (But we obviously weren't as hungry as Moby since it took
us more like 25 minutes).

Helen welcomed Judy with 'are you JudyB?', so I'm sure our thanks posted here will get back to them.

I won't go through the menu in detail, much of it has already been
covered above, but I think everything we ate was absolutely delicious.

The amuse was a velouté of lovage, and also as a gift from David a
wonderful foie gras royale topped with creamed carrot (as Tony Higgins
noted, this comes in an egg cup perched at an impossible angle on a
sloping saucer).

Judy's starter was a fillet of cod, risotto of snails and pig trotter,
chestnut velouté.

I had the sautéd cock's kidneys and langoustines, langoustine
tortelloni, langoustine sauce. The cock's kidneys were absolutely
fantastic (although I'm a little bit concerned that either the
apostrophe is misplaced, or it was a mutant with 3 kidneys).

Main courses:
Judy: Braised belly of Gloucester Old Spot pork, pig's cheek, chinese spices.
Me: Roasted pigeon with cockscombs,parsley root puree, garlic confit (pictured)

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Deserts:
Judy had a chocolate delice filled with caramel, with a salted
caramel snap and malted milk ice cream. I had chicory cheesecake with
chicory ice cream.

We finished with coffee and petit fours (pictured below, although note
that nibbling the petit fours took priority over getting out the
camera, so there are a couple missing from the photo!)

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The petit fours eventually beat us, we had to leave one. Overall, a most enjoyable lunch, and we'll have to make sure and go back again.

#80 culinary bear

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 10:43 AM

Oh, lordy... I need to eat there.

Thanks for the review, Duncan. Is that a piece of turron I see second from right on the petit fours tray?

Edited to add : Does anyone know of anywhere else that uses the tableware shown in Duncan's first photo? I first saw these plates in MPW's 'White Heat' and I think they're beautiful. I've never been a fan of coloured rims but these ones seem to act as a focus for the food on the middle of the plate rather than distracting attention away from it.

Edited by culinary bear, 05 June 2005 - 10:46 AM.

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#81 seanw

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 11:35 AM

I prefer all white, with no collar.
From Duncan's photo it seems like alot of sauce on the plate, does this trend run thro' all his dishes?? I think the brits like lots of sauce especially when it's gooood! I have worked for french guys who tend to hold off a little. Would love to try his food, DEM seems like the chef's chef type

:smile: :smile:

#82 Duncan

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 12:34 PM

Is that a piece of turron I see second from right on the petit fours tray?

Judy says it was nougat. Is there a distinction between nougat and turron?


  From Duncan's photo it seems like alot of sauce on the plate, does this trend run thro' all his dishes?? I think the brits like lots of sauce especially when it's gooood!

I suppose it is more sauce than some places would use, but we'll need to go back to say whether this trend runs in all his dishes. :raz:

#83 KaffirLime

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 03:12 PM

Turron is Spanish for nougat

#84 Steve Martin

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 03:36 PM

Edited to add : Does anyone know of anywhere else that uses the tableware shown in Duncan's first photo? I first saw these plates in MPW's 'White Heat' and I think they're beautiful. I've never been a fan of coloured rims but these ones seem to act as a focus for the food on the middle of the plate rather than distracting attention away from it.

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[/quote]


It's Villeroy & Boch Basket, but you must buy from their commercial range or you get a dodgy picture in the middle.
I have seen it in two or three restaurants, but I can't remember where.

#85 Gary Marshall

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 01:21 AM

2 of our house wines are £10.50

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house wine in my local £10.

however might get a pleasant suprise if you order it, as earlier in the week a waitress was uncorking several bottles of house red for a big group and mistakenly opened a bottle of chateau palmer!
you don't win friends with salad

#86 Matthew Grant

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:02 AM

As it happened we walked from the station, and the rain just about
held off. (But we obviously weren't as hungry as Moby since it took
us more like 25 minutes).


Nothing to do with hunger, have you seen the length of his legs? :biggrin:
"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

#87 Pweaver1984

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:57 AM

I'm sure the Waterside Inn has plates like the ones in the photo?
Though it does have an illustration?
I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'
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#88 PoppySeedBagel

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 09:19 AM

I've seen that Villeroy & Boch china in loads of places over the years - like you I don't normally like patterns, but for that I'll make an exception.

#89 MobyP

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:37 PM

As it happened we walked from the station, and the rain just about
held off. (But we obviously weren't as hungry as Moby since it took
us more like 25 minutes).


Nothing to do with hunger, have you seen the length of his legs? :biggrin:

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Hunger + space time continuum + champignon Sauvage... apparently I went missing for days, but it only felt like ten minutes.
"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

#90 MobyP

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 10:44 AM

As I have hinted above (with all the dèclassé of a hooker on a Mississipi steam boat), this was truly an epic meal. Some might call it an assassination attempt. Damnit, I call it lunch. Suzi and I might have made it there in 10 minutes, but it took me many days to get home. I woke up, wearing a funny sort of negligé, somehow having managed to make it onto the train to Glasgow, being slapped repeatedly by the conductor for saying inappropriate things to old ladies. I can't remember. I was hallucinating pig's trotters by this point. It's happened before. Best not to ask too many questions. I made it home two days later, having managed to earn the economy-class trainfare from a rather unreasonable sailor. No, I really don't want to talk about it.

I've included pictures, and mostly bad ones, of this cavalcade of fantastic ingredients, prepared well. This is the sort of cooking that I've spent some time looking for. The man placed cox kidneys next to langoustines, and 5 inch coxcombs next to wood pigeon, for goodness sake. He quotes from Chapel in one dish, and then leads you through the bacchanalian slippery mysteries of offal with another. Truffles were non-existent, and foie was at a minimum, and they weren't missed.

I'll write more tomorrow, as I'm holding the bubbah this evening.

All in all, a miracle, considering the personel and space restrictions. David was very nice indeed, and we both thought Helen was extremely cool, and probably has her own harley-davidson to prove it.

Anyway, enjoy.

Asparagus Velouté with coconut foam, Foie Gras Royal with Sweetcorn
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Cod Cheeks with smoked eel and apple purée with a red wine sauce
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Double Langoustine Love - Large sautéed langoustine, with langoustine tortellini with cock's kidneys, spinach, and a langoustine foam:
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Cauliflower cream, with a warm langousting gelée, and an intense langoustine reduction
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Seared Scallop, baby squid, pumpkin purée, and squid ink sauce with roast pumpkin seeds.
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Wood pigeon and coxcomb, with a chevre pomme puree, peas, braised lettuce, jus, and date puree
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Assiette de Porc - Braised belly (with asian spicing and palm sugar), blood pudding, choux farci of snails and herbs, pig's trotter croquette, jus, morels, and sprouting broccoli.
Posted Image


Pre-Desert: Brulé of rose and geranium (I think) flavoured with pop rocks, with a pineapple and angelica sorbet (no picture, unfortunately)

Apricot kernal panna cotta and burdock root parfait
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Chicory root cheese cake with chicory ice cream
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Chocolate delice with salted caramel and tuile.
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Mignardise - see excellent pic above.
"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP