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Le Champignon Sauvage


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Confirmed my reservation for Saturday night. Very much looking forward to it. I will also be in Cheltenham on Friday night and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for somewhere casual (fish & Chips, a great burger or good pub food) don't really want to end up in one the the chain places! Any suggestions welcome. Also any recommended pubs - I am considering The Beehive and Kemble Brewery Inn. I like a good pint and decent wine not to fussed on bangin' tunes so again any suggestions welcome.

Cheers

Martin.

Martin

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Confirmed my reservation for Saturday night.  Very much looking forward to it.  I will also be in Cheltenham on Friday night and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for somewhere casual (fish & Chips, a great burger or good pub food) don't really want to end up in one the the chain places!  Any suggestions welcome.  Also any recommended pubs  - I am considering The Beehive and Kemble Brewery Inn.  I like a good pint and decent wine not to fussed on bangin' tunes so again any suggestions welcome.

Cheers

Martin.

Hope you enjoy Le Champignon Sauvage.

The Beehive has had a few issues recently and I prefer the Jolly Brewmaster which is quite well hidden but nearby and is a 'proper' pub. For casual food, good chippies are few and far between. Burger Burger in the brewery complex is good (hobbs house bread, free range chicken etc) but service can be up and down and just make sure they don't salt your fries.

Royal Well is a personal favourite, but see other threads on EG for other views.

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Not a word of a lie about chippies, there are no standouts in cheltenham at all, the one i tend to go with is in the Benhall estate, can't remember the name off the top of my head, but even that isnt great. I will second Burger Burger, any place that cooks a burger rare is worth a shot in my opinion. If you were willing to make another restaurant visit on the friday night, i seriously recommend Lumiere. It recently changed hands (maintained name), and while I never visited pre-change, the new restaurant is great. Had a seriously stunning rhubarb dessert on my visit.

Richard's Royal Well reference may be to do with me (i suspect so), basically I fully recommend the food, its cracking, but on the night I went, the service was decidedly shoddy.

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Not a word of a lie about chippies, there are no standouts in cheltenham at all, the one i tend to go with is in the Benhall estate, can't remember the name off the top of my head, but even that isnt great. I will second Burger Burger, any place that cooks a burger rare is worth a shot in my opinion. If you were willing to make another restaurant visit on the friday night, i seriously recommend Lumiere. It recently changed hands (maintained name), and while I never visited pre-change, the new restaurant is great. Had a seriously stunning rhubarb dessert on my visit.

Richard's Royal Well reference may be to do with me (i suspect so), basically I fully recommend the food, its cracking, but on the night I went, the service was decidedly shoddy.

Glad to hear Lumiere is still good. I really liked it under the previous team: I enjoyed it more than LCS - food not as good, but all the other bits were better.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Le Champignon Sauvage - June 09

I have been attempting to fit in a visit to LCS for quite some time now but never quite managed to find the right time, but a few months back there was a promo in a Sunday paper offering discounted hotel rooms. A quick phone call and a couple of emails later, all sorted and here is what we did.

Firstly, our reservation was for Saturday night and we were arriving on Friday so we took a leisurely drive down the M6/5 then into the Cotswolds.

We had lunch at Bibury Court which was ok food wise and decent value at about £35 for lunch for two with a glass of wine each. The best dishes were the starters, a very good Guinea fowl terrine and a risotto of smoked salmon ad peas. The mains were Lamb shoulder and Pollock and were served in generous portions; the Lamb was tasty enough but lacked any real wow. The Pollock was fresh and looked good but is not a great fish and didn’t pack any punch. The desserts, a crème caramel and roasted apple with unpleasant sultanas and a raspberry and elderflower trifle were both icy cold and a rather poor end to the meal. Not bad value for the £ but I probably would go elsewhere if I had the choice.

First night in Cheltenham we went out for drinks and a wander to see what was what. First off we had a couple of cocktails at the HaHa bar which were a bargain at £3 during happy hour. We then walked down the hill to John Gordons, the rather nice wine shop / wine bar for a bottle of wine. There was some live jazz playing. You can have any bottle from the shop opened for £6 corkage and there seemed to be a downstairs bistro. We dined at India Lounge which was quite enjoyable and very busy. It is not far from the Daffodil restaurant.

Saturday morning we had a full English in our hotel the set off into the rain and cold. After a short while doing not much we decided to head to the beer festival in Winchcombe and took the steam train from the racecourse and have a pint or two. It killed a few hours.

Dinner.

We arrived at LCS a little early after a refreshing siesta and we were shown directly to our table as there was a group of people sat at the bar area.

Much comment has been passed previously about decor so I won’t go on, except to say that the room is nice and I was comfortable all evening.

We were presented with menus and soon followed canapés – parmesan mouse with powdered chorizo coating, arancini and a whipped goat’s cheese with savoury crackers. (I may not have these exactly correct but they were a good start).

After a short while perusing the menu we were approached by Helen, who had a brief chat and took our wine order. Shortly afterward she returned to take our food order and gave us the option of David cooking a menu surprise. It wasn’t a difficult decision.

We ate:

Angelica veloute with coconut foam – not something I have ever considered eating but packed plenty of rich vegetable flavour lightened by the coconut.

This was followed by pigeon done three ways – raw, cured and a rillette served with fig compote. This was spectacularly good, the tartare being especially good but all of the preparation tasted good, both rich yet fresh.

The seared scallops with pig head carpaccio came next and were also very tasty. The unctuous, fatty pig offset by the pickled pear and then the plump scallops combined flavour and texture brilliantly.

Seared flank of Dexter beef with snails and parsley puree was strongly flavoured and earthy. The tender braised snails augmented by the fresh green parsley puree topped by crisp, well flavoured, tender beef. Very good puree balanced the strong meat flavours.

Next up came butter poached bass with beetroot and samphire. A quite delicate and light preparation, again making very good use of the garnish to compliment the main ingredient.

This was followed by Cinderford lamb with Jerusalem artichoke cream, globe artichokes and peanuts. The lamb was tender and well flavoured. This garnish was on the menu with zander but all the flavours were complimentary and the addition of a few highly pungent crushed peppercorns added to the effect.

Finally on to desserts.

First came lemon meringue with lemon jelly and sorrel ice cream. The lemon by this stage was a welcome and refreshing start or continuation! Sorrel ice cream was well made, rich and creamy with a subtle sweetness.

This was followed by the bitter chocolate and olive tart with fennel ice cream. I was beginning to flag by this point so I would say this was the least enjoyable dish for me. It was, however, served fresh and hot, oozing molten bittersweet chocolate and the ice cream was remarkably good. The potentially odd fennel anise flavour matching up well to the power of the tart.

A selection of good petit fours and a double espresso rounded the evening off.

We drank a bottle of house sparkling rose and a bottle of Chateau des Annereaux.

I would say my favourite dish was the pigeon. There wasn't a bum note throughout though. A very accomplished, confident grown up restaurant.

It was good!!

We stayed at Lypiatt House an easy 5 – 10 minute walk down the same street. The hotel is good, rooms modern and comfortable and a decent breakfast too.

Martin

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  • 2 months later...

Such a shame about your lagging at the chocolate and olive tart stage. I haven't had a better desert in the UK.

Im due a revisit. I don't live too far away from the place and only been there twice both times for lunch i feel im insulting my stomach if i don't go back within 2 weeks.

Totally agree with that column being full of dribble sometimes. ''he dismal exterior of Le Champignon Sauvage did not help.'' what do you want? neon signs and 2 flashing stars above the door?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Big week this week - pilgrimage to Cheltenham on Wednesday - only third visit in as many years. Do hope it once again proves that Le Champignon Sauvage is the top restaurant in the UK. Watch this spot for full report.

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Had a truly stellar meal here on Saturday night, we were lucky enough to have David cook a Menu Surprise for us, every element of which was superbly executed, together with great service and a great wine list, it was a wonderful night, we were even invited into the kitchen to meet and chat with the brigade after the meal. looking forward to returning soon. We also stayed at Lypiatt House which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Delayed in reporting as we have been trying lots of other places around the country, but pleased to report Le C S is still one of the best in my book. We went fishy - the lobster was fantastic, plenty of it with an interesting combination of flavours. The fillet of zander with globe and Jerusalem artichokes and peanuts was subtlety flavoured, the peanuts giving a great texture change. Being a chocoholic I thought t he chocolate and olive tart was a sensation, the only small criticism, it was so rich I could have done with half the size tart and twice as much ice cream to go with it!

As usual all the trimmings, from the amuse bouche to the petit fours were of the expected high standard. It says three courses on the menu but here you end up with about 7 if you count everything Helen rules her girls with a rod of iron and service was spot on. A great evening - wish I lived down the road. As I said to Helen, “All I can do is dream of having a husband that can cook like that!”

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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  • 1 month later...

Nibbles were: small cubes of parmesan mousse covered in powdered chorizo, warm rice balls (fab); and, a whipped goats cheese dip with some delicious crackers – i recall paprika being mentioned but could be mistaken.

Amuse was celeriac mousse with horseradish and fine dice of vegetables. Quite lovely. Celeriac pronounced but not in a cloying way that celeriac can sometimes have. Good clear flavours – meant to ask but i presume the celeriac was cooked sous vide and dispensed using creamer.

Pigeon: tartare, pate (ok, better than “mere” pate – more like rillettes) and some sliced cured breast. This came with a sprightly salad. I had a duck version of this about a year ago – but prefer the pigeon version - certainly more flavourful.

Scallops, as always, were a triumph – served with carpaccio of pigs head (thin and mosaic-like on which everything else sat) and some pickled pear puree. Pig’s head is not something I would necessarily jump at when seeing on a menu but the combination was masterful. It came decorated with the thinnest & crunchiest piece of pork I’ve ever had which I presume was the pig’s head rolled, sliced then crisped.

Zander with smoked eel, cauliflower purée & cauliflower pieces with a hibiscus reduction. That reduction was quite outstanding with the sweetness being balanced beautifully by a bitter herb (sorry – didn’t get the name – one of david’s weird herbs!).

Venison – loin plus pieces of shank accompanied with something I can only describe as venison “faggot”. These were great – truly wonderful – but complete outshone by the calvo nero puree. Words cannot fully get over the depth of colour and flavour held in this little deep green sauce.

Kid – this was not unlike the venison dish in concept having different preparations including lion, shoulder and another cut (sorry – no notes) but what striking was the astonishing different lightness this had over the venison due in part to the almost throwaway red wine reduction (“red wine and a little bit of effort” as Helen described it) and, to my surprise, the succulence of kid. Just perfect.

Pre-dessert was lemon verbena brûlée with popping sugar and – how do i describe this one – sorbet made from berries found in hedges by the seaside. I am not even going to guess the name. Big smiles all round.

David’s having fun – evident from the last dish (the table next to us got run-off-the-mill greengage sorbet!) – and the next dessert was even more off-the-wall. Rice pudding with lotus seed ice cream. Wow. I hate rice pudding – loath even – but i ate this and loved it. Thinking back, there might have been coconut in the rice pudding – makes sense now thinking about it with the lotus seed. Staggeringly good ice cream. Where did you come up with that one, i asked? We just went to a Chinese supermarket and bought a load of things we’d never seen or cooked with before. Toasting the seeds brought out the flavour which we turned into ice cream.

Wonder if we could talk david & waitrose into franchising his ice creams...

(I told him of my recent attempt at croissant ice cream from his book – but instead of croissants i used donuts – it was pretty awful. Learn from mistake & stick to his recipes).

Picking up the rear was a triumphal lemon meringue from his book - accompanied with sorrel ice cream. Well, can’t really follow that.

Just keeps getting better.

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  • 2 months later...

Finally have the chance to post our meal at this out of town 2-star. We enjoyed the meal very much and we even bought a signed copy of both of David’s books!

Their warm Gruyère cheese puffs were fantastic!

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All the courses were great, but if I have to choose one, this is probably the best. Rabbit cannelloni, using turnip instead of pasta, garnished with matchsticks of apple.

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We were completely full from the tasting menu. I had to ask them to pack our petits-fours!

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More photos here:

www.finediningexplorer.com/ csauvage.php

Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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  • 1 month later...

Glad you mentioned the bread. Odd as it may be, the Bacon and shallot brioche we've had on both visits are one of the best things about the place, not that its any discredit to any of the dishes, the bread is simply that good!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

My only tip would be that no matter how good that brioche is NO MATTER HOW GOOD, don't attempt more than one, or you wont be able to enjoy the fantastic petit fours at the end!

The brioche has always been my undoing, I've always had two then struggled to finish. They are so light its hard to understand why they would do that, but they do. Of course the extra cheese course may well have something to do with it too! ;-)

http://www.allium.uk.net

http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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I realise this goes against the grain but we had a very off experience when we last visited.I do not believe it to be anywhere as good as le manior, Square Lebury etc (which is where I reckon the bacon brioche bread idea comes from but not in same class as Ledbury). We went along on a Friday night and the restaurant was near empty all night. We were part of twelve covers. The restaurant just seems off, takes itself far too seriously, which makes the atmosphere very cold and clinical. The dining room does nothing for me. Its so blinking bright, its a wonder it cannot be seen from space! Our service was poor, to the point of non existent. They really didn't bother with us all night, apart from delivering the dishes, with no explanation. I get the immpression it is a place that if you are known to them, then you are treated in different manner, which seems apparent from certain other threads here. Visited three times now but cannot understand why it is held in such awe. Is it because it holds on to Michelin star status, what ever that stands for nowadays?

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I realise this goes against the grain but we had a very off experience when we last visited.I do not believe it to be anywhere as good as le manior, Square Lebury etc (which is where I reckon the bacon brioche bread idea comes from but not in same class as Ledbury). We went along on a Friday night and the restaurant was near empty all night. We were part of twelve covers. The restaurant just seems off, takes itself far too seriously, which makes the atmosphere very cold and clinical. The dining room does nothing for me. Its so blinking bright, its a wonder it cannot be seen from space! Our service was poor, to the point of non existent. They really didn't bother with us all night, apart from delivering the dishes, with no explanation. I get the immpression it is a place that if you are known to them, then you are treated in different manner, which seems apparent from certain other threads here. Visited three times now but cannot understand why it is held in such awe. Is it because it holds on to Michelin star status, what ever that stands for nowadays?

Richard, I thought I was the only one, we had a similar experience a few years ago. When I still lived in the UK I was thinking about revisiting it but the idea was always vetoed by my partner who hated the service and the room. The wife of the chef who is FOH pays attention to some tables but we were not one of them, maybe this is the "known to them" syndrome. I came away think it would be a better restaurant with a change FOH, and dimmer switches!

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Ill post my own review after Thursday nights trip.A five hour drive to get there isnt too appealing but the forum reports and other diners pics and blogs make it a trip that im very much looking forward to.

As for the bright lights....For me thats just what the doctor ordered , perfect for quality pics....i really can`t wait.

Edited by sped98 (log)
CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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Ill post my own review after Thursday nights trip.A five hour drive to get there isnt too appealing but the forum reports and other diners pics and blogs make it a trip that im very much looking forward to.

As for the bright lights....For me thats just what the doctor ordered , perfect for quality pics....i really can`t wait.

I'm pretty sure that you will have a very good meal. Indeed I hope it is special, as like me you are not averse to travelling great distances to eat good food.

However, having said that if you look upthread to my review of February 2009 you will perhaps understand why we have not been back. It clearly echoes what has been said above.

Thinking back, the meal was lacklustre and no where near as enjoyable to our previous visits, but more than anything else I could not forgive being so rudely ignored at the end.

We all have off days, thats for sure, and perhaps we shall return, but I have fealt no desire too, in the last couple of years.

As always I look forward to your excellent photos. I sincerely hope you have a ball.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Had a wonderful dinner at Le champignon sauvage , well worth the long journey from Cumbria to Cheltenham.We ended up being fortunate enough to be "cooked for" by David which really got us both excited.Menus were handed back to the staff and we were left in the hands of the kitchen team to do what they do best.

All in all it ended up at 12 courses and we were both struggling badly as we waited for coffee....and petits fours....all 10 of them.I forced myself with all my energy to clean them all up but failed on the fifth.I ended up with the little golden box and packed my treats into it to finish off for breakfast.

As for service...Absolutely spot on , well trained front of house staff and Chefs good lady wife Helen took care of us very professionally indeed.We got to meet the guys in the kitchen , all decent lads willing to offer assistance in any questions about the food.....Oh about those Scarlet Elf cups ????

( Full set of photos on flickr - sped98 gallery )

SOME PRE DINNER NIBBLES – PARMESAN CUSTARD IN CHORIZO CRUMBS , BRIOCHE CRISPS AND GROUND ELDER DIP , BACON AND SWEETCORN MUFFINS.

WALNUT AND BLUE CHEESE COOKIES , GUINNESS BREAD , SMOKED HORSERADISH AND PIGS EAR BISCUITS.

CHICKEN MUSHI WITH CAULIFLOWER FOAM.

DEXTER BEEF TARTARE AND CORNED BEEF,

WASABI CREAM, PICKLED SHIMEJI MUSHROOMS

DIVED SCALLOPS, ‘CROWN PRINCE’ PUMPKIN, CHESTNUT VELOUTÉ,

CHESTNUT AND WHITE BALSAMIC CARAMEL

ROASTED HAKE, PARSLEY ROOT PURÉE,

REMOULADE OF PARSLEY ROOT, CHICKEN JUICES

CORNISH DAB, BRAISED COCKS COMB, WILD GARLIC AND SCARLET ELF CUP FUNGI.

WINCHCOMBE VENISON, HOMEMADE BLACK PUDDING

SALT AND BURDOCK BAKED GOLDEN BEETROOT, ROASTED QUINCE

CARROT PORRIDGE, MILK FOAM

RHUBARB POACHED WITH HIBISCUS, MASCARPONE CREAM,

RHUBARB AND HIBISCUS SORBET, GIN AND TONIC SYRUP

VANILLA CHEESECAKE, SALTED CHICORY ROOT MOUSSE,

BITTER CHOCOLATE SORBET

COFFEE AND PETITS FOURS

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CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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