Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Purslane, Cheltenham restaurant review

A good friend of mine reckons it’s much better to go to a restaurant for lunch rather than dinner.

His argument is based on the availability of great value set menus (see Cardiff's Asador 44, Arbennig and Milkwood, all of which offer 3 courses for £20 or less) and the fact there are normally fewer dishes available to mess-up.

With this theory in mind, Mrs G and I visited Purslane in Cheltenham, the kind of high end neighbourhood bistro I wish was located around the corner from my house.

Whilst they have an a la carte menu available with starters weighing in at £10, mains £22 and desserts £9, their concise working lunch menu offers three courses for a fantastic £18. 

It’s rare that the accompaniments show up the bread (£4) but a light and smokey taramasalata topped with crisp puffed rice and whipped butter sprinkled with seaweed powder were both absolutely belting. In contrast, slices of crisp wholemeal bread and fennel seed dotted rolls were good but a mini soda bread loaf was dense and dry. 

To start, a supremely creamy bowl of white asparagus veloute was joined by a picturesque linseed cracker topped with light cod brandade and pearls of salty caviar. 

A cylinder of yielding and deeply meaty slow-cooked hogget shoulder was joined by cleverly crisp roast heritage carrots, a good dollop of buttery chive mash, charred leaves of hispi cabbage, sweet carrot puree and a first rate glossy sauce. This was cooking of the highest calibre. 

Across the table, Mrs G had a stonking plate of fish and chips. A flaky cornish ling fillet coated in airy and crisp beer batter sat atop a mound of mint twanged crushed peas. 

Triple cooked chips were exemplary - extremely crisp on the outside with fluffy interiors. Richness balancing tartare sauce was loaded with citrus, capers and parsley. 

Creamed spinach (£4) saw lightly wilted leaves bathed in a liberal amount of dairy and topped with a crunchy and hyper-meaty bone marrow crumb. 

The only dessert on offer, sticky toffee pudding was a perfect example.   

Super soft and moist, every pore of the pudding was infused with rich toffee sauce. A not-too-sweet and slightly bitter Guinness ice cream was the perfect foil.

We had a fantastically tasty and good value lunch at Purslane. I think I might have joined Team Lunch.

The Details:

Address - Purslane, 16 Rodney Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1JJ
Telephone - 01242 321639

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