Le Champignon Sauvage resides in the historic spa town of Cheltenham. It’s run by husband and wife team David Everitt-Matthias in the kitchen and Helen out the front and they’ve proudly held their two Michelin stars for numerous years. We hoped that the 2 hour 45 minute drive from London (with slight traffic) for lunch would be worth it and we were relived to say that it was.
The dining room was a light space with thick carpet, spacious tables and vibrant art hanging on the walls. I wouldn’t say it’s the most modern of dining rooms but it had a very relaxed and comfortable feel to it.
We decided to order from the set lunch menu which was £32 for three courses.
Some canapes kicked things off which looked beautiful. The warm blue cheese cookies and thin crisp rye bread with beetroot tasted divine. This was followed by a shot of warm liquid cauliflower with a cumin foam which was simply amazing.
Freshly baked bread was great, the granary roll was totally moreish but the winner for me was the bacon brioche. Full of bacony flavour and once smothered with butter it was the perfect thing to be eating on such a cold day.
My gentleman companion started with the seared grey mullet, salt baked celeriac, apple and celeriac puree which looked very pretty indeed. The skin on the fish was insanely crunchy yet the flesh below remained soft and delicate. He couldn’t taste any apple in the dish but the little piles of celeriac ribbons had a real flavour of wholegrain mustard which was delicious.
My starter of braised ox cheek, watercress risotto and mustard foam was a very generous portion. The cheek was tender and the risotto cooked perfectly – there was nothing not to like in this yummy dish.
My gentleman companion’s main of confit Gressingham duck leg, pickled carrots, white bean and smoked bacon was a big bit of duck leg and it was cooked perfectly – really moist and not at all dry or stringy. In fact it was the best duck leg he’d ever had. The pickled carrots added texture to the soft white beans, everything worked really well.
I went for the crisp pork belly, sautéed squid, pork mince and mousseline potato. The pork belly had a lovely layer of crunchy crackling on top and the squid was beautifully tender but it was lost against the strong flavour of the pork. It didn’t stop me enjoying every mouthful though!
Desserts were delightful. The chocolate and peanut delice, popcorn and caramel ice cream was perfectly rich yet not at all sickly. The popcorn added texture to to the silky smooth chocolate mousse and the sweet caramel ice cream.
The warm pineapple cake, coconut parfait, rum and raisin puree gave a real kick of rum with every mouthful which I loved. The coconut blended brilliantly with the soft pineapple cake – this was a really hearty dessert yet it was elegantly presented.
A generous selection of petit fours then followed and there wasn’t one we didn’t like – the chocolate truffle and the chewy nougat were my favourites.
There was nothing whacky about the food we had eaten it was simple flavour combinations which were cooked to an extremely high standard. From the minute we walked in the door the service was faultless – Helen greeted us with such a warm welcome and the friendliness continued throughout our lunch which made our visit to Le Champignon Sauvage thoroughly worth the journey.