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Saturday, 17 October 2009


Birthdays, believe it or not this one time of year that most thirty plus people dread need not be such a time for depressive episodes or those sleepless nights staring into space that even sheep counting cannot pacify, tossing and turning whilst worrying about wrinkles and such. Use this magical time in your life as an excuse to visit a top restaurant, this is exactly what we did recently. The restaurant in question Le Champignon Sauvage just happens to be an all time favourite of ours, so much so that it could possibly leave us in danger of not visiting any other establishments for the foreseeable future. I do not feel for this reason that i can give an unbiased account of our meal this time or on the previous visits but what i can do is tell you about the wonderful experience that Le Champignon Sauvage offers, the beautiful cooking, the warm welcome and great ambiance.

First a little background Le Champignon Sauvage is located in Cheltenham - Gloucestershire, nestling on the edge of the delightful Cotswold's. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team with a very small brigade in the kitchen and two extra staff front of house. The couple are probably one of the most respected in the restaurant industry, due to there dedication to there restaurant with David never missing a kitchen service since opening. Helen his wife deserves equal credit for the way she runs the front of house. With two Michelin stars , 8/10 in the good food guide, 4 AA stars, Cateys,chef of the year and a list of awards and achievements too long to list, this is a serious restaurant at the top of it's game but without a hint of attitude. As paying customers you are made more than welcome. The meal will start with elegant little Gougeres, lovingly handmade at the restaurant, then a shot glass of soup with a froth or foam on top. Pea and coconut is just one of the few we have had. These two amuses are as much a part of the restaurant as the two michelin stars. Breads are too die for, normally presented in 3 -4 different variety's, and all hand baked on the premises. There is a choice of two menus one priced at £25 for two courses and £30 for three courses, which allows you to substitute a cheese course for dessert or cheese as a separate course for £9 supplement (cheese comes with handmade biscuits and bread ,made on the premises).The second menu is priced at £45 for two courses, £55 for three courses or £64 for three courses and cheese. The second menu naturally makes use of more expensive ingredients such as scallops. Coffee and petit fours are £3 per a person and really showcase the skill that this establishment operates at. Mini rum baba, chocolates and nougat can be found among the offerings. The style of cooking is French with inspiration coming from across the globe. Although the cooking has it's roots in the Terroir modern methods are embraced but not abused, and clever use of wild and foraged foods abound. This restaurant proves that good ingredients, skills and knowledge can produce exceptional food from sometimes humble ingredients. On my last visit to start, i ordered a Thai vegetable broth with lemongrass oil which actually tasted of Thailand rather than a miss matched grouping of south east Asian ingredients, for main course i had lamb with Moroccan spices and a chick pea puree, which had been elevated to new heights.

David Everitt Matthias is perhaps one of the only truly world class chefs that Britain has produced as not many can claim the level of skill, knowledge and expertise across all departments in the kitchen and not forgetting skills in wild foods and butchery. I like to think of David Everitt Matthias as Britain's answer to Thomas Keller, but as the saying goes behind every great man is a women and this truly is the case. What would Le Champignon Sauvage be with only excellent cooking, the whole experience is not just based on food alone. The service from the start to finish is truly great with everyone made to feel a part of the restaurant experience.

But the one question i have and i do know others often ask, is why do they only have two Michelin stars? Is it because thirty staff are not on hand? The cooking is of three star quality and the service can match. It is about time Michelin gave this restaurant the credit that is so deserved.

24-28 Suffolk Road



GL50 2AQ

  • Tel . 01242 573449

Open for lunch and dinner tuesday to saturday.

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