A Table: L’Artisan restaurant review

Fresh from reviewing the Pâtisserie Deux Amis in London last week, I visited L’Artisan,  a French restaurant in Cheltenham, yesterday evening.

You can read my review of the Pâtisserie Deux Amis here if you so desire… 🙂

Last night, the fantastic meal that we had at L’Artisan just goes to show that you don’t even have to travel to France to eat delicious French food 🙂

L’Artisan restaurant review

Address: 30 Clarence St, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3NX.

Website: http://lartisan-restaurant.com/  

Opening hours: 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 9:30pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and closed on Sunday and Monday.

Where it is: The restaurant is right in the centre of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. It’s a two-minute walk from the Promenade, one of Cheltenham’s main shopping streets.

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The entrance of L’Artisan restaurant in Cheltenham.
How to get there: If you’re travelling in by bus, the main bus stops for the local 94 and 10 buses are on the Promenade in central Cheltenham.

It’s four minutes’ walk from the bus stops to the restaurant via Crescent Terrace, Clarence Parade and Clarence Street –directions are available here.

Or if you’d like to travel into Cheltenham by train, it’s just over twenty minutes’ walk from the railway station on Queens’ Road to L’Artisan restaurant – you can find a map and directions here.

The nearest car park is the Regent Arcade car park, which is three minutes’ walk from the restaurant.

The Brewery NCP car park, also in central Cheltenham, is a seven-minute walk from L’Artisan.

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The location of L’Artisan restaurant in Cheltenham town centre.
What it’s like: We’d reserved a table on the ground floor for 7pm, and there were already a few other people seated by the time we arrived.

Once inside, we were made to feel very welcome by French-born Elisabeth, who runs the restaurant with her husband Yves. The other members of staff, who are all French, were also very attentive and kind.

A speaker near the front door played a French language soundtrack during the meal, with songs by Édith Piaf and Jacques Brel to name just a few artists, which I thought was a very nice touch.

The music was kept at a reasonable volume, and the high ceilings meant that it was easy to keep a conversation going even with the background music and other diners there.

What we ate: After we’d ordered our drinks and the food, we were each given an amuse-bouche in a small china ramekin. This was king prawns cooked with dill, and was a lovely way to start the meal.

King prawn amuse-bouche
Beginnings: amuse-bouche with king prawns to start off the meal.
They also had a bread basket with delicious home-made breads to choose from.

I had a slice of the sun-dried tomato bread, and Alex went for a piece of the olive bread.  Both slices were fresh and warm, with a satisfyingly crunchy crust.

There were so many tasty-looking options on the menu that it was difficult to pick just one starter or main(!!)

I chose duck cooked three ways – a duck raviole, duck pâté and smoked duck – as a starter.

The raviole was a crispy crimped pastry with pieces of duck in the middle, while the pâté was light with good meaty flavours.

I also enjoyed the smoked duck, which was served as slightly salty marbled rashers lying flat on the plate. They worked really well as a way of bringing the whole dish together.

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My starter: duck cooked three ways.
For the main course, I had rabbit leg with vegetables cooked in mustard and cream. The rabbit was very tender, and went very well with the rich and aromatic sauce.

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My main course – rabbit leg cooked in mustard and cream sauce.
Alex had scallops and king prawns on Corsican ewe’s milk cheese for the starter, and a bourride (Provençal fish stew) with cod and prawns for her main course.

She was given a ‘magic serviette’ as her starter was brought out, which we both thought was quite cool.

For those not yet in the know, magic serviettes are nifty little things that come tightly folded in a ball. All you have to do is pour water on the serviette … et voilà ! You have a full-size napkin ready to be used.

Both of Alex’s courses were full of flavour – a particular highlight was the potatoes Dauphinoise served with the main. They were beautifully fluffy and topped with hot melted cheese, and were a delicious and comforting part of the dish.

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Alex’s starter (king prawns and scallops served with Corsican ewe’s milk cheese).
We finished with a dark chocolate fondant and one of their dessert specials, a lemon mousse in a white chocolate dome.

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Alex’s dessert: lemon mousse in a white chocolate dome served with strawberries.
The fondant had a beautifully silky molten chocolate centre, covered by a crisp chocolate crumb.

It was served with a small spoon made out of pistachio biscuit, and also came with pistachio ice-cream in a biscuit basket.

The sweet and earthy richness of the chocolate was a perfect contrast to the fruity lemon mousse.

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The chocolate fondant served with pistachio ice-cream in a biscuit basket, a pistachio biscuit spoon and strawberries and blueberries.
What we drank: Wanting to get into the French vibe as soon as possible, we ordered an apéro each to start – a Kir Royal, with blackcurrant, and Kir à la pêche, with peach. Both drinks were cool and refreshing, and were great for getting us ready for the rest of the meal.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you les apéritifs: peach liqueur-flavoured Kir at the front and Kir Royale further back.
At the end of meal, we had an espresso and tea, which both came with little china pots of chocolate ganache.

Head chef Yves, who owns the restaurant with his wife Elisabeth, passed by our table at the end of the evening to talk to us about the meal. We thought this was a lovely way to finish off the evening.

Both of us were really impressed by the effort that the restaurant’s staff and owners put in to care for their customers. It felt more like being welcomed into someone’s home for dinner than eating in a restaurant.

The food was delicious and extremely well presented, and this was made even better by the friendly and relaxed ambience in the restaurant.

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An espresso served with a pot of chocolate ganache at the end of the meal.
 Have you visited L’Artisan restaurant in Cheltenham before? It would be great to hear from you if you’re planning on going, or if you’ve already been 🙂 

What are your favourite French restaurants (in France and elsewhere)?

Let me know in the comment box below, or you can also reach me on Twitter and Instagram! 🙂

Bon jeudi, mes chéris !

 

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