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The Courtyard Restaurant

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My husband and I visited The Courtyard Restaurant in Montpellier on a freezing cold snowy Wednesday evening in early December. We arrived fashionably late – only five minutes actually – but then the snow was an excuse. We were made instantly welcome.

We spent ages perusing the menu which like in most good restaurants was fairly short, but I still couldn’t make my mind up! I’m a great fan of starters and I had to choose between such delights as Warm Cotswold Partridge, Tarragon and Mixed Seafood en Croute, Carpaccio of Best End Beef and Griddled Gruyere Cheese. I chose the Griddled Gruyere at £5.50 while my husband chose the Seafood en Croute at £6.25.

The mains were equally interesting and included Cumin Spiced Hot Halloumi, Roast Bacon Wrapped Pheasant and Seafood and Afghan Saffron Risotto. I chose the risotto at £14.90 while my husband chose the28 Day Hung Herb Wrapped Rib Eye Steak with Spiced Texan fries at £16.95. He gets withdrawal symptoms if something on his plate isn’t spicy! Also on the menu was Chateau Briand to share at £33 for two.

My starter looked absolutely gorgeous, the griddled cheese topped with Cranberry and Port compote and wilted leaves. My husband, a bit of a ‘foodie’ informed me that he could taste the Tarragon coming through the Seafood en Croute. I could taste the Chardonnay coming through in my extra large glass.

By the time our mains arrived, we had forgotten the snow and were feeling quite cosy, the large front windows giving us a lovely view of the Christmas trees with their twinkling lights. My risotto arrived in a bowl all piled up with king prawns and mussels in their shells. My husband’s steak looked juicy and delicious, even to someone like me who doesn’t eat red meat! Everything was very tasty and my risotto was filling and warming.

Now at the beginning I swore I wouldn’t have a pudding but I can’t say no to a good crumble and this one was invitingly described as Spiced Mulled Brandy Apple Oat Crumble with custard. Who could resist! My husband went for the less romantically named Sticky Toffee Pudding with ice cream.

James, the head chef at the Courtyard, trained at the Close Hotel and Calcot Manor in Tetbury and sites his influences as Michael Caines, Raymond Blanc, Keith Floyd and Rick Stein. He is a classically trained chef who uses these influences together with his travels to ‘mix things up a little’ in the predominantly French, Spanish, Italian and Mediterranean inspired cuisine. He is very particular about the ingredients he uses and much of the produce is sourced from local suppliers.

The Courtyard is located in:
Montpellier Street, Montpellier, Cheltenham GL50 1SR. Tel: 01242 255636

Website: www.thecourtyardcheltenham.co.uk

It is open Tuesday to Friday from 6pm - 10pm, Saturday Lunch from Midday - 4pm, Saturday Evening from 6pm - 10pm and closed on Sunday and Monday.