Restaurant Review: The Parrot Bar & Grill in Cheltenham review
A Parrot, a Maitre’d - and a juicy steak!
A long time ago I used to frequent a watering hole in the centre of Cheltenham called The Fountain. Many fond memories, of which I can barely remember for some strange reason.
Almost twenty years later I visited that same pub but how it has changed. From the front it is still a superb Regency building, but as I walked in to The Parrot, as it is now called, the transformation was quite amazing – a warm, vibrant and friendly bar and restaurant. In January 2011, a refurbishment of exceptional quality and zest, now boasts a real feeling of contemporary decadence with comfy leather chairs and sofas and warm colours to reflect the welcoming mood. The cleverly designed interior is split into a casual area for drinking and relaxing, whilst the other half, is a smart dining area.
The owners of the Parrot decided to concentrate on a ‘steakhouse’ style bar and grill, making it the only one in Cheltenham. A gap in the market, which they seem to have successfully filled.
A small party of us were greeted by Rob, a well-dressed, charming South African maitre’d. Initial drink orders were taken and menus handed around. A very knowledgeable Rob was on hand to suggest and assist in our ordering.
My wife, a ‘veggie who eats fish’, was a tad apprehensive beforehand as to the options, knowing she was dining out at a steakhouse. Was she right to be so? She shouldn’t have worried. Very satisfied with the choices on offer she decided to try a baked field mushroom for a starter and a main from the ‘special’s board’ of Spinach & Quorn in Cream Sauce with a Puff Pastry top, chosen instead of the equally inviting mushroom risotto.
Meanwhile the ‘carnivores’, including myself were drooling at the ‘meatfest’ side of the Parrot menu. Ordering complete with the help of Rob, we were ushered to our tables – pre-ordered bottles of wine greeting us.
Not long afterwards, the starters arrived. I noticed a few of the Explore Gloucestershire team had opted for the field mushrooms, I myself went for a revamped 1980’s classic – the prawn cocktail, with an abundance of prawns. Other starters included homemade paté and lobster bisque – both of which I sampled – and both were delicious!
I must say at this point the conversation was flowing (as was the wine), but I felt incredibly at ease, much of which was down to the company, but equally the casual ambiance of the Parrot and its team too.
So on to the much-anticipated main course. I love steak and I’ve had a fair few in the past, some good, some bad but what came out was jaw-droppingly huge and delicious. The 16oz Hereford Angus T-Bone was cooked to perfection – spot on medium rare.
The evening at this point went into quiet time as everybody stopped talking and devoured their dishes. Meat frenzy (apart from my good lady) had begun. On the table was a four rack of lamb, big steaks, bigger steaks, even bigger steaks and next to me the chunk that was a 24oz local Cotswold ‘Tomahawk’ Ribeye – next time I thought, “you’re mine!”.
I opted for new potatoes instead of chips, and with tomatoes, mushrooms and the most gorgeous fresh home made onion rings (definitely not frozen) to accompany the steak as well as a brandy and peppercorn sauce.
Passing on the pudd, for obvious reasons, various desserts were spread around the table and a few moans of delight were heard.
To sum up, with starters from £4 - £6, the steaks from £10.80 - £24.95 (it was big), and the deserts around £5, the prices were very reasonable for the standard of food and service. A great night was had by all.
Would I go again?
What do you think?
The Parrot Bar & Grill, Cheltenham - Review
18 February 2011