Well, what can I say?

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I had had some excellent meals, delicious food, well presented and very tasty.

So when I ordered a starter of Sweet Vietnamese Chicken Wings I had quite high expectations.

The bowl arrived promptly and I did think they looked good.

These were crunchy coated chicken wings in a sweet chilli sauce dressed with sesame seeds.

However, I was in the end quite disappointed. They weren’t quite what I was expecting. They tasted overcooked and as you might expect the sweet chilli sauce was a little overpowering. There wasn’t too much of a crunch either. Whereas with most meals I’ve at Drayton Court Hotel I would order them again, the chicken wings, I wouldn’t.

Nice macchiato, back then

The Coffee Dispensary

I had a nice coffee at The Coffee Dispensary in Cheltenham and was reminded that I had first visited the place back in August 2019, but hadn’t written about it.

Back then having had some lunch I wanted a coffee, so looked around and decided that though I could go somewhere like Caffe Nero, I quite liked the look of The Coffee Dispensary.

I went in and ordered a macchiato.

It came in a glass and looked great and tasted delicious.

At the time I had expected to be visiting Cheltenham on a regular basis for work, I was there again in January 2020. However the pandemic intervened and I didn’t get back to Cheltenham for work until May 2022. Though I did a social visit to Cheltenham in September 2020 when I had some nice coffee then as well.

Nice to be back

The Coffee Dispensary

I was in Cheltenham and had some time for a coffee. Wondering where to go I saw The Coffee Dispensary. I had been there in August 2019 and had a great macchiato back then (but didn’t blog about it). There is a nice calm environment, and they have seating inside and outside. As well as coffee they have a range of cakes and do sandwiches at lunchtime. I was a given a warm friendly welcome I ordered a flat white and took a seat. My flat white was brought over promptly. 

flat white

It was well made and a good coffee. Nice to be back.

Pan-Roasted Cornish Hake

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel overnight I had a meal. I went down to eat, planning to have the roasted belly of pork, only to find that they had changed the menu overnight!

So in the end, I chose the pan-roasted Cornish hake with St Austell Bay mussel velouté and sea vegetables.

pan-roasted Cornish hake with St Austell Bay mussel velouté and sea vegetables

The dish looked fantastic, a nice piece of fish on a bed of vegetables and there were a number of mussels in the velouté.

The fish was well cooked and the sea vegetables added different tastes and texture to the dish. The velouté was smooth and creamy. I only wish I had a spoon to finish it off.

Though I think the dish was as nice as it was, I think some bread would have been a nice accompaniment. If I was cooking it at home I might have served it with some creamy mashed potato.

Paella problem

Authentic “Paella"

Made a paella this evening, using my usual technique, but when we came to eat it, it didn’t taste quite right. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it and then I remembered that I hadn’t added any stock to the dish. I had just used some water. I was quite surprised by how much the stock added, and how different the paella was when it was missing.

Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza

I have had the Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza before, which apart from the chilli I had enjoyed. On a visit to Bella Italia for my birthday back in April I decided to have the pizza again. The Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza comes with basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

I did enjoy the white base, and toppings. I did this time remove most of the chillis.

Steak and Chips

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel another night I had another meal.

This time I went for the steak and chips. This was described on the menu as Owton’s dry-aged 12oz sirloin steak on the bone, triple cooked chips, watercress & pickled shallot salad, peppercorn sauce.

I didn’t read the menu properly, so didn’t realise that this was steak on the bone. I asked for it rare, mainly that I find too often steaks are over-cooked, however this steak was cooked rare. It was a nice steak and I enjoyed the peppercorn sauce as well.

I am not a fan of triple cooked chips, it feels like they are overcooked, but these were okay. They were nice and crispy and did taste of potato. The salad garnish was simple, but rather good.

Overall it was a nice plate of food, but I do feel it could have been better.

Crispy Duck Leg Cassoulet

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel having had a great starter for my evening meal, it was then onto the main course.

I had ordered the Crispy Gressingham duck leg, which was served with a bacon, sausage and bean cassoulet.

It was supposed to come with a parsley crumb I think, but there was crispy kale instead.

I had had a really nice duck cassoulet at Côte Brasserie at the end of last year, so it wasn’t too surprising that I compared the two dishes as I tucked into the cassoulet from the Drayton Court Hotel. The duck was tender, but I do think the skin onto could have been crispier. The cassoulet though was rather good, filled with bacon, sausages and beans. I also enjoyed the crispy kale that garnished the dish. 

Overall I think both dishes were great, I preferred the duck at Côte, and it was difficult to choose between the cassoulets, but Drayton Court had the edge.

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I did quite fancy a starter with my evening meal. The menu talks about bar snacks, rather than starters. However one item on the menu caught my eye, which was fish tacos with mango salsa. I liked the idea of that so I ordered it.

The dish arrived promptly. It comprised three tacos, each was served with a piece of fish in a crunchy coating, shredded lettuce, mayo and the aforementioned mango salsa.

The fish was nice, full of flavour, the mango salsa was nice as well. The actual tacos though were a little dry and tough, as though they spent too long hanging around. I would have preferred mine to be warm and soft, rather than dry and hard. Having said that I would order them again.

Nice Flat White

I was at an event in East London. I had caught the Central Line to Mile End.

Having left myself plenty of time I stopped for coffee at the Costa opposite the station. I had a flat white.

There was plenty of room and I went upstairs and enjoyed my coffee whilst checking e-mail and doing some work.