Step inside the cozy cafe and be greeted by the beautiful fragrance of bacon, strong fresh coffee and the smiles of owners Julie and Gary … we’ve been in Cheltenham less than three weeks and have eaten here five or six times.
The downstairs is definitely snug, with a few very small tables crowded near the register and deli/pastry cases. Comfortable seating outside with a view of the Montpellier Gardens. For seating with a family, try going up the picturesque wooden stairs to the top floor, where you’ll find tables with seating for five and bright sunny windows overlooking the street. One of the many young women on staff will come by with menus and to take your order.
Upstairs or outside is great with kids. We tend to chase away the patrons who have come to have a quiet read and a nosh upstairs (sorry!). There is not a kids menu but the kitchen has been great about modifying orders to suit the kids’ tastes. (Exception is scrambled eggs, which I don’t think anyone in England knows how to make.)
Let me say to you: Bacon. Bacon. And more Bacon. Bacon with brie, bacon with avocado, bacon for breakfast, bacon for lunch, can you ever have enough bacon? To Americans the bacon will be extraordinary — more like ham steak or large slabs of Canadian bacon than what we think of as bacon. This is a good thing. Kids have enjoyed bacon baps (a bacon sandwich) as well as cheese toasties (grilled cheese) and smaller portions of a full English breakfast. (This is a large breakfast, which can be portioned out among more than one child.) Pastries like pain chocolate and croissants have also been delicious and fresh. Coffee and tea are both good, and generous in size. I’ve enjoyed trying out regional choices like cheese and pickle sandwiches, or brie and cranberry with (of course) bacon.
To be honest I’m not sure how the orders are rung up — sometimes we seem to pay more than I expect, sometimes less. We typically spend about 20 pounds for four meals, which seems reasonable for the area. The full English breakfast includes egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, two large slices of bacon, local sausage, four slices of toast, and orange juice, for 8 pounds. Many of the sandwiches are right about 4 pounds each, and large. It’s certainly worth it to me for great, homey food in a friendly environment with a great view. Please note THEY DO NOT TAKE CREDIT — this is a cash-only establishment. They are not open Sundays but are open Saturdays — opening time is about 8am and they close at a time which seems to change but is usually mid-afternoon.
Go for breakfast and you’ll be full all day. Go for lunch and you can skip dinner. If coffee and bacon smell like home to you, go for a whiff of comfort.