Savaging Le Champignon Sauvage

We had heard so many good things about Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham that we had high hopes. A moment’s doubt crossed our minds when we saw the hideous dining room, but that wouldn’t matter as long as the food was all that we had been promised. It wasn’t. Indeed, it was one of the most shockingly abysmal meals it has been our displeasure not to have avoided eating.

The menu was short and focussed, with a few interesting sounding dishes. As we read this they brought us a few amuses bouches. The cube of parmesan mousse dusted with chorizo powder was quite interesting. There was also a ball of deep-fried rice flavoured with cheese, this too seemed good. The final amuse bouche was a brownie tuile with basil cream which was staggeringly dull.

After we’d chosen they brought out a pre-starter of mushroom and coconut veloute with sage foam. The sage foam was pretty good, but the veloute really lacked flavour, it was bland. We would come to realise bland would be the best we’d get here.

Then things got really bad. We both ordered seared scallops with pig’s head carpaccio and pear puree. It looked like a poorly-maintained compost heap. The slice of pig’s head tasted fine, slow cooked but a bit mushy. The scallops, oh dear the scallops. They had not so much been seared rather used as a re-entry shield for the last space shuttle mission. Never have we eaten such leathery, dry and generally overcooked scallops. This was a shockingly, mind-bendingly bad starter and we should have walked out at that point.

My main course could have been served at any crap boozer in the country. There was a piece of utterly flavourless lamb (which at least was not overcooked) with a miniscule portion of tedious goats’ cheese mash and pointless grilled spring onions. The sauce it was smothered in was hackneyed, clichéd and trite: not so far away from pissy pub gravy.

Their attempt for Daniel was a random collection of things that had just been thrown together without any thought as to whether any matched. His piece of cod was overcooked and flavourless, there were some hellishly crunchy squid which they also must have started cooking in a thermonuclear-powered oven last week. There was a nice part to this dish, which was a slice of pork belly, but when you’ve been served a plate of mostly filth a slice of half decent meat does not really excite. It was all so bland. So very bland.

We didn’t order dessert. Would you want more of this appallingly prepared, dull food? Not for us.

The wine list was dull, not the most expensive we have seen, but the shocking dreadfulness of the food and the horrific design of the dining room are more serious problems with this little restaurant of horrors.

Such a disappointment, we were so looking forward to it. We were prepared to give this place the benefit of the doubt if they had any slight misses, but it was far, far too horrible to do anything but hate it. I suppose it was pleasing that the restaurant was half empty. It is a bit of a mystery how supposedly reliable people can rate this shit, it was clearly sub standard.

Contact details Le Champignon Sauvage, 24-26 Suffolk Road, Cheltenham GL20 2AQ. Telephone: 01242 573449.

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