Kindness & Co.

How very refreshing. I ventured into Cheltenham’s newest café today and had the pleasure of sampling some of their healthy delights. That’s right, we Cheltonians now have our very own health food café in town, and it puts a smile on my face just knowing that it’s there. I have to say that there aren’t many establishments that have such an impressive ethos, nor that leave you feeling that your body and soul has been refreshed and revived.

flat white at Kindness & co

I haven’t followed the ‘clean eating’ trend over the last couple of years but I have to use the word here; everything is so fresh, zingy and simply ‘clean’ on the palate. It’s a revelation.. we’re seeing a food revolution. 

I usually get a little overexcited when eating out as it doesn’t happy very often; I opt for the most colossal daddy offering on the menu, which has me waddling out of the door with regret, irrespective of how well it’s executed.

This however, is something else. I feel virtuous on a number of levels. Even the cutlery is compostable ‘vegware’. Kindness & Co know that diet and nutrition are key to optimum well-being and they’re committed to helping you live a longer, healthier and ultimately happier life.

This is no Holland & Barrett with a coffee machine. Their focus is on creating stunning dishes from natural, unprocessed, unrefined, fresh ingredients (and they also make a mean Flat White too. Turmeric Latte? No problem).

salads and fishcake

One of my favourite features at Kindness & Co is that they don’t have a separate ‘kids menu’. It’s a particular bugbear of mine; lovely gastropubs, cafés and restaurants letting themselves down with the ubiquitous and pathetic sausage chips and beans/fish fingers chips and beans blah blah vomit. Kindness & Co are taking a stand and playing their part in the fight to change the status quo. Little people are like sponges, constantly influenced by everything around them, so it’s important to expose them to what adults eat, just in smaller portions.

choosing salads at Kindness & Co Cheltenham

Yeah, the space may be small, but this is a little gemstone in the heart of Cheltenham that I see as a game-changer. It’s well worth discovering for yourself.

Mrs FoodFitForFelix 

http://www.kindness-and-co.com/

38 Clarence Street, Cheltenham, 01242 697 211

KIBOU Sushi

Refreshingly friendly and attentive service, stunningly delicious Japanese cuisine and a cosy, boutique atmosphere – KIBOU leaves me thinking one thing: How have I not been here before!

Nestled in the heart of Cheltenham, down a few steps on Regent Street, you’ll find the most lovely little hideaway. My new happy place.

Expensive? Not really. Where else can you go for freshly prepared, beautiful sushi and sashimi? YoSushi? Pah; not in the same league – barely the same game!

I’d rather have just one perfect Nigiri than a hundred subpar imitations. Add into the mix a specials board, authentic Gunkan, Futomaki, Ramen and Temaki, and you’ll start to appreciate how it took us so long to decide what to order. Thankfully we had Sapporo and Kirin beer to grease the wheels. One thing I’ll order at every possible opportunity: Soft Shelled Crab. Heaven.

Japanese style tempura crab

 

Itadakimasu indeed!

With just 22 covers, make sure you book in advance.

KIBOUsushi, 18 Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HE – 01242300161

KIBOUsushi art

 

The Big Feastival

Last week we were lucky enough to visit The Big Feastival; a music and good food extravaganza of epic proportions. The brainchild of Jamie Oliver and Alex James of Blur fame, the event is beautifully colourful, refreshingly child friendly, and remarkably chilled out.  Hosted at Alex’s Kingham farm in the stunning Cotswolds, it’s only a short drive from Cheltenham and fortuitously across the road from the local railway station.

Felix @ Festival

Featuring multiple music stages and a plethora of delectable eating establishments, it’s like heaven in a field. My lovely wife even got to sit across a kitchen table from Raymond Blanc in one of the many talks, Q&A sessions and live demonstrations that ran throughout the event. What a way to spend a weekend. Alas we didn’t get to pitch a tent to make the most of the festivities, but thankfully there’s always next year!

We were all super impressed by the setup and layout – it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. It’s certainly a great introduction to a music festival for the younglings.

Felix & Winter

There’s just so much on offer that you find yourself wanting to graze all day. We had the joy of sampling what I have to say was the finest cheese toastie I’ve ever snaffled, crafted by the one and only Henry Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery. It’s inspiring to see something so humble elevated to gourmet heights through the introduction of a little love, thought and patience.

Winter eating a toastie

Felix and the Toastie

Hobbs House at the Big Feastival

The Feastival may be expensive, but in the scheme of things, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. The Feastival attracts big names in music and equally big names from the restaurant scene and culinary arts. The fact that it raises money for the Food Foundation charity is the icing on the cake for me.

Would I recommend it? Hell yes! Highlight of the year.

Oh, and you might even spot a few celebs…

Jamie and Alex

Check out the website for further info: www.jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival/

The Plough at Ford

The setting was fabulous, the architecture and décor transported me back in time and warmed my soul. The service really was wonderful and the food was reasonable. Local game (mostly in season) and homemade food, honest and well-proportioned.

The Plough

I liked it. But… what’s with children’s menus being so lame? I understand that you get fussy children that are fed rubbish most of the time and that restaurants want to cater for the masses, but it breaks my heart to see fantastic local Gloucestershire Old Spot sausages chucked on a sea of baked beans and piled high with nasty looking chips. #uninspired

I couldn’t even bring myself to photograph the plate.

Kids menus are equally important, and if we start to think about building good food habits and laying the foundations for our future generations… you can see where I’m going with this.

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in France as a child, eating out most of the time and experiencing a broad range of gastronomic delights. I’m fairly convinced that my views on food were forged during that time and led to my current fascination with all things edible. I don’t recall ever seeing a ‘kids menu’. We ate what our parents ate, and never questioned it; we didn’t know any different. Snails, fish on the bone, frogs legs, clams, wild boar…

Our children are adventurous when it comes to food, and it’s all down to getting in there early and sowing the right seeds in their minds. Most people don’t like the thought of eating, say, tripe. Urgh. How many of those people have ever actually even tried it? Do you think that maybe they’ve simply been influenced by those around them?

Back to the Plough, and needless to say, our 4 and 6-year-old tried the rabbit, venison and pheasant. No fuss, no complaints.

The weather was great, allowing the children to make good use of the awesome fort in their spacious beer garden. It’ll certainly be a destination for us in the future.

www.theploughinnford.co.uk

Felix

Breaking The Law

Jailbreak.  If you like beer and you’re anywhere near Baltimore or Washington, you should pay these guys a visit. So let’s set the scene. Nestled in Laurel and founded by Kasey Turner and Justin Bonner, Jailbreak is a relaxed, inviting and generally cool little bar. Actually, it’s rather spacious.  Most importantly, it’s an awesome microbrewery producing knock-out beers. Jailbreak Laurel

I love the fact that the bar looks straight into the brewery through a huge glass wall. This place is clean, calculated and professional, yet laid back and unpretentious.

Now here’s something I found interesting: craft beers in the US are predominantly canned. Their cans are lined, keeping the beer in great condition and preventing the metallic, ‘tinny’ taste provided you drink it from a glass. Cans have a bad reputation in the UK, with consumers associating them with lower quality and ‘park-bench-drinkers’. It’s cheaper than buying beer in bottles, and without venturing into the BPA debate here, I’d say that I’m all for switching; surely it makes sense for everyone? The positives really do stack up – the beer stays fresher, as unlike bottles the cans prevent light getting to it. Shipping and environmental costs are reduced, as cans are much lighter and less bulky – we all know that cans are easier to carry… I’ve smashed plenty of bottles en-route to picnics and parties; so much safer on camping trips. Impatient? The thermodynamic properties mean your beer will chill quicker in the fridge/ice bucket.

Jailbreak Brewing Co. beer

Jailbreak’s beers are quirky and exciting. For me, it was all about the Dusk till Dawn, an imperial espresso stout packing a 10.6% punch in the face. Key Lime Pale Ale anyone? What about a basil infused Belgian style wheat beer: ‘Made Wit Basil’? Clever. Check out jailbreakbrewing.com for further info.

Right.  So this is where it gets really interesting. Jailbreak stood out for me as their bar supports local food trucks. Now, in the UK, most people would turn their noses up at this point and conjure up images of dirty burger vans and the smell of fried onions. Think again. We’re talking the real deal. Jailbreak advertises which trucks are going to be parked up outside the front door each day, and even more astonishingly awesome, you place your order and they give you a pager to let you know when to pop outside and collect it. I’ve never known a pub to allow you to bring your dinner in and eat it at the bar.

Food TruckT&J Waffles fayreNaughty Chicken Waffles

As T & J Waffles had the prime spot, we went for Chicken Waffles (When in Rome…) and sampled the salmon for good measure. Good with beer? – how couldn’t it be.

To top off this visit, we got an impromptu brewery tour. I kid you not. Could this night get any better?

Touring Jailbreak Brewing Company

You Sir, are a Legend.

view of the bar from the brewery

A privileged view of Jailbreak Brewing Co. Bar

Did we hit a few beers and pick up a few more from the fridge to keep us going?  You betcha.

6-pack of Big Punisher

Funky carrier, but I’m sure our flimsy translucent ones must be better for the environment..? Discuss.

Keep up the good work Jailbreak – I can’t wait to be back in town.