Bombay & Co

Is it possible that this is the best place to eat in Cheltenham right now? For me, it’s probably the best place I’ve ever eaten in Gloucestershire. Bold words, but here’s my logic..

Bombay & Co excites me. London life bleeds my time and energy to write reviews at my former pace, but I’m simply compelled as thought it’s my civic duty to make a public service announcement. This restaurant excites me like the discovery of a lost city or a new species of butterfly – I’m desperately trying to soak up the moment and relive the details before it’s changed forever more.

Forget the menu; just ask politely to be fed and trust your host to provide you with an array of street food, carefully and thoughtfully sequenced for maximum culinary impact on your taste buds.

Gushing reviews make me nauseous, but don’t despair, there’s balance that adds to the charm. Bombay & Co would have passed me by if it weren’t for a local pal dragging me to the crappy end of the High Street. First impressions and the all-important curb-appeal? My self-confessed snobbish standards would likely have kept me from ever passing through the wonky doors between the tatty drapes. Actually, maybe it’s been there for years and I’ve simply never even noticed it.

I’d usually write lots more and wax lyrical about the dishes themselves, the flavour combinations and layout on the plate etc, but I don’t want to spoil your own personal experience. Just let them take you on a street food journey – it’s so ridiculously cheap and remarkably good value for money that you simply can’t go wrong.

Who would have thought that cheap and nasty white burger buns would marry so well with Dabeli or Pav Bhajji. They import all their spices from India and make everything from scratch; Pani Pooori, Bombay Mix, the works. They’re even opening for breakfast every Sunday folks!

The cobbled, basic setup and graffiti artwork decoration is brilliant. Even the spelling mistakes – bonus points if you can spot one. Eating is all about the experience and if anything, I’d say that it heightened the senses, making the delectable flavours even more surprising, like a ingeniously engineered juxtaposition. It’s not, but it makes me smile to think that we’re all being duped and there’s a Michelin-starred kitchen and highly-polished brigade on the other side of the swing-door. Alas the FSA hygiene rating confirms there isn’t.

It’s the balance of food, atmosphere, price and environment that makes an eating establishment truly great and stand out above the rest. Friendly, relaxed, welcoming, cheap and above all else, delicious. I beg you Bombay & Co, please don’t change a thing. It’s inevitable that they eventually will, as success and recognition lead to change, so make the most of it whilst you can; get your tiffins at the ready, the spirit of Mumbai has arrived in the Cotswolds.

pani poori at Bombay & Co Cheltenham
Dosa at Bombay & Co Cheltenham
Tandoori Pomfret at Bombay & Co Cheltenham
deliciousness

Bombay @ Co:

337 High Street, Cheltenham, GL50 3HS

dine@bombaynco.uk

01242584301

@bombaynco

SandBar Tenby

Down an alley on Upper Frog Street, neatly tucked away in what reminds me of a trendy converted London mews, is the home of the Tenby Brewing Company and their relaxed, rather funky little SandBar.

This very pleasing oasis away from the buckets and spades of the town only serves products from independent producers – craft beer and spirits from across Wales and the UK. Good on you lads!

Keg beers

It’s really promising to see new ventures like this appearing in the harbour town of Tenby. The combination of quality craft beers and classic streetfood-styled cuisine has been an astronomical success on the East Coast of America, and I see the scene having an equally meteoric growth in the UK as well.

No fuss, reasonably-priced fare that hits the spot with big flavours, and puts a smile all over your face and cheese in your lap. (Hashtag: Please eat responsibly).. I’m on holiday, it’s allowed.

“We’re going to need a bigger boat…”

The Awesome Footlong

Fear not vegetarians, their ever-improving kitchen caters for you too – surprisingly delicious Katsu curry that rivals Wagamama on flavour and texture, flows effortlessly from the kitchen.

Sandbar Tenby Katsu Curry

The highlight for me? Flights. Probably the most generous beer sampling flights I’ve ever seen (please, please don’t change that!) Choose any 3 of their keg beers in ½ pint measures for just £5. As these are mostly punchy craft IPAs, the measures are perfect for sampling and sharing. Love what you’ve sampled; the bar has it’s own shop as well…

paddles

Yes, you still need a beer menu or at least tasting notes for your great range of beers guys, but you certainly get ‘two thumbs good’ from me.

More details at: http://www.tenbybrewingco.com

Stunning art at Sandbar

Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is simply bread without the second proving. I can assure you that this basic recipe will knock the socks off any breadmachine dough, and you’ll be surprised by just how easy it is to get delicious results. It doesn’t take as long as you’d think and much like baking bread, it’s brilliantly satisfying.

Felix making pizza

This recipe will easily make 4 large pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Tipo (00) Flour
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 14g Dried Yeast (or fresh if you have it)
  • 1tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 650ml Tepid Water
  • 4tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

Mix the yeast, sugar, oil and water together in a jug and leave it to stand for a couple of minutes.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and slowly incorporate the liquid. You can do this on a clean work surface if you have the space.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.

Pop it back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or a shower cap. The dough needs to be left in a warm place until it doubles in size. This usually takes about an hour.

fresh dough

Knock the dough back by giving it a very quick knead and then cut it into 4 pieces (or more for smaller pizzas).

The dough can be used straight away or wrapped in clingfilm and stored in the fridge for later.

It’s worth letting the dough rest for 10 minutes or so before rolling it out as it will be less springy and easier to shape. You’ll want the pizza base to be about 5mm thick.

Top your pizzas as you wish. I often cook a rich tomato sauce in advance, but passata or even purée will suffice if you don’t have the time – it just won’t taste quite as good.

Pizza ready to be cooked

Top tip: always drizzle your topped pizza with a little extra virgin olive oil before popping it in the oven.

Cook your pizzas at about 250°C for 7-10 minutes. Reduce the cooking time if you’re using a hotter oven such as the wood-fired variety.

freshly made pizza

I recently made Calzone for the first time – simply fold your pizza to make a large pasty shape and crimp the edge.

Fresh Calzone

Gorgeous Calzone

Simple. Street. Food.