I have to start with a bit of a rant!
Just recently I’ve noticed a level of abuse against bloggers by some food writers. You see, the thing is we often get freebies and so it is said that any reviews myself and my lovely friends make on restaurants and other establishments have a total bias. This has made me feel a little stormy (not Daniels!) and it’s not true. We all have the same philosophy, if we can’t be positive, we don’t write about it! Simps! You will never be mislead reading these posts.
Having spent many years in the hospitality industry, I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people. A large proportion of these have been EU citizens. Without them, I am very, very concerned about how restaurants, hotels (and the NHS!) will survive. It is my own opinion that we should have a balanced immigration system but I sincerely hope that post BREXIT a positive outcome will allow us to welcome these hard-working, dedicated and customer friendly employees from across the sea.
Onwards to something more positive
It’s a year ago since the opening of Koj in Cheltenham. Andrew Kojima, who runs the place, was a Masterchef finalist in 2012. It fulfilled a dream for ‘Koj’ and he developed his skills before opening the eponymous restaurant in Regent Street last year. Koj is bright, articulate and passionate about his cuisine and he has taken on a Japanese style in the restaurant. Makes sense, as he is half Japanese. His passion extends to his desire to educate us all in the fact that Japanese cuisine is vast and varied and extends well beyond sushi. In fact he doesn’t serve sushi at all. Instead and, having eaten there a number of times, he offers a wonderful and varied style of cooking, including some dishes with his own interpretation, such as Koj Fried Chicken – a blissful dish. Don’t be put off by misconceptions of Japanese food culture. Go to Koj (make a booking). You won’t be disappointed.
Happy Birthday Koj. Here’s to many more!
So it’s been a bit of a Cheltenham experience recently
Later in the week we were invited to a bloggers dinner at The Find, just down the road from Koj, and again in Regent Street.
David Orme opened The Find 3 months ago, having returned to his home town after a successful career as an accountant but with some sad moments in his home life. For many years, David had a strong desire to open up something like The Find, which defined a vision in his life. David now runs the operation with his lovely partner, Claire Storey.
I’ve visited the cafe a couple of times since its opening and I’ve found it to be such a warm and welcoming place with great coffee and a brilliant selection of sweet things from The Salt Bakehouse and The Bakers Table as well as great offerings that they produce themselves.
David’s vision was to reproduce a Regency Coffee House, which he has achieved, and more. At the top of the lovely building is a shared workspace and a private room for meetings, interviews, presentations etc.
The ever lovely #sarahlewisloves seems anxious to get dinner under way. Such a charming room for a private dinner party
On Friday and Saturday evenings (hopefully to be extended soon) dinner is served. For our bloggers dinner we had a choice from the menu, which is not extensive (good sign!) but the food I chose, a classic sirloin steak with fries and béarnaise sauce was truly a steak which you could eat with a spoon!
A really superb collection of canapés as samples from the starter menu
The tenderest of sirloin steaks
……….and then came dessert. “How do I manage this on my own?”. Rich warm dark chocolate sauce with homemade marshmallows, profiteroles, brownies and strawberries. It was just for me but is essentially the ultimate sharing plate
Before dinner we were welcomed with a choice of cocktails, and canapés which represented a selection of starters from the menu, together with a wine tasting with Poulton Wines. This was a new discovery for me. Poulton Estate is a producer situated just outside Cirencester and producing some very fine and so local wines – which we enjoyed throughout dinner.
Natalie Murphy of Poulton Estates
David and Claire were supreme hosts and of course we were all in excellent company. If you haven’t come across any of my blogger pals, take a look @honeybourneline, @sarahlewisloves, @adamlewisloves, @thebrunchbros, @ladymckew. They all really know their stuff and are passionate about food and restaurants. We all had such fun!
Bloggers being bloggers @adamlewisloves @thebrunchbros
The Find is very special!
Keep watching out for Bazza’s next project!
Have a wonderful Easter weekend!