BIG announcement today: The search is over for the best coffee shop in town. We have a winner as of yesterday. BUT, because I’m dedicated to the cause, I will keep working my way round the rest of them – just in case. And anyhow, what’s good for lunch in the sunshine with the husband-t0-be (had to get that in there), might not be the place for an all-out breakfast or a long girly natter over a hot chocolate and piece of cake. So, I’m not retiring yet!
Hot Pepper Jelly, aka HPJ, on Suffolk Road, Cheltenham has had many a rave review, but our luck has not been in of late. First of all we walked down after work to give it a try, but to no avail as they’d shut up shop for the day, then we walked down a couple of Saturdays ago for a late lunch, only to find it was hosting a wedding party, and we, in our ripped jeans and tees weren’t invited. So, with a day off work yesterday, we chanced it for third time lucky. And our luck was well and truly in.
It was quite a muggy day, and we decided to bypass the indoor seating and hide away in the courtyard garden which is just magical and filled with French bistro style tables and chairs. Coloured lights and trinkets are strung on the walls with plants and flowers growing from giant pots and old oil canisters.
We both chose a sandwich: Kingsley the Shredded Beef and I the Halloumi, oh and a portion of chips to share (Kingsley was really miffed at the ‘sharing’ part).
I started worrying before our food arrived about that word ‘sandwich’. I almost always go for a baguette where there’s a choice and I could just imagine my pan-fried halloumi being stuffed between two slices of bread. I’m not an advocate for sliced bread; I’m more of a doorstep type girl, give me a crusty cob or a baguette – something big! I needn’t have worried, you can see from the photo’s below that my ‘sandwich’ was more than substantial served in toasted ciabatta.
Kingsley’s was hot shredded braised beef with lettuce, tomato and homemade BBQ sauce. My perfectly pan-fried halloumi was served with spicy humous, tomato, rocket, olive oil & balsamic. I don’t need to describe just how heavenly it is to bite into a toasted ciabatta filled with squeaky cheese do I? Oh I just did…heavenly. Carrying on the one-word reviews, I asked Kingsley and he said ‘meaty’. He is a man of few words, but I do believe there’s a compliment for the food in there. A man can’t live without meat can he? So much so, when I ordered the Halloumi Sandwich he looked at me like I was mad.
‘No meat?’ He asked, perplexed.
Poor guy, and to think I usually serve him up cheesy beans on toast (crusty cob of course) for lunch at home.
We were both agreed that this place hit the spot for lunch. And the great thing is, there’s loads more we both wanted to try on the menu, which means, we must go back! Such a hard life.