Brew & Bake, as you might well know, is a coffee shop on the Bath Road in Cheltenham. Mark, the guy behind it all, produces everything on site (apart from the bread which comes from the one and only Hobbs House). Because Mark’s skills go way beyond cakes and sarnies, they run a monthly supper club known as the Brew & Bake Pop Up Restaurant.
This pop-up has been popping up for quite some time now but it has always clashed with stuff in my diary – until now. As soon as I saw the June date, I checked my diary, saw it was free and scribbled it in right away. Within ten minutes, we’d reserved a table and pre-ordered from the three course menu.
There are two sittings to choose from – 6pm and 8pm. We knew we wouldn’t be able to wait it out until 8pm so we opted for the early sitting. We turned up (a little sweaty after hot-footing it after work) with a bag of wine and beer (it’s a bring-your-own type affair) and took a seat in anticipation of…our very first pop-up experience.
First up we had a board of Hobbs House bread with dips, very quickly followed by our starters. Kingsley ordered McNeill’s Hot Salmon Salad with pea shoots, asparagus and radish and I had (the winning dish of) Duck Rillettes with spring onion, hoi-sin and cucumber. And yes – ordering the best dish of each course is very much a competition – where do you think the term food envy comes from?!
For main course, I had Pan-fried Gnocchi with summer herbs, vegetables and parmesan (of course). This really was the perfect dish for a summer’s evening. Kingsley wasn’t even interested in trying mine due to the lack of meat – which was just fine by me.
Kingsley was well chuffed with his choice of Pork Tenderloin Wellington with spinach and a spring onion potato cake. He loved that the portion of meat was so generous and was very happy to have a bit of cracking on his plate, although it could’ve been a little crispier (not that that stopped him from eating every last bit).
We had a little break before dessert which was Strawberry Bavarois with pistachio frangipane and marinated strawberry for me; and Chocolate Fondant with earl grey ganache and passionfruit sorbet for Kingsley. He loved the unusual combination of chocolate and passionfruit which worked really well, and of course the gooey ganache middle. Mine too was super dooper; it looked extra special served with a squiggly (very technical term) meringue. In fact, I could have eaten that dessert a few times over and my mouth is watering just thinking back to it!
Three courses at the Brew & Bake pop-up costs £25 per person, which is a great all-in price for an evening out (plus a bag of booze from the kitchen at home).