The Dodo Pub Co., who have a name for themselves in Oxford, have ventured out of the city and opened up a new place in (the rather fabulous) Cheltenham. Their latest baby is called The Bottle of Sauce, and if you’re wondering where it is, you may remember the building as the pub by the bowling green, which nobody could pronounce the name of – The Quaich!
Other than location, The Bottle of Sauce bears no resemblance to its former self. It’s all about the industrial décor, with an informal style that makes this a very sociable place indeed. There’s the bar for drinks, the games room for a spot of ping pong or foosball, The Bottle Room for private dining and meetings and then the canteen for eating (obvs). Even the yard has had a makeover with plentiful colourful seating and festoon lighting.
We arrived for an almighty feast (along with a number of other local bloggers), and after making a start on the cocktail menu and taking a tour, we chose our seats in the canteen. The menu is street-food inspired – we’re talking quick, tasty, easy, messy, faff-free and friendly. Yes I just called the menu friendly, because although I’ve never been much of a sharer (I’m really bad at it), this place lends itself to family-style dining. Order a load of stuff, including burgers, fries, chicken wings and wood-fired pizzas, put it all in the middle, and everyone can tuck in and try a bit of everything.
Kingsley and I ordered so much, we had to write on the menu for fear of forgetting anything (by the way there is no table service here, everyone must order at the bar). Between us, we tried the Mushroom Man and The Big D burgers, Cheese n’ Truffle fries and Buffalo fries, Napalm wings, Dodo slaw and the Truffle Funghi pizza. I must admit, I had a bit of a food fail with the mushroom burger as I didn’t read the menu properly. I saw it was a braised parsley & garlic Portobello mushroom with aged Cheddar, slaw, pesto mayo and lettuce but what I didn’t realise was that it didn’t come with a beef patty – yep, I ordered the veggie burger (a big mistake for a meat eater)! As soon as I realised, rather than having a bout of food envy, I ordered a beef patty to slot into my already loaded bun. The result was a seriously immense burger. I wonder if they’ll consider adding it to the menu!
I don’t think I could pick a favourite bit of the meal: the burger, the slaw, the fries and wings were all extremely tasty (and the pizza, but that actually belonged to someone else, I just managed to nick a slice of it). And this is why I suggest ordering a shed load of food and putting it all in the middle of the table. That way, you needn’t have to make difficult decisions! The portions here are great, there’s none of this fries being served in tiny buckets malarkey, so make sure you go hungry and I’d highly recommend washing it all down with a Gin Fizz cocktail.
I can see this place being really popular with groups: Friends, families, students and colleagues. Please note, this is not a suitable place for a first date – the food is bloody tasty and you WILL get messy!