The Daffodil – Cheltenham
Updated: May 6
Last week I was extremely lucky and won a pair of tickets to the Jazz Festival at our favourite restaurant – the Daffodil! I was over the moon, really excited to go and try it out for the first time since its been taken over by new owners. We were absolutely gutted when it shut down, so have been looking forward to heading there since it reopened, and I was absolutely delighted to see that in terms of decor, they haven’t changed a thing. The best thing about a The Daffodil is the atmosphere, being an Art Deco cinema is part of its charm, and thankfully, it still looks exactly the same, and still has the wonderful buzz that makes you feel you’ve just stepped into the 1920s.
When we arrived, the receptionist was a little unaware, she took our name and sent us upstairs to the bar, but we had to make it clear that we had won a competition, and were disappointed she didn’t congratulate us like the person on the phone had, and explain what was going to happen. Upon reflection, I’ve since seen photos of their competition winners on their Facebook page, meaning they must have made a fuss over some people, so I am a little gutted we didn’t feel that way. However, in true fashion they made the place feel a little special when they took our coats and sent us upstairs.
We headed up to the bar, and I ordered a Breakfast Club cocktail. Again, very happy to see that they’ve stuck with the film theme, each cocktail is named after an iconic film. The service in the bar was second to none, fantastic cocktail waiters who make delectable drinks, and clearly enjoy their jobs. They ensure you are happy and want for nothing. The cocktail was amazing, it included marmalade flavoured vodka and tasted just like marmalade. I LOVED it, and will definitely have it when we return.
I love the fact that they clearly take note of who you are when you walk in, going up to the bar. When your table is ready the host comes and finds you and takes you to your table. This was the first time we went there and were sat downstairs, previously we’ve been sat in the booths at the top of the stairs, which are definitely my favourite location but it was good to try out something new. We were sat downstairs right in front of the stage, a great location for watching the Jazz!
The waiter came over and took our order for starter and mains. It was a set menu, with a few options, and it sounded delicious. 5 minutes later he returned, and asked us to order our desserts, as we had to get the food done before the Jazz. I totally appreciate this, however the options were easy to prepare, and I don’t particularly like ordering dessert before I’ve eaten main, as I might change my mind! So we ordered, and were disappointed to see other tables ordering their desserts after they had eaten. I don’t mind doing it, provided you are consistent with everyone! The service felt a little stilted, like the staff could do with a little more training. It wasn’t bad, and I know they were busy, but it felt like they weren’t quite there. Last time I visited the Daffodil, we wanted for nothing, and felt really special. The staff clearly loved being there, and we’re proud to work at such a prestigious venue. This time, it felt like the staff were there to do a job and wanted to get through the night, more of a job than something they enjoy. We had to keep getting their attention to ask for more drinks, menus etc. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing, they clearly do, but to get the experience that The Daffodil was previously known for, they definitely need some more training, on attentiveness. Or perhaps a couple more staff members, to ensure you still get that level of service.
The food however, did not disappoint. Second to none once again, I was overly impressed with how flavoursome and cooked to perfection it was. For starter, I had the soufflé, whilst D had the ham hock. Both were lovely, I’m not hugely keen on the texture of soufflé but this one was lovely, extremely cheesy (a little sickly) and cooked in a beautiful sauce, it melted in my mouth. Again, I don’t usually like hock, as I don’t particularly do well with the jelly that it’s in, but this one was really meaty and I would have enjoyed it had I ordered a whole one.
For main, we both ordered the duck. I probably shouldn’t admit this, being a foodie and all that, but other than shredded in the Chinese, I’ve never actually tried duck before this (mainly because I don’t do fat, and duck is extremely fatty)! It was incredible, cooked to perfection and served with the creamiest dauphinois potatoes (my absolute favourite), and some lovely little carrots. I savoured every mouthful, along with the truly scrumptious jus that it was served in. I would definitely recommend the duck if you are headed to The Daffodil (along with the Chateaubriand that we had last year!).
For dessert, I ordered the brownie and D had the cheese board, and we shared. As you may know if you have previously read my blog, brownies are hard to master in our family as my stepmums recipe is pure perfection, and D doesn’t let anyone else’s come close to his favourite! But this was great, gooey on the inside and crisp on top, and really sweet which I much prefer to rich. It came with a boule of proper ice cream and a scraping of chocolate sauce, I LOVED the presentation. The cheese board was interesting – a lovely rich mature cheddar, a creamy chunk of Stilton, and strangely a knob of goats cheese. I couldn’t complain as I love goats cheese, however it is a particularly acquired taste and D was disappointed there was no Brie – something you would usually expect on a small cheese board
All in all we had a fabulous evening. The Jazz, of course was wonderful, we saw Claire Martin, it was calming and impressive, particularly the pianist who was incredible. It was a delight to listen to, and we felt extremely lucky to be there.
My feelings are that I would like to return and try out the service again, on a non Jazz festival evening. I couldn’t fault the food, the place itself is perfect as usual, but the service was just slightly off, a little lack luster. Hopefully in time the staff will learn to be just as wonderful as before.
It is pricey, but absolutely worth it, for a one off treat or date night. If you haven’t tried it, this is one of the places in Cheltenham that should be far up on your list of places to visit. You’re looking at around £50 per person for a decent 3 course meal, or at the Jazz festival it was £65 which was a 3 course meal, with a glass of prosecco and Jazz. Cocktails are around £7, but they do drinks deals and early bird menus on certain days, check out their website http://www.thedaffodil.com to see what offers are on!
Get down there ASAP.
Thanks for a lovely evening!
8.5/10 (just a little room for improvement)