The SoGlos team set their Saturday celebrations ablaze at The Fire Station’s much-talked about bottomless brunch. Chowing down on cheese burgers, buttermilk fried chicken and full English fare, alongside the Bloody Marys and bubbles.
The Fire Station launched with a bang as a restaurant and bar in Cheltenham in 2016, more than 100 years after it was originally built as the town’s eponymous fire station, and has since become known as a buzzy evening destination, with a brilliant drinks menu and hipster-chic interiors (original red brick, bare floorboards, leather banquettes, beautiful inlaid bar, and too many factory lights to count), but its daytime reputation is gaining pace thanks to its bottomless brunch.
Offering a choice of two courses for £30 or, three courses for £35, accompanied by unlimited Prosecco, Bellinis, Mimosas, and a Bloody Mary – if you need the hair of the dog – the prospect of starting a Saturday or Sunday off with copious amounts of cocktails has unsurprisingly been rather popular. No less than with the SoGlos team. But ‘just how bottomless is bottomless?’ one team member, who shall remain anonymous, excitedly enquired? Pretty blooming bottomless, it turns out!
Met with huge smiles and the pop of a cork as we were seated on a bright table near the restaurant entrance, the service was slick and relentlessly cheerful – with waiters and waitresses generously filling our glasses with Italian bubbles throughout, with carafes of orange and peach juice on the table to mix your own concoctions. Diners have a two-hour time frame to enjoy bottomless drinks, and while it would be fair to say we were chatting and eating far too much to really test the bottomless theory, the staff were extremely attentive and we didn’t once have to ask for a top up.
Running from 10am to 4pm on both Saturdays and Sundays, The Fire Station brunch includes some conventional breakfast staples including baked or scrambled eggs with sourdough; banana bread french toast with berries, yogurt and honey, as well as full English.
But, dining early at 11am, while we were expecting to see pastries, avocados and pancakes perhaps, we were instead given some rather wilder options on the unorthodox menu – including a 200g cheese burger, as well as cauliflower and chickpea curry, if you fancied it, and which we were informed many people do!
For starters we went for the salt and pepper squid – perfectly cooked, with a light batter, sesame seeds and a strong garlic dip; tender bite-sized buttermilk fried chicken with a hot sauce and blue cheese mayonnaise; as well as generous dollop of smooth, garlicky humous, with warm flatbreads and crunchy duka. And plenty more Prosecco, of course.
The full English was unsurprisingly most people’s first choice for a main course: and was pretty good – comprised of two tasty bangers, bacon, a double helping of fried eggs, a hash brown and loads of beans – naturally. One renegade team member went for the cheese burger (‘why wouldn’t you have a cheese burger at 11am?’ she said) and was treated to a juicy and rather substantial dish. While another opted for pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup. And then there was more Prosecco!
With banana bread sticky toffee pudding and hot chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream both on the dessert menu – and the interestingly-named pineapple carpaccio – opting for the third course was a no-brainer. And we were pleased we’d pushed the boat out, even if the top button on our trousers were not.
Like the previous courses, the desserts were pretty good: tasty, using good quality ingredients, and produced efficiently. And while we can see why many might come to The Fire Station for the bottomless booze, we think they (like us) will make the return journey to the Cheltenham venue thanks to the good food, excellent service and lively atmosphere.
If you’re hankering after a traditional roast dinner alongside your bottomless booze, you can pay £5 to upgrade your brunch on a Sunday – we can heartily recommend The Sunday lunch at The Fire Station Cheltenham.
Perfect for birthdays, fun weekend meet-ups with the family or a good old girly (or guy-y) get together, you’ll need to book well ahead particularly if you’re in a group.
By Michelle Fyrne
Monday 12 November 2018
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