The moment that Gloucestershire foodies have been waiting for has finally arrived, with the long-awaited opening of Cheltenham's first ever rooftop restaurant, The Nook on Five at the Quadrangle, on Thursday 10 November 2022.
SoGlos was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the gorgeous new restaurant and taste its lunch menu, which takes its inspiration from European fine dining, with an emphasis on fresh, local produce - and soak up that all-important view over Imperial Gardens, stretching as far as the Malvern Hills on one side and Cleeve Hill on the other.
The dining experience starts in the downstairs lobby, complete with its own separate café-bar, where guests can grab a drink before they head up to the fifth floor in the lift, opening right onto the restaurant, which is entirely glass-fronted to make the most of those panoramic views.
The restaurant is sleek, stylish and wouldn't look out of place in London. Unrestricted by the limits of Regency architecture, which characterises so much of Cheltenham's beautiful dining spots, it makes the most of the Quadrangle's modern refurb with its interiors creating a unique aesthetic.
Championing the very best produce from Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds and the surrounding area, diners can expect sparkling wine from Woodchester Valley vineyard near Stroud and succulent meat sourced from Cirencester-based butcher, Jessie Smith.
Starters include pan-roasted scallops with celeriac purée, fresh peas and chicken skin granola and, for vegetarian diners, meaty king oyster mushrooms served with mushroom purée, confit shallot and consommé — hand-poured for a bit of theatre — which delivers on umami flavour.
It's a tough choice for main course, with options like pan-fried halibut served with charred sweetcorn, clam and brown shrimp chowder and venison haunch with parsnip purée, beetroot, pickled blackberries and crispy potatoes on the menu.
We opted for the vegetarian dish, a delicious marinated aubergine served in a Romanesco sauce, with tomato and olive salsa, cavolo nero and toasted almonds; and the seven-ounce fillet steak, topped with Café de Paris butter and served with a caramelised shallot, wild mushrooms and vine tomatoes.
Plus, a side of parmesan-topped fries with truffle mayonnaise — with special mention going to the grilled hispi cabbage with Caesar dressing.
With its own dedicated pastry chef, The Nook has got its desserts nailed, too. Highlights include the blueberry custard, white chocolate mousse and puff pastry creation, served with blueberry ripple ice cream; and the vibrant roasted hazelnut chocolate délice with raspberries, raspberry sorbet and a hazelnut crumb — which is totally vegan!
The restaurant also benefits from the expertise of sommelier Michele Muccilli and in addition to its extensive global wine list, The Nook champions local vineyards and wineries with its carefully-curated English wine list; while mixology matters at the bar, where guests can order cocktails for every taste.
With a natural gap in service between lunch and dinner, 5pm to 6.30pm is the perfect time to pop up for an after-work drink and take in the view across Cheltenham's rooftops.
The Nook on Five at Cheltenham's Quadrangle is open for lunch, dinner and afternoon tea from Thursday 10 November 2022.
Opening just in time for Cheltenham's buzzy festive season, it's also hosting Christmas parties and serving Christmas dinner — and, since it's perfectly timed with The November Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse, racegoers can visit for race day breakfasts from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 November 2022.
Alfresco dining on the rooftop terrace is coming in spring 2023, but guests are welcome to take their drinks on to the terrace to soak up the iconic vista, or enjoy it from every angle over dinner, with every table benefiting from a fantastic view.