Montpellier Chapter

Having already visited the Magdalen Chapter in Exeter a couple of years back we were excited to review its sister hotel in Cheltenham, the Montpellier Chapter.

The Montpellier Chapter is a stylish boutique hotel in the trendy Montpellier part of Cheltenham. It’s style very much revolves around simple lines and art pieces from artists including Mario Rossi and David Leeson.

Like with the Magdalen, the Montpellier oozes a kind of relaxed formality with its waiters all decked out in slacks and trainers – I have to say I was super impressed with the pristine white shirts all the front of house possessed while serving food, that certainly wouldn’t have been me!

The menu was a pleasant collection of dishes we could have quite happily consumed; from Game terrine with a pear chutney and toasted brioche to Grilled mackerel, tomato and basil salsa on the starters list and Seared sea bass, lemon and herb risotto and Chargrilled calves liver and bacon gracing the main course.

However, despite all the dishes being equally tempting it was the Pork belly and shallots with apple puree, seared scallop and pancetta that enticed Rich, while I went for the Wild mushroom and cep risotto with parmesan and rocket for our first dishes.

Risotto is one of those dishes that should be super easy to do but to be able to get the rice not stodgy and the sauce luxuriously creamy without being heavy is a pretty mean feat. I’m pleased to say that the Montpellier Chapter got it bang on. Okay it wasn’t the most innovative take on a risotto but there’s nowt wrong with that if you can nail the simplicity of the dish. The mushroom flavour was present, the mushrooms tender and there was plenty of parmesan and fresh rocket to add to the seasoning – what more could you ask for.

Rich’s pork belly was a triumph. The sweet apple sauce delicately decorating the edge of the dish cut through the saltiness of the pancetta. The belly on this dish had a pulled pork like texture with a slight hint of barbecue and the succulent scallop was not over powered and complemented the other elements of the dish.

For my main course I chose the breast of duck, dauphinoise potatoes, buttered red chard with a star anise infusion. It was a satisfactory dish with a generous portion of well-cooked duck placed on top of the chard – the only downside was the infusion felt slightly diluted due to the natural wateriness of the chard. Still tasty but it just lacked that slight punch I was hoping for in the sauce. The butteriness of the dauphinoise potato tower however, added the silky touch to the dish that I felt was missing from the sauce.

Rich plumped for the Sirloin of beef with an ox kidney pie, parsnips, leeks & pancetta with a red wine jus. The mighty fine chunk of steak was everything it should have been: plentiful, pink, tender and most importantly full of flavour. The bed of leek and pancetta was all good, as was the ox kidney pie, all in all a plate of food I could settle down to at least once a week.

To round off an already delicious meal it was the Dark chocolate fondant with millionaire shortbread ice-cream* and Caramelised apple tart tatin with honey and whiskey ice-cream that took our fancy.

Judging by the oooh’s and aaah’s coming from Rich I’m guessing the dark chocolate fondant was a hit. It certainly oozed the gooey chocolate filling that you expect from a fondant and the shortbread ice-cream delivered on every level with little crunchy shortbread delights and caramel tones packing a punch with every mouthful.

In comparison the apple tart was pleasant, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor of the fondant but it still held its own. The impressive sugar work added some 'va-va-voom' to the dish while the lashings of caramel sauce gave it a warmth that made it perfect for a cold autumnal day. 

For value for money, great atmosphere in stylish surroundings and a welcoming service you can't go wrong with the Montpellier Chapter.

* 50p from each dark chocolate fondant goes to supporting LINC, a local charity supporting patients and their families affected by leukaemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers.