Place: The Vine, Cheltenham
Booking Tel: 01242 220 170
Price per person for a 2 course meal (the Vine do not serve desserts) and 1/2 a bottle of wine: £25 incl. tip.
Good for: Meeting with friends / students
Dress code: Casual
Pros: Great atmosphere / quick food service / well stocked bar.
Cons: Inconsistent food quality / can get really busy at the weekend / no dessert menu.
Rating: 3.4 out of 5
Read on for full review...
Last Sunday I spent a very enjoyable few hours with the Cheltenham gang at the Vine for some vino and Thai food. Chris and I were not intending to stay too long, however after a particularly trying week for all of us (in one way or another), the red wine flowed whilst we enjoyed each others company and before we knew it 10 o'clock had come and gone... whoops! Not recommended on a school night!! The Vine is a traditional style pub that serves Thai food and as we were there quite early we were some of the first diners of the night. I like the way that food is ordered in the Vine, you fill in cute little food slips and hand them into bar. They remind me of the food slips used in Dim Sum restaurants, of which I have visited many, many good ones with some very special friends... :-))
To start we had a selection of vegetable tempura, duck and pancakes and a mushroom tom yum soup. The tempura was okay, however the batter could have been a little lighter and less oily, the duck and pancakes were fine and as expected, however the mushroom tom yum soup really fell short of our expectations. I was quite disappointed as I love Thai soups, however this one tasted predominately of fish sauce and nothing else. The mushrooms were normal white mushrooms chopped into quarters and floating on the top of the water consistency soup. I passed it around the table for everyone to try (to make sure that it was not just me) and everyone unanimously decided the soup was not amazing...
For the main course we had fried rice with tiger prawns, lamb massaman curry and king prawns with tamarind sauce (except they had run out of king prawns, so used tiger prawns instead). The food came out soon after the starters, and after my slightly disastrous soup (!) I was pleased not to have to wait too long for my next course. The rice was well seasoned and nicely flavoured and there was a good ratio of prawns to rice!! The dish was a tad greasy, however overall was enjoyable and a very generous portion. In fact the dish could easily be shared between two people with a side portion of the malay bread. The lamb massaman curry had people divided. One of the group felt that the sauce was nicely flavoured, however thought that the meat did not taste like it had had enough time to infuse with the flavours. Others in the group enjoyed the whole dish, particularly the sauce. Overall this one seemed to go down quite well. The tiger prawns with tamarind sauce was probably the nicest dish out of the bunch and was cleared away fairly swiftly!!
After the main course we all felt the need for something sweet. The Vine does not offer desserts, so we decided to descend on Bella Pasta for sweet goodness (!) and yes you guessed it another bottle of wine... NB. I did feel absolutely awful at work on the Monday and have definitely learnt a lesson (lets just hope I take it on board)!! Anyway, Bella Pasta is another story and not one for now ;-))
Overall our experience at the Vine was enjoyable, however this was mainly due to the company, the setting and the wine. The food was reasonable, but could have been better - this is the main area that pulled my rating down. We passed our comments back to the waiting staff (in particular letting them know about the soup) and were told that they have two chefs, who both have slightly different styles. Potentially if we had visited when the other chef was on, this review may have come out slightly differently... For the moment though, I do not think we will be hurrying back to the Vine, especially when there are so many other places in Cheltenham to try!