Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Chef's Pantry

Our favourite go to for dinner, jazz and cocktails (and of course engagements), The Daffodil, has opened it's doors to their latest venture. Aptly named The Chefs Pantry, this new, trendy and modern deli offers produce made by their very own chefs in addition to some of owner, Marks', favourite produce from across the country and further afield. 

The Chefs Pantry is the exciting brainchild of The Daffodils' owner Mark Stephens, a project he's always dreamt of since taking on Cheltenham's 1920's cinema in 1998 (for the second time, but that's a whole other story). Working in perfect harmony with The Daffodil, The Chefs Pantry has become the kitchens' very own larder, open to the public to recreate some of their favourite Daffodil dishes or create their own. Run by The Daffodils former Maitre D Kate Garrity, The Chefs Pantry features produce created by Head Chef Tom Rains from condiments to smoked salmon, with a counter of different tasters on offer daily.

We arrived at The Chefs Pantry, running in from the rain into a warm and welcoming deli greeted by the same feeling you get when entering The Daffodil, wowed! Everything catches your eye, intrigues the senses and tickles your taste buds... and we haven't even started eating yet! 

The d├ęcor is a little more industrial but still identifiable as The Daffodils, white subway tiles, wire racks, rustic apple crates, it is beautifully done. There were the neatest stacked shelves we've ever seen, even the apples had been lovingly buffed to shine temptingly at you. Mark and his team have done a wonderful job.

Not only is The Chefs Pantry full of indulgent treats you won't be able to find in your supermarket, such as the live lobsters and Tom Rains creations, it is also handily filled with your day to day essentials. What could be better than walking to your local deli to pick up freshly baked bread straight from the Daffodil kitchen, local eggs, something yummy for lunch AND have a delicious coffee while you wait. This makes us jealous we no longer live in walking distance of The Suffolks. 

What's really refreshing about The Chefs Pantry is that they are listening to their customers. A trait which is delivered throughout The Daffodil, the customers come first. They aren't showing off or trying to be too out there, instead they are offering good quality, seasonal ingredients really well, in a beautiful setting. If you need 5 lobsters cooked and prepped for a dinner party, just give them  a call and that's exactly what they'll do. Where else could you do that in Cheltenham? or Gloucestershire in fact? The staff couldn't be more passionate, knowledgable or helpful and the deli it's self has a really relaxed feel to it, the sort of place you want to take your time browsing. 

We had a bottle of the English Castle Brook award winning sparkling wine, a first for us and not a last, in-fact you can grab a bottle of this and take it up to the circle bar for a small corkage fee. We sampled some of the total delights on offer, including Chorizo beer sticks, Daffodils homemade ham hock terrine with a sun blushed tomato mayo and a smoked fillet of salmon. The most delicious tuna fillets you will ever have out of a jar, £20 a jar is not expensive the jar is the size of your kitchen! extreme value for money. We had sour dough hand created and toasted from the Daffodil Kitchen, with a seaweed butter to spread all over. We tried a selection of cheeses, including a Shropshire goats cheese that Mark travels to collect straight from the local market there. We finished up with  local strawberry's and cream from local producer Jessica and then because it would be rude not to we stayed for Daffodil blended coffee and some delightful Matthieu Gottal whisky chocolate, who happened to pop in as we were tasting!

Of course, we couldn't leave empty handed. Meg took home some of the gluten free peanut butter (in fact it has no peanuts in it at all!) to surprise Harry, a crazed peanut butter lover, I honestly don't think he will be able to taste the difference.
Millie stocked up on Cotswold Gold cold pressed rapeseed oil with lovely Daffodil branding and knew James would be intrigued to give at home smoking a try with a bag of Whiskey Oak smoking chips and a few words of advice from Mark. 



There are still plenty of exciting things to come here at The Chefs Pantry. We are particularly excited about the renovation of the deli kitchen where live demo's and classes will take place, in addition to the development of creating your own picnic hampers to take away with you. We can just imagine starting our day off with a coffee at the Daffodil Pantry, leisurely browsing over what we want in our picnic baskets, popping across the road to Montpellier Park with a group of friends, picnic hamper and mat in hand, sunnies at the ready. Perfection.

Millie and Meg x

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