As you walk through the doors of the Thai Emerald you may have to do a double take.
Walking through the fairly nondescript entrance you could be forgiven for thinking you had entered Dr Who's Tardis and ended up in another time and country.
The interior is much larger than you would expect and a visual sensation. Temple statues, golden elephants, hanging plants – if it comes from Thailand this place probably has it. The tables are carved, the chairs are carved - you really don't know where to look next.
And the food for your stomach is as good as the feast for your eyes.
Thai Emerald mixed starters comprised battered crab, spring rolls, deep fried chicken, spare ribs and giant prawns - served on a bed of carved vegetables - £6.50 a head was extremely good value.
My partner's main course of Goong (Tiger Prawn) Gaeng Kiew Wan – green curry - although only rated with two chilli symbols proved way too hot. I'd gone for a similarly rated Pla (monkfish) Gaeng Daeng - red curry which proved to be somewhat milder - so we did a swap.
If you like it hot you may want to try the Gaeng Paa - Jungle curry - rated at three chillies - but you may need a fire extinguisher.
Despite the heat the flavours of coconut, bamboo, lime leaves, aubergine and basil leaves were all detectable.
The lady couldn't resist the ginger cheesecake. I'm unsure if that's authentic Thai but it got the thumbs up from her.
A couple of Singha beers and a reasonably priced bottle of red brought the bill to just under £70.
The service was impeccable without being over fussy. If you're staying at the Strozzi Palace Apartments it's literally 100 yards away.
A great find and somewhere we will definitely revisit next time we are in Cheltenham.
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