I took my husband to Lumiere for his birthday as it was recommended by Harden's as the best place in Cheltenham (we were visiting the area). We had the tasting menu and a bottle of good champagne. The food was good but not as innovative as "serious" tasting menus at places like Anthony's of Leeds or SaQuaNa in Honfleur. Ingredients were well put together but on the inexpensive side.
I was a little disappointed that I had mentioned I'd booked for a birthday, there was no acknowledgement of this.
The most serious problem, that made me feel genuinely stressed during the meal, was how very, very long the food took to arrive. We had two very good amuse-bouches, but this didn't help us cope that the starter took an hour to arrive from when we sat down. We asked for the food to be sped up a little but the server said "it's about 25 minutes between courses". This is insane for a seven-course tasting menu! The message began to get through when we asked her to not pour more champagne because it would get warm while waiting. We were having to eke out our drinks (thank goodness they provided plenty of water). This is ridiculous - I did wonder if it was a ploy to make people order more alcohol.
After course five, the server said "we leave a gap between courses so people don't get too full". This was a big mistake as of course a well-conceived tasting menu is planned to avoid this occurring. Tasting menus not their forte.
Our taxi driver said that slow-arriving food was a regular complaint and pointed out another venue - we'd go there again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 7, 2012
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Although we are a fine dining restaurant, we do not serve a “serious” tasting menu… pork scratchings & apple sauce, cheese scones, ‘Milk and Cookies’ and even Tequila Slammers feature. In our very humble opinion, we believe good food should have an element of fun as well as tasting great, after all our customers are here for an entire evening and the food (alongside the company) should be the entertainment.
The ingredients we use are of the finest quality, they may not be the most expensive ingredients in the world; you won’t see fillet of beef, foie gras or caviar on our menu but there is a whole world of exciting ingredients out there which are much more interesting to explore. I’m sure you would agree the chervil tuber veloutè is outstanding and it isn’t everyday you are served hare. Turning the humble beetroot into what can only be described as a masterpiece, takes much skill and time on the part of our chefs, where as serving a beautiful beef fillet is oh so easy.
We love to celebrate customer’s birthdays when we are requested to, we are also aware that some customers prefer to let the occasion pass with as little fuss as possible- although you had mentioned it was his birthday you had made no request that we mark it in anyway.
Now to your most serious problem; our timings. All of our food is cooked fresh to order, approximately 20 minutes between each cooked course is what we would expect- smaller amuse courses, sorbets etc on the tasting menu would be sent from the kitchen at a 15 minute interval- the whole tasting menu usually takes between 2 and a half hours to 3 hours (2 hours and 33 minutes in this case); in our opinion a lovely way to spend an evening, but upon the customers request we will happily serve it quicker or slower (as you experienced when you requested it); especially if you have babysitters etc on a clock, just let us know. We like our customers to feel relaxed, your table is yours for the evening, with no time constrains, turning tables is not what we do, you are free to spend as long or as shorter period of time to enjoy our hospitality. Alternatively, if you are pushed for time our a la carte menu is also fantastic.
Just to clear up a small discrepancy in your review; after an hour, 8.36pm, to be exact, after your arrival at 7.30pm your fourth course was called away from the kitchen. As far as your comment regarding pouring your champagne goes, we offer a service of pouring your wines for you- as your glasses are a mouthful away from finished we offer to top them up; our customers are more than welcome to pour their own wine, again all you just have to say. Although we are a business, we are passionate about what we do, and your comments about my staff topping your wine up as a ploy to make you buy more I actually find quite offensive.
And finally to address your “Tasting menus not their forte” comment, I have no defense but to say to anyone reading this review to also read the rest of our Trip Advisor reviews before you decide…
Helen (your server)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.