Autumn Food Tour: Seafood Dinner at Purslane | Cheltenham

Even as a diner, it’s obvious that the technique involved with the cooking combined with carefully selected ingredients, is what makes Gareth Fulford stand out as a unique chef, and one of the reasons why Purslane is a special restaurant.

It was time for a little break and after some discussion over where we should jet off to, Mr R and I decided it would be fun to visit and revisit some of our local eateries. We booked to stay somewhere different over 5 nights, starting close to home in Cheltenham. Having been to Purslane almost 12 months ago to the date, this was our first choice as we’d been wanting to go back since having such a super dinner there last time. Fortunately we were able to secure a table, so this was the perfect start to our Autumn food tour.

The work of chef Gareth Fulford (previously at The Kingham Plough) and the team has been recognised with some very impressive awards and accolades since opening in July 2012. Purslane have retained their Good Food Guide entry every year from 2013, and seeing their score increase from 5 to 6. The restaurant was included in The Telegraph‘s ‘500 best restaurants’ listing and got a review from The Guardian, which all followed just months after opening –  I spotted a copy of Jay Rayner’s 2013 review in the ladies’ loos when we first arrived.

6BA84C67-EDDE-46E8-BFAC-1F16AFB5AE27

Cornish cod cheeks

Our dinner began with a very uncomplicated appetiser each of grilled English king prawns, confit garlic and rapeseed mayonnaise. Simple, yet utterly delicious and perfect for getting our taste buds excited for our next course. Both of us were swayed towards the Salcombe Bay crab starter with heritage beetroot, crab bisque, granny smiths and hedge sorrel. I was also tempted by the Cornish cod cheeks with pink fir potatoes, Cacklebean yolk, brandade, grilled leeks. I’m getting much better at sharing my food these days, and so we could sample more of the menu, we ordered one of each.

8D07133B-7F4F-433B-A281-EF59AF5CF96E

Salcombe Bay crab

In front of me were the crispy cod cheeks; a great choice of starter as the dish was comforting, although light enough to still have plenty of room for the main course. I would have found myself reluctant to share if it wasn’t for the colourful reminder across the table of something else I’d wanted to try. Mr R and I swapped our cod and crab filled forks, agreeing with a nod that we were pleased with our choices. The beautifully presented fresh crab starter, had the flavours to match. Reminiscing about our last visit, we were delighted that yet again the food was wonderful as it had been 12 months prior, and without a hint of disappointment.

2D345E78-3B56-4C52-BEB5-90ADA4EAB460

Cornish monkfish

The main course decision was easy for me, it was going to be the Cornish monkfish with black cabbage, malted parsnips, St Austell mussels, blackberry vinegar. I absolutely loved the presentation of this dish. Before even tasting, I knew this was going to be everything I’d hoped when reading about it on the menu, which it absolutely was.  The Autumnal crispy parsnips, meatiness of the monkfish, along with the cabbage somehow filled me with the nostalgia of indulging in a Sunday dinner.

424DCD5D-64BE-467B-9060-6F083B06FF2F

Scottish halibut

The fresh and quality ingredients used by the kitchen, had not been compromised by over powering or intense flavours on anything we’d eaten during the evening. Subtlety seems to be the secret ingredient here. Also true for the Scottish halibut with romanesco, spinach, Cornish squid, buttermilk, horseradish dish chosen by Mr R. Again, the plate was so cleverly executed without the need for showing off and the result was fantastic.

Even as a diner, it’s obvious that the technique involved with the cooking combined with carefully selected ingredients, is what makes Gareth Fulford stand out as a unique chef, and one of the reasons why Purslane is a special restaurant.


Cost: £71 (food only)

2 appetisers (£3.50 each), 2 starters (£10 each), 2 main courses (£22 each)

Purslane’s Menus (change monthly with the seasons).


Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in October 2017

Food Hygiene rating5/5 very good – last inspected 21st March 2017

Food hygiene very good

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s