For those not immediately familiar with Simon Hopkinson, he was chef and joint proprietor of Bibendum in London where I recently enjoyed a decent meal that also offered excellent value. He is also a popular author with a newspaper column and Amazon showing four cookbooks to his name.
On arriving at the hotel, I was instantly won over by how friendly the staff were. I was going to say front desk staff, but there is no front desk, that's how trendy the hotel is: they check you in with wireless laptops (and in the restaurant, the wine list is an iPad). The staff seemed entirely young, energetic and smiling which is a nice and unusual combination.
But it was later that evening in the restaurant that the hotel delivered the biggest surprise. While there is a full a la carte menu offering the likes of rump of lamb, grilled calves liver and roast breast of guinea fowl, I simply couldn't justify it given my lunch time meal so instead, opting for simplicity, chose the 'Supper Menu' which is, remarkably, just £15 for three courses, even offering choice within that menu.
I chose pork rillettes to start, chicken fricassee for my main and a berry Eton mess for dessert. For £15, it was an outstanding meal and they even served up proper bread to begin with. The rillette was a little too pate like and did not lend itself to spreading but that's a small quibble and I have no complaints about the rest of the meal at all. The chicken fricassee, something I haven't had for many a year, was served in a reasonably hearty portion with potatoes and beans, and was thoroughly enjoyed while the berry Eton mess was something that you might (and I have) seen on many an a la carte menu at over half the price of this entire menu.
It would have been fun to try other things on their menu but it simply wasn't the night for that but a whole lemon sole being finished off by a friend when I arrived in the restaurant looked great as did his cheese plate (pictured below).
Cheltenham is a lovely town with several great restaurants including the aforementioned Le Champignon Sauvage and the also brilliant Lumiere. Neither however have rooms making The Montpellier Chapter an obvious choice if you're staying in Cheltenham, want a comfortable stay and are ever likely to feel peckish.