Bath Road in Cheltenham is almost entirely cafés and takeaways, yet despite the competition some of these places are almost always busy. Curious Café (& Bistro) is one of these places.
Curious Café has a reputation across Cheltenham, something that sees it busy in the week, and positively bursting at the seems on the weekends. It’s home to probably the best Full English Breakfast, not just in Cheltenham, but maybe anywhere in England. That might sound like hyperbole, but I’ve honestly not had better anywhere else.
The Blacksmiths Breakfast is their signature Full English, with 2 rashers of classic back bacon, 2 proper sausages, 2 fried eggs, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato, toast and a choice of either 2 black puddings or 2 hash browns or 1 of each. I don’t think there is anything missing there from the Full English Breakfast roster. There may be something to be said of having fried bread instead of toast, but I think fried bread has passed its time.
The Blacksmiths is a plate and a half of food. There has been an occasion where I was defeated by the line up, but took-away the remaining items and revisited for lunch at home.
On the same belly busting level as the Blacksmiths, they have their Steak Breakfast, swapping the bacon and beans for a 4oz steak! Or for smaller appetites, they have the more reasonably sized apprentice breakfast - it’s still 2 rashers of bacon, but 1 of each of the rest and no hash browns/black pudding. The good news for the vegetarians amongst us is the Veggie Breakfast, so you don’t have to miss out on the classic breakfast.
Amongst the other breakfast items they have various eggs on toast (poached, scrambled or fried), omelettes with choices of fillings, French toast with bacon and maple syrup, bubble and squeak with ham hock and more.
Plus there are breakfast sandwiches which can contain bacon, sausages or the vegan sausages, in thick white or granary bread. A great option to takeaway, which may or may not be on their way to becoming an office favourite of ours at Cotswold Eats HQ. It may be slightly problematic for us.
You’d be forgiven to think this is a breakfast only establishment from the way I go on about it, but in fact Curious Café serve lunch too! Breakfast items are served from open, with lunch items served from 10.30am. Both run until 3pm, when the menu switches to cocktails and cheese platters for their new longer opening times.
The lunch menu has a selection of fillings to pair with a choice of jacket potato, sandwich or panini. Some are tried-and-true classics like ham & tomato or egg mayo & cress, but others are more adventurous such as bacon brie & grape and chorizo, cheddar & tomato.
They also have a variety of ‘warm curious wraps’, with Thai prawns, chicken pesto and more filling options to choose from.
Honourable mention to their Curly fries... with cheese! Absolutely decadent side that hits the spot.
If you’re after something sweet instead (or as well as), there is a selection of delicious homemade cakes, brownies, scones and the classic toasted teacake.
Their drinks include various good quality coffee, with soya and almond milk available for those with dietary requirements. A great choice of teas, chai latte and hot apple, as well as cold drinks. However, the stars of the show are the deluxe milkshakes and deluxe hot chocolate, both topped with whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate buttons - perfect on a hot or cold day respectively.
All of this amazing food does come at a slight cost, in that Curious Café can get full up at weekends. They do mitigate this as much as possible with seating in their garden area, which is open all year round but particularly lovely in the summer. Delightfully cute mosaic tables, mis-matched patio furniture and a covered sitting area, with flowers, plants and fairy lights galore. It genuinely feels like a secret garden escape from the busy nature of Bath Road, so we almost always opt to sit outside, even on colder days.
There is something truly special, not only about their Full English breakfast and deluxe hot chocolate, but the vast choice of quality options available to you no matter your dietary needs. The Blacksmiths is definitely the best thing though.