I love Chinese food. In takeaway form, homemade or from a restaurant, there is nothing quite as satisfying and versatile as Chinese food. As a self-professed complete and total “noodleholic” (definitely a real addiction) I would happily eat noodles in any form for any meal of the day, much to the annoyance of Izaac – but at least it makes it easy for me to decide on a place to go out to eat…
288 Bar & Wok on the lower end of Cheltenham’s high street is somewhere that I’d been desperate to go to since I first moved to Cheltenham, and it was well worth waiting for. Even just looking at the pictures from our meal is making me want to go back as soon as I possibly can.
Open every day except Monday between 12pm and 2pm for lunch, then 6pm to 10pm for dinner service, Bar & Wok is always full of customers looking to get something delicious. Set up on benches, some seats face the window where you can watch the world go buy over a bowl of Chilli Beef Noodle Soup. The whole restaurant smells incredible, with the aromas of spicy curries, Szechuan and Kung Po sauces mingling in the air around you.
Between the 3 of us, we ordered a range of starters, mains and regrettably for Izaac, none of the freshly prepared prawn crackers that we heard give off a massive crunch from the table behind us… and it would be an understatement to say that the portions were big – my main, Wok Fried Tofu, Crispy Cashews and Vegetable Noodles, came on us on two separate plates… one for the tofu and cashews and one for the noodles. Not that I was complaining in the slightest; not only did everything look amazing, it absolutely tasted it too.
One thing that I love about Bar & Wok (aside from the food) is that they use fresh, local ingredients and produce in their cooking, including pak choi from the owner’s family farm in Evesham, (where they have been growing the Chinese vegetable for over 30 years!) and a range of local ales brewed here in Cheltenham!
For me, the best thing about Chinese cuisine, is how inadvertently inclusive of different dietary requirements it can be; as well as serving up plenty of meat dishes, they also use a lot of tofu which makes eating meat-free meals super easy without compromising on texture or taste. Also, the option of having rice noodles means that even people on gluten free diets can enjoy the food as well, so everybody’s winning!
This level of inclusivity is definitely shown through Bar & Wok’s entire menu – with a large portion of their dishes marked as vegetarian, and I think that this definitely lends itself to just how popular it is in Cheltenham, despite the now blossoming competition. In such an ideal location – right next to the new Brewery complex, it is the perfect restaurant for family meals, dates, business meetings or even just a catch up with a friend… as long as you like Chinese food.