Updated: Dec 23, 2020
So we made it through lockdown 2.0! I am so looking forward to getting back to some of my favourite cafes for brunch even if it has to be my myself. After lockdown 2.0, Cheltenham has been placed in tier 2 meaning cafes and restaurants are allowed to open, yet we can only sit indoors with our household or social bubble (for people who live alone). Thankfully yoga studios and other fitness facilities are able to stay open with social distancing measures so I am able to continue working.
This time round during lockdown 2.0, shops restaurants and cafes have been all closed apart from shops selling essential items and restaurants and cafes are allowed to do takeaway. We have been allowed to meet people outside for recreational activity, but apart from that we are to stay home. We are much more prepared and there is less uncertainty about what we can or cannot do as we have been through it before. Lockdown 2.0 went much better for me compared to Lockdown 1.0. I am in a much better mindset and place compared to lockdown 1.0. I was also and able to carry on teaching and running Personal Training and Yoga sessions.
Because of Covid-19 my travel plans to teach yoga abroad have been put on hold. I am supposed to be in Morocco right now, but I have to just be patient with the world. Anyway the past few months before we went back into lockdown many people have commented on my love of going out for Brunch. Brunch is my favourite meal and I love the types of foods served at brunch. The past few weekends before Lockdown 2.0 I have been meeting up with many different friends for brunch and it has been so lovely to catch up together. I love the social side of having brunch, but I also love to take myself out for brunch on a weekend. There is something about being mindful, going somewhere and really enjoying a meal. Sometimes I will take my laptop to do some blogging or vlog editing or take my book and just spend some time to myself. Either way, here are a few of my favorite independent brunch spots to go to around Cheltenham.
Baker and Graze
With everything going on in 2020, Baker and Graze has been closed for a while and recently reopened. However I did not get a chance to go before lockdown 2.0 happened. I have had brunch here a couple of times in the past year or two and have never had a bad experience. Recently I have read reviews about the service not being great, but I have not experienced this myself. Baker and Graze is a true baker, with really amazing sourdough used in their dishes. The loaves are also available to buy to take home.
My favourite dish here is there Shakshuka (sorry I don't have a photo, I haven't had it in a long time) , but I am also a big fan of their eggs and avocado on their famous sourdough. The coffee is good and they do very good matcha lattes with alternative milks available. Baker and Graze is know for their homemade doughnuts, with different flavours available each week. I have tried one of their doughnuts before and would totally recommend if you're giving Baker and Graze a visit. The downstairs interior is cosy (I have never sat upstairs) and they have some nice seating in their back garden for alfresco brunching when the weather is nice.
I recently visited Woodkraft with my friend's from London who came stayed with me one weekend. I hadn't been in a while and had been turned away a couple of times when not making a reservation. Thankfully on this occasion they had tables available for walk in (I would recommend booking however) My friends were impressed by the quality of the food. The café is owned by Masterchef champion 2015, Simon Wood and it has some more interesting dishes available on the menu as well as the classics. On that day, I decided to go for the Banana, peanut French Toast. French toast is one of my favourite brunch dishes that isn't always on many cafe's menu. I have also been here for the classic Avocado and Toast which was well executed. The dishes are really well presented with a bit more fine dining flair, probably because it is influenced my Masterchef. Many have told me Woodkraft is famous for their homemade hash browns served with their full or veggie breakfast, which I will definitely be getting next time I visit. The coffee is very good and their matcha lattes are ok. They cater well for dietary requirements with lots of variety on their menu. I have sat upstairs and downstairs in Woodkraft, both have a similar feel. Everything is very clean and hygienic with the tables spread out well, however I do feel it could do with a bit more interior interest. Woodkraft have an array of sweet treats available which I haven't been to try yet including Salt Bakehouse cruffins and also serve Roast boards (vegan/vegetarian option also available!) on Sundays which I would like to try a some point.
I recently went to The Tavern for brunch just a couple of days before we went into lockdown 2.0. Before then i haven‘t been in a while. I have been wanting to go though because I saw their pancakes on Instagram and really really wanted to try them! Previously at the Tavern for brunch I have had the Shakshuka and also their avocado and eggs on toast. The Tavern does brunch really well and my pancakes were the best pancakes I’ve ever had in Cheltenham. You only get 2 because they are proper big thick and fluffy American pancakes. I had mine with berries and Greek yoghurt. My only complaint was that the Greek yoghurt was a very runny (more like natural yogurt) but having a side of maple syrup to drizzle on top really made it. I like the interior and atmosphere in The Tavern, it’s got a really nice relaxed, upmarket gastro pub kind of feel which is nice when meeting up with friends. The reason that the Tavern isn’t always my first choice as a brunch spot is that they do not offer any alternative milks and their vegan/vegetarian options are limited. They are more accommodating for vegans and vegetarians at brunch when it comes to options on the menu, yet I have been for dinner or Sunday lunch and have only had one or maybe 2 options available. Note that their roast potatoes for Sunday lunch are roasted in duck fat, so best to ring ahead and see if they can accommodate vegans or vegetarians for Sunday lunch. Anyway I would definitely come back for brunch to either have the pancakes or avo on toast
If I have friends visiting Cheltenham, The Find is one of my go to places to take them for brunch. Its’s a great place to meet up with friends to grab a coffee or a lovely piece of cake. What I love about The Find is that the food is consistently good, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad brunch there. My all time favourite dish is their avo toast either vegetarian or vegan, I love the sun dried tomatoes they add to the dish which really makes it stand out compared to other places. They used to also do a kedgeree which again is not something you see on many other places menus and is delicious. The iced Coconut matcha frappe is my all time favourite drink here and the coffee is also very good. The Find caters well to all dietary requirements and include many cake options for vegans, gluten and dairy free with offerings made by The Bakers Table and cruffins from Salt Bake House. They sometimes make weekly specials in house to watch out for posted on their Instagram. Overall The Find is a great all rounder for all your brunch, lunch, coffee and cake needs.
Situated in an industrial estate just a stones throw out of Cheltenham Town Centre, Botanica might be considered a bit of a hidden gem. Part plant shop and as well as a café, Botanica is a lovely cozy and peaceful setting to enjoy brunch or to do some laptop work while sipping a hot drink. Botanica is definitely one of my regular brunch spots that I go to very often as I live in the surrounding areas. It is closer to me go to than some other places in town. I have tried many things on their menu but my all time 2 favourite dishes are their vegetarian breakfast and their smashed avocado on toast. Both dishes are a generous size and presented lovely. The avocado is seasoned really well and they add a butterbean smash and balsamic drizzle as well to really kick things off. Botanica uses Cacklebean eggs with a rich golden yolk. While writing this, I just ordered the babka French Toast at Botanica at is definitely the best
French toast I have had in Cheltenham!
Their dishes are made to order in their little kitchen and they also have a nice spread of homemade cakes on the counter. I recommend trying their babka or buying an almond croissant to take home. My favourite drink here is their beetroot pink latte with oat milk, but their coffee from Fire&Flow is also delicious, even the decaf! Botanica caters well for people’s dietary requirement and are really friendly and accommodating if you want to change something in the dish. They once did me a small veggie breakfast when I wasn't very hungry which was really nice of them, this type of service you don't get very often in other places any more. There is parking available around the industrial estate and the plants in the café are also for sale. They have just opened another small café near Cheltenham Spa train station which I have been to a couple of times offering a different menu so go check either one of their cafes out.
The Urban Meadow Café
Ok so this is a little biased since Bloom Studios and Wellbeing where I teach yoga is situated above; however ever since opening, The Urban Meadow Cafe is probably my favourite and most regular place to go for brunch in Cheltenham Town Centre. The café is cozy and has a really relaxed and friendly feeling about it. I love the arty rustic, nature inspired interior. My favourite place to sit when I come by myself is on the high benches by the windows where you can look out at the Georgian terraces opposite. Known for their brunch and bagels; I have tried most things on the menu, but my all time go to dish is their free range eggs and avo. Like Botanica they use Cacklbean eggs with beautiful golden yolks served with well seasoned smashed avocado on 2 pieces of Hobbs House turmeric sourdough toast. If I am judging my brunch places in Cheltenham on their eggs and avocado on toast, The Urban Meadow has always done it right and it is always delicious every time I order it (which is a lot!) My other favourite dish is the Shaksuka here. Watch out on their Instagram for occasional specials. I have tried their French Toast with honeycomb, banana and blueberries, which was a special and was so happy I ordered it. The coffee from BeanWorks is very good including the decaf, but my drink of choice usually is a coconut milk matcha latte. With other offerings such at beetroot, turmeric, chai and ginger lattes, you are really spoilt for choice. Another thing that sets the Urban Meadow apart from other places serving brunch is they are also a fully licensed bar. You can choose to have a classic Bloody Mary or a passionfruit martini from their cocktail menu if you want to go all out while having brunch. The Urban Meadow cater really well for dietary requirements and can do everything on gluten free bread or bagels. They have a nice choice of extras you can add to your dishes as well which is always a nice option to have. A small selection of cakes and muffins by The Bakers Table are displayed on the counter to have with a hot drink or to take home and enjoy. Come pop by for a yoga class and grab a hot drink or brunch afterwards, an ideal combination.
And that is my list of my favourite independent brunch spots in Cheltenham. Let me know on my Instagram if you check any of these places out and try out my recommendations. xoxo