Sunday, 15 January 2017

Pancakes will make it all better.

You know that you really want brunch when you're willing to wake up an entire house of people on a Sunday morning and risk their hungover wrath in order to make it happen.

So it was this morning, when the tall blond one and I roused our guests a mere few hours after we had all stumbled into our beds with a combination of the promise of bacon and coffee (carrot) and some gentle shouting (stick) until we arrived at Bill's Cheltenham.

Bill's is a chain, but not in a bad, Starbucks on every corner kind of a way. According to the website, it started life as a greengrocers which sounds pretty lovely and wholesome to me. Its Cheltenham incarnation occupies two floors of one of the town's several million regency buildings and is adorned with dried chillies and gorgeous, low hanging chandeliers that make the tall, blond one hit his head and mutter darkly about spaces designed for hobbits.

Seriously, is the chandelier landing on them?

It's also a great place for brunch en masse as fifteen of us squeezed around a long upstairs table with only minimal enforced touching. I know how I feel when I'm seated near a big group in a restaurant and I suspect some of the families eating nearby viewed us with similar dread, but actually pre-food there was mostly some quiet staring into space, and people holding their heads, interspersed with the gentle rattle of paracetamol tablets being extracted from foil. I may have had a quiet weep when the unflappable waitress brought me coffee...

Anyway, onto to the details...

Menu - All the classics with an edge of hipster. Pretty much everything comes sprinkled with seeds, and there are vegetarian options with hummus and avocado. If this menu were a person it would have a beard and glasses and an air of gentle intellectualism.

Staff - European, chatty, receptive. Between us we ordered thirty different plates and indulged in a bit of competitive fussiness, swapping, changing and adding side dishes at will. At no point did our waitress shout "oh for god's sake" and rip up her order pad, which would have been well within her rights to be fair.

Put it in my face - I don't want to become predictable here, but I went eggs benedict again, with a side of avocado just to mix things up. And pudding pancakes. Because, y'know, pancakes. Around the table, we managed to cover most corners of the menu but special mention to the nameless individual who ordered donuts. For breakfast. Deviant.

Crimes against eggs? -Absolutely not. Golden, runny yolks.

How do you like those apples? I mean eggs...

Atmosphere - Buzzy and eclectic. Families, couples, and large groups of just about millennials like us.

Topical talk - Shared weird and wonderful hobbies. (Involving dressing up and role play. But not like that.) Home automation. (Apparently, I'm the only one unkeen on our new robot over-lords.) To spa or not to spa? (Always spa.)

Happy birthday to? - Brunch virgin Rob!

Happy birthday brunch faces!

The tall, blond one says - "Good hangover curing food. Prejudiced against tall people."

Verdict - Fluffy, gorgeous, enormous piles of cloud-like pancakes are always going to be a winner. But why did they take so long to to arrive? Definitely worth brunching, but not in a rush.

Because pancakes. Obviously.


  1. I've found Bills to be one of those chains where it is very dependent on the branch as to how good the food is. For example, I've had lovely lunches at the Reading one but was left unsatisfied by similar orders at the Bl.uewater branch.

    Your breakfast order is very similar to mine. I often quibble between eggs benedict/royale/florentine and pancakes but can never usually manage both (unless shared, and who wants to do that eh?).

    Another thing is what is your choice of breakfast beverage? The intrigued (nosy) want to know!

  2. Always the way with chains... I was secretly slightly disappointed when I found out Bill's wasn't a lovely one-off because the Cheltenham branch is so good. Keep trying with two course breakfasts - it's totally worth not eating for the rest of the day!

    Hmmm, brunch beverages: I'm actually a coffee girl since becoming addicted whilst in the states. Unless, of course, there are breakfast bellinis on offer in which case...


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