Tasty mix of past & present

Monthly Chronicle - - Dining Out Locally - Jenny Bar­lass

There’s some­thing won­der­fully rest­ful and bu­colic about gaz­ing out over pris­tine green lawns fringed with ti­bouch­ina and crepe myr­tle as you eat lunch.

Throw in some his­tory and you have a win­ning com­bi­na­tion. Chor­ley’s is named af­ter Wil­liam Chor­ley who came to the area from the UK in 1883. He named the sub­urb af­ter Chel­tenham in Glouces­ter­shire as it re­minded him of his home­land’s gen­tle green hills and is re­garded as the fa­ther of the sub­urb.

Chor­ley’s sits in­side the 105 year-old Chel­tenham Re­cre­ation Club, the site of many bowl­ing, ten­nis and cro­quet tour­na­ments.

“The walls are like a mini mu­seum,” said Chor­ley’s ebul­lient new owner Luwis Fer­nando, orig­i­nally from Sri Lanka, re­fer­ring to the ten­nis rac­quets and cro­quet mal­lets and other sport­ing gear adorn­ing the walls.

He has nailed the culi­nary predilec­tions of the lo­cals. “They don’t like foams or re­duc­tions - they just want good hon­est food.”

The day we lunched, a clien­tele of mostly over 60s sud­denly packed this pop­u­lar lit­tle spot around mid­day and it be­came clear why he has built the menu around pop­u­lar peren­nial dishes - Wagyu beef burger, fish and chips, pump­kin and feta tart, lamb hot­pot, smoked sal­mon tar­tine, risotto and chicken schnitzel.

Our party chose the fish and chips - lovely fresh fish in a light bat­ter with a side of golden chips, the mush­room risotto which its two re­cip­i­ents de­clared creamy and mush­roomy, and the lamb hot­pot, a warm­ing bowl of lamb with win­ter veg­eta­bles in a hearty broth. Pies, scotch eggs, tarts and open melts com­plete the mains on the menu.

It would have been re­miss to skip the dessert, not least as they’re all made by Luwis’ pas­try chef wife Te­ria so we tried a de­li­ciously tangy pas­sion­fruit slice, car­damom and rose­wa­ter cake which was “a sub­tle re­minder of Morocco”, a Por­tuguese tart and a moist car­rot cake, all ac­com­pa­nied by ex­cel­lent cof­fee.

While the cof­fee, the his­tory, the leafy out­look and the yes­ter­year mem­o­ra­bilia are un­doubt­edly draw cards, that park­ing is on the same level is a big plus too.

There’s seat­ing in­side for 32 - but why not sit out­side and watch a game of bowls or cro­quet when the weather warms up?

A se­lec­tion of cakes made by the owner's wife

Sport­ing mem­o­ra­bilia do­nated by play­ers

Chor­ley's owner Luwis Fer­nando

Creamy mush­room risotto

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