I have always loved The Daffodil, the art-deco restaurant in Cheltenham, which visionary owner Mark Stephens opened back in 1998 when I was a student in the town. It was lovingly restored by scraping away layers of neglect to the art-deco glory beneath and now he's done it again by taking on the shop next door that was once part of the same art-deco cinema and he's turning it into a deli with a local store approach and I was lucky enough to be invited for a sneak peek.
The deli called The Chefs' Pantry is run by former Daffodil maitre 'd Katie Garrity (pictured above) and will sell groceries such as bread and milk for locals, live lobsters (there are special crustacean tasks), delicious fine chocolates made by Nailsworth based Matthieu de Gottal, artisan produced local cheeses and British charcuterie, fine wines and The Daffodil's take on 'ready made' dishes by head chef Tom Rains, which includes my favourite popcorn pannacotta.
All the produce sold in the Pantry is used in the kitchen, from stocks, sauces and condiments to all the fruit and vegetables beautifully displayed in wooden crates. So, and to me this is the genius bit, the restaurant's high turnover of ingredients will mean that the Pantry will always have the freshest ingredients and if the customer wants just a sliver of cheese for example, then the rest will go through into the restaurant kitchen to make the popular cheese souffle! There won't be any food waste in this kitchen.
The decor feels very 'old fashioned grocers' mixed with a touch of 'French art deco' - think gorgeous art-deco lights, metro tiles grouted with grey, crates of fresh fruit and veg and a white marble top counter. It compliments the building and the beautiful restaurant next door, this has been done with passion and the products for sale that are chosen are only those used in the restaurant ensuring they are of the best quality.
Plates that will be available from the Chefs' Pantry include; heirloom tomatoes and halloumi, Wye Valley asparagus and duck egg (pictured above) and house made smoked salmon (pictured below) with horseradish mustard. Customers will be able to order meals to take away from the menu and buy ingredients to recreate their favourite dishes.
The Chefs' Pantry opens on Monday, 25th May 2015, for more information visit The Daffodil. The Daffodil restaurant is open from midday - 11pm Monday - Saturday and is situated in Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham, GL50 2AE.