The Railway (Smokey Phi Phi) – Cheltenham

The Railway have changed their menu. Dramatically. And they kindly invited me (and a bunch of other lucky bloggers) in to try it out. I’m really sorry to say, this wasn’t the kind of review I wanted to be writing, but I wanted to express my disappointment that I can no longer get amazing sausage and mash at the end of my road. I truly wish that I’d been given some sort of notice, so I could have gone for one last supper. It’s as though an ex broke up with me, with no reason. I’m truly gutted. So here goes…

Atmosphere

Generally, this hasn’t changed. The Railway is still a good old fashioned pub. This makes me happy, as I love it in there. The space is perfect for their weekly quiz night, a bit of live music, and drinking with the locals. Friendly and inviting, exactly what you’d like to see if you came to Cheltenham for the day, and wanted to try out a good, old fashioned Cotswolds Pub. But why oh why, would you want to do that & eat Thai food?

Service

Pretty impeccable. The staff are extremely friendly and relaxed, and I always feel welcome here. They even let my boyfriend & mum join in on the tasting session, after I asked if they could order off the main menu. The staff here really seem to care, and they know how to serve with a smile (which is so important).

Food

Sorry if the rest of this review has seemed short and sweet, but this is the reason why. I wanted to get onto the food. I have been a huge fan (and I mean fan) of The Railway, especially since we moved to Market Street just over a year ago. Whenever my family have come to visit, it’s been our first port of call (and my Stepmum, who is gluten intolerant, was delighted that she could get decent sausage and mash GF). If D and I fancied a sunday roast, this would be where we headed. It’s quite hard to find a decent pub roast in Cheltenham, especially in the town centre and over our side of town, so this was a firm favourite.

Which is why I am absolutely gutted, that they’ve decided to take all of this off the menu. Especially the sausages – why take away what you’re known for?!

I let them have the benefit of the doubt, but I have to be totally honest, if you were going to rank my favourite cuisines, Thai would come near the bottom of the list. I’ve gotten over my fear of it, and I quite like the odd Giggling Squid, but generally, it would never be my go-to meal, I would never fancy a Thai.

But being a “foodie” I walked in open minded, ready to try out what they had to offer. Their menu changes daily, and it was interesting to see what they had on that day. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed.  A lot of the dishes were seafood (so if you like that kind of thing it’s worth a try, again something I generally steer clear of). I did try everything, but generally it was all too spicy for me, and not the good pub grub I’d be looking for. Lots of the dishes came covered in sauce – it would have been better served on the side, and the only dish that I didn’t mind was the fried pork, as it came with a dipping sauce.

You don’t need lots – the dishes are definitely made for sharing, and I would recommend sharing a  main with a couple of sides between 2.

Price and Rating

I’m really sad to be writing this, and I know that there are a lot of people out there who will disagree with me (and I’m glad that there will still be people who are fans of this place – it deserves it). But in my personal opinion, these guys have made a huge mistake. Do we not have enough Thai Cuisine in Cheltenham, with the likes of Thai Brasserie, Thai Emerald, and The Vine on everyones lips?

I will always love the place, I think the staff are fantastic, but I’m gutted to know that I will no longer be a customer of The Railway (or at least until they decide to bring back their roasts!).

It’s good value – around £12-£14 for a main, and £5 ish for a side.

Long live the Sausage!

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P xx

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