Review: The Wilson Cafe

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I make the worst cheese sauce on the planet. No, scrub that – I would make the worst cheese sauce on the planet if only I bothered! I rarely have flour or milk in the house, and I can’t get past the fact that soya, rice or almond milk just doesn’t seem to make very good sauces. The only time this culinary black spot bothers me is when I want macaroni cheese.

My mother made the best macaroni cheese on the planet – a tasty, cheesy sauce with a dash of mustard in that was thick enough to coat the pasta properly and to stay on the fork, and crunchy breadcrumbs coating the top. It was her full-proof method of bribing me to do something: “I’ll make you macaroni cheese on Wednesday night if you give me a lift to a meeting afterwards.” Shazza Cabs was always there like a flash!

There are some fairly decent supermarket ready meals available, but macaroni cheese isn’t one of them – the sauce is always tasteless and too thin. So I end up going without and periodically resolving to have a go at making cheese sauce.

So you’ll excuse my excitement when I spotted ‘Mac ‘n’ cheese’ on the menu at the Wilson Café in Cheltenham. I’m even going to forgive them that glaring Americanism, as it was the best macaroni cheese ever. I dragged a friend there several days later so I could make sure the first time hadn’t been a fluke. It hadn’t. The sauce was perfect, the topping crispy and it came with a stack of bread lightly brushed with garlic. I think I took the glaze off the dish making sure I hadn’t missed a trace of sauce!

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The Wilson Café is a good little find – it’s part of the revamped museum and art gallery in town. The previous café was up lots of stairs and was full once four people were in there. The new one is on the ground floor at the front of the building and has a couple of tables outside. There’s not a huge menu, but what there is seems to be decent quality, and there are always a couple of veggie choices there (even if they’re heavy on eggs, particularly for the breakfast choices). Vegans will struggle, though. The coffee and cakes are yummy as well, and the staff seem friendly. A few people have moaned to me about the slow service there; it’s been fine on the four or five I’ve visited, although the place doesn’t look over-burdened with staff.

I have a nasty feeling the café changes its menu periodically. So I could be OD’ing on macaroni cheese for a while!

The Wilson Café

Clarence Street

Cheltenham

GL50 3JT

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