Wednesday, 30 December 2009


£45 per head
Champagne cocktail and canapés
Terrine of Abingdon goose, bramley apple, sourdough toast
Beetroot panna cotta, marinated beets, Laverstoke Park buffalo mozzarella
Sweet potato and smoked paprika soup
Smoked bacon wrapped diver caught scallop, pearl barley risotto
Twice baked Barkham blue soufflé, green tea raisins, hazelnuts
Seared lamb noissette, potato cake, black winter cabbage
Gruyere and slow cooked onion tart, wilted spinach, roast chestnuts
We have two slightly boozy but completely delicious deserts to choose from pick one and enjoy the surprise:
After dinner liquor
After dinner cocktail
Organic Union coffee, petit fours

Thursday, 24 December 2009

BOXING DAY BRUNCH at The Cheerful Soul

Stumble along to The Cheerful Soul and join us for our Christmas Day recovery - a delicious Boxing day brunch with something for everyone!

Buffet £12.00

Cheerful Soul Muesli and Granola
Fresh and dried fruits and compotes
Homemade yoghurt
Fine English cheeses
Clove and treacle glazed ham
Fresh baked breads and pastries
Baked vanilla Cheesecake

Cooked to order

Porridge, heather honey £3.25

French toast £4.50

Gloucester old spot sausage, oak smoked bacon, slow braised Portobello mushroom, slow roast tomato, free-range egg £8.50

B.L.A.T sandwich, mustard dressing £8.00

Warm buttermilk pancakes, crème fraiche, blueberry compote, Canadian maple syrup £6.50

Eggs Benedict / Florentine £8.00

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Day feast...

We still have places available for Christmas Day...

CHRISTMAS DAY FEAST £65.50 per head

Thanks to Phil Bowditch and Peachcroft Farm of Abingdon, we have 6 outdoor reared, free-range geese for our traditional English Christmas Day Feast. We have hung the birds “long-legged” for two days to mature and develop the characteristic flavour of these Prince of Christmas Day birds.

Spiced, mulled wine or cranberry juice will welcome you in from the cold

Stuffed neck and confit thigh of Peachcroft Farm goose, peppercorn pease pudding, Bramley apple
Flageolet bean soup
Salad of beetroot, Comice pear, Coxs’ apple and pickled walnuts

Phil Bowditch oak smoked organic Scottish salmon
Warm Benliegh blue cheesecake, caramelised chicory

Pink grapefruit and Angostura water ice

Roast crown of Peachcroft Farm goose, roast King Edward potatoes, creamed sprouts, old spot lardons, mashed swede and real gravy made in the roasting pan

Chestnut and herb stuffed slow roasted onion, roast King Edward potatoes, creamed sprouts and mashed swede

St Clements

Plum pudding, brandy sauce, English custard
Chocolate and chestnut tart, chestnut puree, whipped cream

Organic Union coffee and petit fours

Russell has started to prepare the geese!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas at The Cheerful Soul...

We are delighted to announce that the festivities have truly begun at The Cheerful Soul, the fire is alight, the stockings are hung and our new winter menus are launched. We have outlined below our plans for December, for Christmas and for the New Year and look forward to seeing you over the festive season:-

Christmas festive menu
– Available through December for group bookings over 8, £25.50 per head.
Winter a la Carte – Available every day lunch and dinner except Sundays and of course Mondays (we are closed on Mondays). (This may not be available for group bookings of 10 or more throughout Dec.
Nip and Tuck - Available Tuesday to Thursday lunch throughout December, including 24thand 31st, £12.30 (2 course) £15.90 (3 course). (This is not available for bookings of 10 or more throughout Dec).
Christmas Days menu – Available on Christmas day, £65.00 per head.
Boxing Day brunch – Available Boxing day morning.
New Years Eves menu – Available New Years eve from 6.30pm.

To make a reservation, please call 01628 483343 or email
Sarah is in the office Tuesday to Friday from 10.30am to 3.30pm to answer your calls and return your messages.
Deposits are required on all tables from 22nd to 26th Dec and for 31st Dec dinner.
Deposits are required on all tables of 8 or more throughout December.
An optional service charge is added to all tables over 8 for the festive season.

Christmas Festivities
If you would like to reserve a table for 10 or more, we request you and your party complete a pre-order. This is facilitated by email.

Opening Times
(The following hours are available booking times and not the restaurants closing time)
Lunch Dinner
Thursday 24 December CHRISTMAS EVE 12.00-14.30 18.30-21.15
Friday 25 December CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCH 12.00-14.00 Closed
Saturday 26 December BOXING DAY BRUNCH 10.30 – 12.30 Closed
Sunday 27 December 12.00-15.00 Closed
Monday 28 December Closed Closed
Tuesday 29 December 12.00 - 14.30 6.30 – 21.15
Wednesday 30 December 12.00 - 14.30 6.30 – 21.15
Thursday 31 December NEW YEARS EVE 12.00 - 14.30 6.30 – 21.30
Friday 1 January NEW YEARS DAY Closed for two weeks
Friday 15th January (back to normal) 12.00 – 14.30 6.30 – 21.15

Gift Vouchers
Gift Vouchers, for any denomination, can be purchased by calling 01628 483343. Vouchers can be purchased via telephone and posted to you or an address of your choice (a £2.00 administration/postage fee is applicable for this service). Alternatively you can also purchase gift vouchers from the restaurant direct.

We know it is not even Christmas yet but as we have had some enquiries already just a note to let you know we will be open for Valentine’s Day dinner even though it is a Sunday and we are usually closed Sunday evening. Booking as soon as possible is highly recommended to avoid any disappointment.

Monday, 26 October 2009


SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER 2009 7pm till late
Tickets £22 per adult, £5 per child under 8, £11 for 8-13 year olds.

You are invited to our happy Halloween Hog Roast including a pumpkin carving competition (bring along your carved pumpkin for the chance to win a bottle of our prosecco) and a fancy dress competition (come in fancy dress three categories – adult, junior and children) with prizes being awarded by Raymond Blanc.

Raymond will also be book signing with a selection of his books available for sale including ‘A Blanc Christmas’.

We will be offering a 3 course Hog Roast meal, including a vegetarian option cooked and served outside by the chefs.

There will be a Raffle on the evening with prizes of a lunch for two and/or a dinner for two at The Cheerful Soul. All proceeds from the raffle will go directly to the charity we support this year, the Kileva Foundation. for details visit Tickets are £5 a strip.

There will be musical entertainment from John Newman (lead singer of The Velvet Hearts), apple bobbing, goodie bags for the children and a special Halloween cocktails menu for young and old.

Do come early and meet Peter from Coors for your complimentary Magners cider – limited availability--!!

Tickets £22 per adult, £5 per child under 8, £11 for 8-13 year olds. To book tickets call 01628 483343 or visit 'The Cheerful Soul', Henley Road, Marlow. SL7 2DF or email


Monday, 31 August 2009

The Cheerful Soul Opening party!

The morning of the party I still had nothing to wear, I hadn’t had time to sort it out so I went down to Noa Noa, my favourite shop and there just happens to be one in Marlow (which to be honest did have a bit of an influence on our choice of location for the restaurant!)
I rushed in and explained that I need something for the opening party but was in a real hurry so the ‘Noa Noa girls’, Jo, Sam and Phoebe came to the rescue. They collected up an outfit for me to try on and the accessories to go with it. I tried it all on and it was lovely, then I realised I had no shoes so they rushed of and got a pair of perfect shoes. I was worried that they would hurt by mid way through the night, everyone who works in a restaurant will know how important comfortable shoes are! I am pleased to say that they were comfortable and gorgeous ALL NIGHT!

Then the night came, mum arrived who I thought was bringing the ribbon for the big opening and said “where is the ribbon?”. The ribbon was supposed to be delivered the day before!
Only a few hours to the ribbon cutting and no ribbon!!! No problem, my amazing mum rushed of to B&Q, bought a roll of red wallpaper and fashion the most amazing bow around on the front of the restaurant. It looked so much better that the ribbon would have looked. I was glad the other one didn’t turn up.

The night went brilliantly!

Monday, 6 July 2009

At The Cheerful Soul we have:
A main menu,
an offer menu starting at £11.50 for two courses including a Glass of Wine or Nip of Ale,
often changing specials,
a childrens menu at £5.95 including a drink, meal and ice cream
and a bar snack menu.

Our main Menu:

Pea, mint and broad bean soup with lemon oil £3.50
Brixham crab and clotted cream tart with horseradish dressing £5.50
Pressed ham hock terrine with cauliflower piccalilli and warm toast £5.25
Fresh and aged Homefield House goats cheese salad with marinated beetroot £6.95
Marinated cherry tomato and shallot tart £6.50
Half pint of shell on Atlantic prawns with homemade mayonnaise £6.50

Main course
Sauteed summer mushrooms, tagliatelle, garlic chives, crème fraiche and pea shoots £10.50
Chargrilled aubergine with garlic, potato dumplings and fresh pistou £10.75
Braised Atlantic sea trout with summer vegetables, white wine and basil £13.50
Warm roast chicken ballotine, fresh garden salad, tarragon dressing £11.25
Braised lamb clod fillet, smoked aubergine, buttered spinach £15.95
Slow cooked belly pork, wilted gem lettuce, peas and spring onions £12.75

From the grill
Line caught Cornish sardines, rosemary sea salt, chips £10.75
Seared Skirt steak (7oz) with shallot and mustard dressing, chips £11.50

Our brilliant butcher Aubrey Allen hangs our steaks to dry mature for at least 28 days for tenderness and flavour. We serve them with hand cut chips, braised field mushroom and roast tomatoes. Please feel free to swap if you would like a different style of potato or salad with your steak.

Sirloin (8oz) £19.50
Whole cut Fore-Rib steak (8oz) £17.50
Fillet (8oz) £23.50

A bit on the side
Hand cut chips £2.50
Mashed potatoes £2.50
Boiled potatoes £2.50
Peas, wilted gem lettuce, spring onion £2.75
Buttered spinach £2.75
Carrots with marjoram £2.75
Green salad £2.95
Garden salad £2.95

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Cheerful Soul OPEN 7th JULY!!!

We are pleased to announce that we will be opening for business from the 7th July 2009!
For our first week we ask that you pre-book your table as there are limited places and we don't want you to be dissapointed. Call The Cheerful Soul on 01628 483343 to book or e-mail

However you are welcome to visit the bar and enjoy a drink and a bar snack which is open without the need to book.

Pimms is available on tap to enjoy in the sunshine on The Cheerful Patio!

Or enjoy a good old fashioned Ploughmans Lunch and a pint!

We are all looking forward to offering you a big welcome and showing you around the newly renovated Hare and Hounds 17th century country inn now re-named 'The Cheerful Soul'.

The Cheerful Soul in The Hare and Hounds, Henley Road, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2DF

Holly english (The Cheerful Artist)
When you visit why not see if you can find the mousehole!?!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Goodbye old sign, Hello new Cheerful sign...

How exciting ...
...the old Hare and Hounds really is changing into
The Cheerful Soul!!!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Cheerful Garden.

The garden...

With a huge amount of help from 'Mulberry Garden Maintenance' and Anne-Marie (head Gardener at Le Manoir) and her team the Cheerful garden is looking so much better. We have a vegetable patch that is starting to sprout with vegetables and herbs and will eventually end up on the plates in the restaurant.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Cheerful Soul starts to take shape...

We finally have a home for The Cheerful Soul and as you can see from the picture above we couldn't wait to get stuck in!
Turning the new premises into The Cheerful Soul is proving to be very exciting. We have been planning for a long time but of course there is always the worry that we may have made the wrong decision or our ideas won't work but so far it is great and the place (even though it looks like a building site) is really starting to look good!
This is the Novus detail Team who played a big part in helping us plan the work for the restaurant and are now all hard at work making the transformation from The Hare and Hounds to The Cheerful Soul happen...

LEFT: Bradley & Dan

RIGHT: Simon (Michele's Brother), Gerald***** & William

We will keep you posted!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Yorkshire Pudding...

Wow that inbox is pretty full!
We would like to say a huge thank you to all our American cousins for all the messages of support and congratulations that we have received. The series has just finished showing in the states and even though for us it seems a long time ago now that filming finished, we are still travelling down a pretty tough road and it means a lot to know you guys are rooting for us.
Here is a video of Raymond and I cooking up a Yorkshire pudding which is a traditional food form the county of Yorkshire in the north of England. I don't know if this recipe has made it across the pond. It is basically an egg batter cooked in hot fat, either dripping or now usually just vegetable oil. Over here it is traditionally served on it's own before a meal but it is very versatile and here we have made a stew to serve in it. You could also fill it with sausages, roasted onions and gravy or even try it as a sweet with some fruit compote or jam. I really hope I'm not committing some sacrilege and alienating the whole north east of England with these suggestions!

The recipe is really simple:

For 1 great big pudding or 12 smaller ones:

Pre-heat the oven to 210c (410f) and put in your pudding pan or muffin tin which should be 1/4 full of fat

Break 3 eggs into a measuring jug and make a note of the volume.

In a mixing bowl put plain flour in equal volume to the eggs, add a pinch of salt, whisk in the eggs then stir in milk , again of equal volume. Try not to over mix as this will develop the glutens and make the batter chewy.

Leave to rest at room temperature for about an hour to help swell the starch molecules.

Cook in the hot oven in very hot fat (please take care) until well risen and golden brown, drain on absorbant paper before serving.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

We need chefs and front of house staff...

JOBS AT THE CHEERFUL SOUL!! On the Oxfordshire / Buckinghamshire border

…An exciting opportunity awaits! Giving you the chance to be there right at the beginning of a brand new company.

Michele and Russell, winners of BBC2’s “The Restaurant” 2008, in partnership with Raymond Blanc are soon opening their restaurant “The Cheerful Soul”.

We’re offering you the chance to
show some Jazzamatazz and be a key part of our team building our reputation for
serving a delicious, frequently changing Great British menu in a relaxed environment
with an enormous welcome and excellent customer service.

Sound like you? We’re looking for an experienced, cheerful Assistant Restaurant Manager who will enjoy being part of developing the success of ‘The Cheerful Soul’.
Day to day you will be Michele’s right hand man and you will act as manager in her absence.


We’re looking for an experienced, adaptable Sous Chef who is excited about creating a great culinary reputation for TCS and helping develop our kitchen team.
You will assist Russell in the day to day running of the kitchen and to be responsible for the smooth running of the kitchen in his absence.

‘The Cheerful Soul’ – Eat, Drink and Be Merry.

Other positions are also available including waiting staff, Kitchen staff, Bar staff cleaner
To apply please email:

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Menu Testing

On Thursday last week Russell had to cook up and test out the whole proposed menu for ‘The Cheerful Soul’ under the scrutinising eye of Raymond Blanc and our mentor John Lederer, who you may remember as being one of the judges on series one of ‘The Restaurant’.
It was a lot of work to create one of each dish at the same time. We both got our chef whites on and got cooking. We presented all the dishes along with the costing for each dish down to the last gram of flour.
Their favourite dish was a Rhubarb Trifle, it was quite flattering to have chefs walking around Le Manoir kitchen eating Russell’s Rhubarb Trifle saying ‘that’s delicious’.

There were a couple of other dishes they really liked, one of which was this Ham Terrine served with Russell’s cauliflower piccalilli.

Don’t think the menu testing was by any way smooth and easy – oh no! Raymond and the others don’t just want the food to be OK. They want it to be really good so they were critical of every little aspect – things that most of us wouldn’t think twice about gets noticed by Raymond Blanc. He always gets his hands stuck in and rearranges things on the plate!

So the outcome was that we had a few dishes staying just the way they are, a few that will be changed slightly – different accompaniments, arranged differently etc, and a few we will change completely. It was the first time Russell had cooked up all the dishes on the menu so he decided he didn’t like them all either.

A chef’s work is never done – back to the kitchen Russell!

Friday, 6 February 2009

The quest begins...

It is hard to decide exactly what you want from a restaurant when someone says they are going to help you get one.
We have always dreamed of what our restaurant would look like and where it would be but it has all just been daydreaming and now it is a real decision.
We have looked at so many very different restaurants that we have been around the country about 4 times and our poor, battered little Micra decided to shed its exhaust just for some piece and quiet.
Of course we want the premises to be lovely and we want a garden for guests to sit outside in the summer with a nice glass of wine and delicious summer lunch BUT first and foremost it has to work as a business so we need to make sure it is the right size, is in an area where people want to come and eat out and not too far away from civilization.

We found one that we couldn’t stop thinking about! A place that we walked in and it felt like home, it is in Surrey, but in typical Michele and Russell style it is a complex proposition! We don’t like to make things too easy for ourselves (perhaps this is why we decided to do a reality TV show to get help opening a restaurant rather than just ask a bank for some money – on second thoughts given the current climate maybe there is some sense there after all!) We have to first take Raymond Blanc to get his approval and then the financial deal needs to be done so we don’t know if we will be there yet.
We also stopped in on James and Ali’s old restaurant from the show (it is now called ‘The Hare and Hounds’) while we were out looking just to have a look around. It was great timing as we incidentally met up with one of the owners who offered us a lovely lunch; they had just changed their menu so they were trying it out on us and it really was nice. They have taken on a new chef who speaks with a strong Californian accent and has an American flag wrapped around his head like a bandana so as not to leave you in any doubt of his origins – he still cooks a mean English fish pie. If we can’t have the one in Surrey we would like to find somewhere just like that.
Then we looked around a pub restaurant near Oxford it is well out the way of any towns so you would have to drive there, it is a really lovely building and has a garden but we don’t like the fact that it is so far away from anything we always think ‘why would you drive when you can walk somewhere?’
You could help us out by letting us know what you think. Where would you like us to be and why? Where needs a good restaurant? What do you think about the places we have mentioned?
If you prefer to email rather than post on the blog contact us at and we will also add you to our address book to let you know what happens next.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Cooking demonstration at Brasserie Blanc

Russell and Raymond Blanc cooking.

No like this!!! you English pig.

Raymond Blanc came to Brasserie Blanc Bristol today to cook with 5 competition winner from local papers. Russell joined in and lead the Mussels demonstration...

...Raymond wanted to test out Russells Mussels!
You can watch Russell undergoing the mussel test by clicking this link:

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year to all!

One of the questions we are being asked a lot is “where is your restaurant?” the answer is, we still don’t know.
We are looking for a premises and it is a big job in itself to find the right place.
All we know is that the restaurant will be not too far from Great Milton in Oxford where Raymond Blanc is based. We are both really looking forward to finding the right place and as soon as we do we will let you know.
We are currently still working in Brasserie Blanc but concentrating a lot more on creating all the paperwork needed for our restaurant. We will be creating a restaurant with the same kind of atmosphere as we did on the show, relaxed and welcoming and filled with cheer. During the show we were supposed to create our dream restaurant, but as you know we didn’t have a choice of location or a very big budget or much time to makeover the restaurant so we created as close a representation as we could with all the constraints we had. The food will be British ‘brasserie’ style, simple recipes but beautifully cooked with fresh ingredients, similar to that created on the show but again we will have a lot more time to plan and prepare dishes. Russell is currently working on creating you delicious menus.
Our aim is to be open by May but it really depends on when we find the right premises.