We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Small, tasty, well presented”
Review of Koj

Koj
Ranked #8 of 490 Restaurants in Cheltenham
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$13 - US$39
Description: New restaurant and cocktail bar in Cheltenham by MasterChef finalist Koj. #NOsushi, just tasty Japanese grazing dishes. Our bar, Kampai, is also open, serving Japanese beers, cocktails, whisky, sake and shochu.
Restaurant details
Description: New restaurant and cocktail bar in Cheltenham by MasterChef finalist Koj. #NOsushi, just tasty Japanese grazing dishes. Our bar, Kampai, is also open, serving Japanese beers, cocktails, whisky, sake and shochu.
Reviewed 28 June 2018 via mobile

I've been here before for lunch, but in the evening it turns it up a notch. Flavour and attention to detail, rather than large portion sizes, are the focus here. The steamed buns are sticky, tasty goodness. Choose between lamb, pork or cod - I tried them all and none of them disappointed.
I went there for my 40th birthday. As we rarely go out to eat, we'd have been more than peeved to get a poor meal. No need to worry, we couldn't have been happier. We let the chef choose the dishes. I'm glad we did, or I'd have missed out on the sea bream. The seared sea bream was tasty enough for us to fight over, and negotiate who was getting what.
The Koj fried chicken was perfectly seasoned. The beef tataki was delicious, tender and well prepared - and surprisingly refreshing.
The kids loved the Koj chicken and cod croquettes - great to see them polish off the plates.
The desserts were OK, but the ice cream was absolutely outstanding. Really rich, but just enough to leave you wanting more without feeling you'd had too much.
The extensive cocktail menu had a list of original cocktails and twists on classics. Perfect antidote to the summer heat. The owner even came over and gave us a sample of a Japanese spirit.
A very pleasant evening we all thoroughly enjoyed.

2  Thank Paul K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KojCheltenham, Owner at Koj, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2018

Thanks Paul

(Review verified by booking reference DMN-16704117843)

You describe just how we want the experience to be. Delighted you tried the shochu - not many do - hence happy to give you a sample of one of the others for comparison. Glad your children enjoyed it as well.

Happy 40th birthday.

Koj

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (382)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

48 - 52 of 382 reviews

Reviewed 28 June 2018 via mobile

Truly special evening from good service to interesting, delicious food. Felt like I was in London. Super cocktails too. Chose here for my birthday supper with family. Always love trying the new dishes. We ate far too much as had to try everything. Koj deserves success.

2  Thank Rachel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KojCheltenham, Owner at Koj, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2018

Thank you Rachel, lovely to see you back and glad we didn't let you down - in particular your mum who is handy in the kitchen!

Verified by booking reference DMN-16704046727

Koj

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2018 via mobile

We booked here after reading the very positive Trip Advisor reviews.

At 6.00 pm, the place wasn’t open so we had to hang around in the street for a bit.

We had a drink upstairs and then went downstairs. We were shown to a table in front of an uncurtained window in full sun. It was one of the hottest days this summer. We couldn’t have the adjacent shadier table because it was reserved. We had reserved several weeks in advance. We went back upstairs where the windows had blinds which we closed. It was already uncomfortably hot, no air conditioner, not even a fan.

The menus arrived but without the much reviewed helpful advice. We were told we could have the all in £28 menu or make our own choices. The rest of the service wasn’t good either. Reviewers praise their unobtrusiveness. They were so unobtrusive I had to go looking for them twice. They had to be asked to find replacement napkins, which took some time. And to top up the water jug. And to bring us some wine. And to clear all of the starter plates before trying to unload the main course plates on to the table.

The food wasn’t awful, wasn’t great. Had some novelty value. It was ok. Not ok enough to make me want to go there ever again.

I simply do not recognise this place from the reviews.

6  Thank Tony S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KojCheltenham, Owner at Koj, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2018

Dear Tony,

Thank you for your review (verified by booking reference DMN-16703649643)

I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience here and I appreciate being able to talk about it over the phone.

I am sorry we weren't open at 6pm on the dot, which clearly got us off on the wrong foot, with you having to wait for a minute or two in the heat, especially as you had arrived early for your booking and wanted to have a pre-dinner drink.

The table that we had allocated you is, for most of the year, one of the most popular tables, being right by the window, but as you point out it was one of the hottest days so far this year and although we had the outside awning out, the sun shines into our restaurant until it disappears behind the shops on the Promenade. Regardless of when you made your reservation, unfortunately we could not move you to the table adjacent because our regular customers had requested that table. Since there were no other options for your party of 4, you insisted upon moving upstairs, despite our assurance that the sun would be disappearing behind the buildings very soon.

There are two air conditioners upstairs, but on an average Tuesday we do not expect to take any tables upstairs, so we did not have them on to cool the room before you arrived. It is environmentally unfriendly and expensive to run air conditioners to cool a room, when we do not anticipate using it.

Regarding the lack of advice on the menu, we have a well practised introduction to the menu and on this particular occasion we explained to you twice because we observed that you had not taken it in the first time

As you may appreciate, profit margins in restaurants are wafer thin, so if we do not have enough bookings to justify opening both dining rooms, we adjust staffing levels accordingly. I'm sorry if this impacted the level of service you received, but I would ask you to appreciate that you chose to sit upstairs when we had made plans for you to sit downstairs.

I'm sorry to hear that you rate your experience as 'poor' - as you point out, that's not the experience of most of our customers. We aim to please and we tried to be empathetic and accommodating towards you, but occasionally we just have to accept that there is no pleasing some people.

Koj

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2018 via mobile

It’s going to be hard to write this review as I honestly do not have the words to describe how incredible the whole experience was!

Dan the bar manager looked after us with good humour, great knowledge (especially helping make a cocktail possible without egg white because I’m allergic) and great charisma! The other members of the front of house team were lovely too (sorry, don’t know names!)

Everything flowed so well, as soon as it was seen we were finishing appetisers, our buns were brought and similar again with our main selections.

We also spoke to Koj at the end of our meal and he was humble, very personable and very keen to hear our feedback.

All of this was enhanced further by the absolutely incredible food. None of us could find the right words to describe how amazing it was. We’ve all eaten in a variety of Asian restaurants from street food to high end and Koj blew them all out of the water.

The buns were beyond perfect, and the mains we selected just had the most wonderful flavours and textures.

I have told my husband that we have to go and stay in Cheltenham for the night (when the grandparents have our toddler) just to go to Koj!

3  Thank PinkSparkle85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KojCheltenham, Owner at Koj, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2018

Thank you - verified by booking number DMN-16703947635

Lovely comments, we're delighted to hear, especially having had a couple of "poor" reviews recently, we're glad to know you enjoyed it.

We look forward to seeing you back again with your husband!

Koj

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2018 via mobile

I now consider myself much better educated as to the cuisine of Japan having dined at Koj. My only previous exposure to Japanese food has been, as I expect most people, Sushi and, as much as I enjoy it, can be a bit limited in variety.

I now know that there is so much more to Japanese food. From simply cooked Edamame beans to delicious ‘buns’ and the excellent Koj Fried Chicken are all highlights.

I can definitely recommend Koj, especially if you’re looking for something a little different.

1  Thank Matt F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KojCheltenham, Owner at Koj, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2018

Thanks very much Matt, that's just what we want to hear. Thank you for taking the time to post a review.

Review verified by booking reference DMN-16703157326

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Koj also viewed

 
Cheltenham, Cotswolds
Cheltenham, Cotswolds
 
Cheltenham, Cotswolds
Cheltenham, Cotswolds
 

Been to Koj? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing