Fresh ingredients, capably prepared: simply a good meal. This intimate little restaurant is both fun and great value. There’s no sushi, just a selection of authentic appetisers, buns and grazing plates. With Japanese beers, sake and cocktails, you will leave with a smile.
— Michelin Inspectors
The food arrives in waves: Koj fried chicken with sesame mayo and miso roast cod. The buns include soft-shell crab tempura and an ox heart burger. Desserts include yuzu posset. Friendly, knowledgeable service adds to the relaxed feel in the informal space.
— The Good Food Guide inspectors
Leeks are charred, but possess an inherent sweetness, accentuated by a rich miso dip. Genuinely interesting, intelligent Japanese food, far removed from the usual dreary clichés. A gleamingly bright shard of Japan, in this most English of Cotswold towns.”
— Tom Parker Bowles in The Mail on Sunday
Marinated and seared sliced beef comes on a sprightly salad of ginger, shiso and daikon for extra crunch. It’s a slick and confident operation, run by a team which knows what it’s doing.
— Jay Rayner in The Observer
If you want something different, Koj is a small, informal dining room with Japanese grazing dishes. The okonomiyaki, a sort of Japanese bubble and squeak, is very good. I also recommend the beef tongue bun with wasabi mayonnaise and pickled shiitake.
— David Everitt-Matthias in The Telegraph
Judges were wowed by Koj fried chicken and the success that has already been established - including amazing reviews in the national press and the Michelin guide. The ‘go to’ restaurant for Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, offering an eclectic range of Japanese dishes that are tasty and satisfying with their unique selling point of no sushi
— Best Newcomer, Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2018


Like many chefs, I am a Marmite hypocrite when it comes to TripAdvisor: I love the praise and hate the criticism. And like a true hypocrite, I myself use it to shortlist restaurants in a town that I’m unfamiliar with, if only then to do my own research. Cheltenham is an attractive town for visitors as well as residents, so like it or not, TripAdvisor is an important marketing platform for customers to find us.

Around 3% of our customers leave a TripAdvisor review. If you would like to leave a review, we’ll take the rough with the smooth. We accept that things sometimes go wrong - we’re only human! In an ideal world, we’d like the chance to rectify things at the time. Feedback is important for us to improve but we find that bilateral dialogue is more constructive than anonymous monologue. We chose a career in hospitality because we aim to please and enjoy interpersonal engagement.

We understand TripAdvisor’s decision to publish anonymous reviews, but it leaves it open to manipulation and abuse, as highlighted in our blog that went viral. We can’t provide the definitive solution but we encourage you to quote your booking reference or otherwise self-verify your review. This will protect your anonymity but allows us to acknowledge your feedback, if only to apologise.