Well, those of you that have been following this thread know that Aiden Byrne left here virtually the same week of our only visit. He was not in the kitchen on the day that we dined, but we were most impressed with what was presented on the table by his head chef Stewart Warner, and partner Jenny Thoden. Since then of course the reports above have echoed our feelings. So another visit was much relished.
Firstly we can understand why this spot is so very popular as a wedding venue. Its fabulous and classy, and of course that comes with a price tag. So dad's, lock up your daughter's, because if they ever visit here they will not want to get married elsewhere. So the venue will be more than memorable to both of you for perhaps different reasons.
We chose a tasting menu of sorts, but unusually for tasting menu's we chose on purpose, different dishes off the carte plus a few additions as amuse and pre dessert. Which meant of course alas that we had different dishes, but I really wanted to showcase photo wise what exactly was on offer.
Now then, I have been seduced by many different things in life. Art, wildlife, landscape, the opposite sex, and of course food. And as I get older, food porn is now perhaps top of my list now. I'm a sucker for a pretty plate of food. So I was in my element with this meal.
We started with an amuse of various titbits as follows Deep fried morels, Cod brandade in violet potato crisps, Lemongrass marinated and grilled shrimp, fennel gazpacho, and a selection of nuts, popcorn and potato chips. (phew)
Bread was excellent, with a choice of three. Plain white, a black olive tapenade, and a seeded. Some unsalted butter to the front with sea salt if you wish to add.
First up proper was a silky smooth Foie gras terrine with gooseberry and sweet wine.
An excellent summers soup next Langoustine, cucumber, creme fraiche, and caviar
. Oh, and did I mention dill mousse?
Roasted and marinated scallops with confit lemon and radish salad.
What a beautiful plate of food. Fresh as a daisy scallops, it ate ever so well.
Sardines, heritage tomato, black olive and nasturtium.
The nasturtiums are actually from Stewart's garden at home. Its all held together with a tomato foam, some raw shallot and a crispy onion topping.
We had a fish course next Poached sea bass, baby artichoke, cockles and broad beans.
Meat next and a most welcome pork dish, which I was looking forward to.Middle white pork, grellot onions and fresh almonds.
Stewart buys his pork as a whole or half beast and butchers it himself. His supplier provided the pork sausage in the dish which is coated in a grellot onion ash, which gives it a nicely charred flavour. The pink sauce by the way is a peach puree which is made leaving the skins on to gain extra colour.
Another very good looking and very tasty dish Hay baked saddle of rabbit with smoked bacon and butterhead lettuce.
There is lots going on in this dish. Some confit shoulder is in the lettuce. Three little squares of belly are layered with smoked bacon. I seem to think the saddle is stuffed with the liver and kidney. Plus there are three sauces of hay cream, lettuce, and rabbit jus. Yum, Yum.
Its cheese Jim, but not as we know it!Blacksticks blue, amaretti, poached apricots.
A clever dish this, taking you from savoury to sweet. Note the line of amaretti biscuits. The cheese is coated in amaretti also, and the brown circle is a purree of amaretti. Pure heaven.
Pre dessert nextCaramelised popcorn, popcorn mousse, citrus jelly and sweetcorn panacotta.
Wow and double wow.
Desserts next and the food was surprisingly light so we were not struggling, and still had a bit of room left. Remember of course we had different courses each.carrot cake, cream cheese mousse with raisins and yogurt sorbet.
Summer berry consomme, pistachio and goats cheese sorbet.
, and dried raspberry crumbs.
Dark chocolate with hazelnuts and redcurrants.
The chocolate is actually a layered cake of hazelnut praline smothered in rich chocolate sauce.
Well, what can I say, we simply can't believe how many courses we got through. The pictures surely tell the story of how good this meal was, easily comparable with some of the best we have eaten, and you know we do get about a bit. I have had to be a bit sketchy on the narrative because of the great number of photos and simply because I was enjoying the food so very much I did not take any notes.
We spoke to Stewart and Jenny after the meal to congratulate them on their achievement and it was a joy to meet such a charming and unassuming couple who work their socks off to please their customers.
I definitely must mention the charming Peter Fisher who looked after us admirably, and in my opinion he is head and shoulders above quite a lot of front of house that we have come across. We hope you enjoy looking at the excellent food and can savour some of the pleasure that we had eating it.
Ladies and gentlemen please give it up for a very happy Stewart and Jenny.
Naturally this place is a big, big recommend.