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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best lunch ever at Gidleigh Park

One of my hobbies is eating my way around Britain and I have been to quite a few notable nosheries including Le Gavroche, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, Maze and The Fat Duck.

But these all paled into insignificance against Michael Caines' two Michelin starred Gidleigh Park restaurant  near Chagford in Devon.

Giz and I went there for Sunday lunch and it was just exquisite!

The hotel is in beautiful grounds in a very peaceful location. It is relaxed and elegant, with the superb, unotrusive service that you expect in a place like this.

After canapes in the lounge as we chose from the menu, we were shown to our table and first to arrive was a complimentary artichoke soup in a tiny glass accompanied by superb artisan bread, crusty on the outside and soft and melting inside as so many bread rolls aren't.

My first course was salmon confit and my main was Devonshire sirloin which came with a cep shaped ravioli filled with delicious braised shin. I would like to tell you all the different components but unfortunately the particular menu we had isn't shown on the website.

We both had an apple plate to finish, which had three apple desserts lined up: tarte tatin, lemon mousse and a lemon biscuit with ice cream, plus a tiny jug with warm apple jus. To die for!

I've added photos of what I ate. Not great quality but I had to take them with my BlackBerry. The camera was with J, who at this time was running the Amsterdam Marathon and finishing at 3 hour 43, which is very good.
We opted for coffee and petit fours in the lounge. I was expecting a couple of hand-made chocolates but it was like another course: three tiny perfectly made desserts on a wooden tray. An apple doughnut, a blackcurrant posset and a chocolate, hand tempered. We couldn't have eaten another thing, so just as well we didn't go for the tasting menu.

The only drawback to this wonderful place was the very windy and narrow country lane leading to the hotel. Unsuitable for heavy vehicles, it had hardly any passing places and for a townie driving a new car was a bit of a white knuckle ride. But well worth it for the experience that followed.

Three decades ago, the otter population was at risk of extinction because of chemicals and poor quality waterways. Now the riverbanks are filled to bursting with otters. Good news indeed!


Buggles Balham High Road said...

We ate at The Bath Priory as Michael Caines is Executive Chef there and was actually cooking the night we went. Completely glorious food and can't wait to eat there again.

Our desert was along the same them as yours but with rhubarb done many ways. Adorable.

The skill, quality, care, intense flavours in his cooking are impossible to describe. I'd rather save up and eat his food a couple of times a year than eat some of the badly prepared food served up in many restaurants.

Your photos do it justice.

Anonymous said...

Another attempt at my good news from Copenhagen - seen in the Copenhgane Post, an English language newspaper. 'A Copenhagen resident was amazed to return home last week and see her bicycle parked right outside her front wondow - not unusual you may think, but the bicycle had been stolen over 5 years ago. In the bicycle basket was a bunch of flowers and a card from the thief with a conscience - apologising for taking the cycle and explaing in had been 'an emergency'. A very long emergency obviously.......