After a rather gastro-tastic holiday in Cornwall where we sampled wondrous food at the likes of The Seafood Restaurant, Nathan Outlaw at Rock, Paul Ainsworth at No.6 and Driftwood, we couldn’t help but take a minor detour on the way home and stop off for lunch at two Michelin starred Gidleigh Park.
The drive from Padstow along Dartmoor was simply breathtaking. The views of the countryside were incredible and we even had to stop the car a couple of times as there were ponies in the middle of the road!
After arriving in Chagford in Devon and driving up the mile long single track country lane to get to Gidleigh Park we started to wonder if we were going the right way (there’s hardly an signposts) but we got there in the end and boy oh boy was it worth it! It was a beautiful country house surrounded by woodland that couldn’t have looked any more stunning in the sunshine.
There were three small dining rooms and the one in which we were seated was very formal and slightly old fashioned – in a charming way. It definitely had a country house vibe going on.
To start things off, two mini amuse bouches; a mushroom set custard and curried pollock. Both looked very pretty indeed and tasted wonderful. The homemade bread offered was a generous selection and, although a little heavily dusted with flour, they were all delicious.
We decide to go for the set lunch menu, which on this occasion was £50 for three courses including a glass of Sicilian Wine (must have been two-for-one at Oddbins!).
To start I opted for the veal sweetbread raviolo with tomato fondue, watercress purée and veal jus. As we quickly came to realise with every dish, the presentation was absolutely stunning. The pasta was thin and cooked perfectly and the sweetbread filling was light and delicate yet provided the right amount of meaty loveliness.
My gentleman companion went for the Loch Duart salmon with cucumber and salmon jelly, honey soy vinaigrette, wasabi and Greek yoghurt. There were a lot of ingredients but they were balanced masterfully and the quality of the salmon was second to none.
My main course was right up my street; local beef rump and cheek, celeriac puree, roast shallots and red wine sauce. The rump had a rare centre with a blackened outside which was utter perfection and the beef cheek fell apart when touched. Some smokey lardons added to this heavenly meat feast.
My gentlemen companion went for the Cornish grey mullet, cauliflower, lemon thyme and cumin velouté. The florets of cauliflower had a slightly curried flavour which worked really well with the mullet. It was a very light and delicate dish.
For dessert I opted for the glazed lemon tart with lemon confit sorbet and candied zest which was so pretty I would have gladly hung it on my living room wall. I love lemony puds and this showcased the citrus fruit in all its tangy glory. By far the best lemon tart I have ever eaten!
My gentleman companion went for the hot pistachio souffle with pistachio ice cream. Our waitress pierced a hole in the top and poured a warm pistachio cream inside just to add to the decadence. The souffle was as light and fluffy as you could only dream of.
We decided to have coffee in the lounge area which was slightly reminiscent of an old lady’s living room, again, in a charming way. As we sunk into the comfy sofas and admired the beautiful view, our eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when we saw the petit fours. Three mini puds served on a wooden board all looked delightful; the chocolate fondant which was served warm being our favourite.
Before we left we had a wander through the surrounding woodland which was equally as stunning as the rest of the place. We loved everything about Gidleigh Park; the food, the service and the setting. If it wasn’t so far away from London, I’d go there all the time!