This was, and remains, an iconic venue and I can see why, in their heyday of John Tovey, it rose to the dizzy heights it occupied. Turning up this mid-March I think that it has slipped from its earlier position. Still showing its eclectic selection of wonderful furnishings and decoration, it is nonetheless just a bit tatty round the edges. Nothing you could complain about, but the point of an iconic venue is that you should positively praise it rather than simply have nothing to complain about. The tattiness was replicated in the dress of our server – his short was crumpled and greying, his trousers clearly ‘well-worn’ – just not quite what I had either hoped for or expected.
We were seated for lunch of one of the small tables looking out over the lake and indeed the lake views for which the place is renowned are truly spectacular. I was surprised to find only two or three other tables occupied, but we did turn up at 13:30 lunch so perhaps it had been busier earlier in the day?
My starter of roast pigeon breast served on a disc of black pudding and sandwiched with apple purée was good, even if the pigeon breast may have been slightly overcooked. My wife had twice cooked cheese soufflé which was simply outstanding, light, crusty and deeply cheesy - everything she soufflé should be.
I'm writing this just over 24 hours after the meal and having trouble remembering what we both had for our main course-what does that say? Ah, now I remember! I had “Grilled Lemon Sole, Brown Shrimp, Prawns, Gherkins and Capers, Creamed Potato” – well executed with a perfect buerre blanc sauce but a few too many capers which occasionally took over form the delicate sole and prawns. Our other dish was a “Crisp Confit Guinea Fowl Leg, Red Onion Marmalade, Salted Potatoes, Poultry Jus” – my wife reported it to be excellent. It must have been because I didn't get to see any of it!
My wife’s dessert could have been described as a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. A not quite acid enough, but perfectly okay, little tarte citron with a brulee crust was served with a few piped blobs of meringue, some raspberries, crushed pistachios, an excellent raspberry sorbet and a certain aplomb - it was excellent. I chose and a rhubarb crumble served with creme anglaise and a rhubarb ice cream. The rhubarb was just the right side of sour, the crumble crumbly and tasty, the creme anglaise spot on and the ice cream superfluous.
We asked for both normal and decaff coffee – only one pot came, and as our server disappeared we were unable to check which it was. ‘Petit fours’ were two chocolates each.
All in all, we enjoyed our visit but I left a little deflated and underwhelmed.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.