Saturday, 9 May 2015

8 course tasting menu dinner at Gidleigh Park.

Gidleigh Park Hotel

Duck with orange, red wine, star anise sauce

Mini starters
I always like to have a meal at Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devon , created and cooked by head chef, Michael Cains who got only one hand due to traffic accident while he was working as a chef.
As a chef it must have been a heart breaking moment, but all credit to him he made one of best restaurant in England (with single hand!)
a few years back.
It is too far just go for a meal from our house, it has to be a long weekend trip.

It was a such  pleasant surprise to receive the gift coupon at Gidleigh park restaurant 8 course tasting menu dinner as a 2014 Christmas present  from my children, John and Catherine.
I bet it must had cost  them a bomb, As we are a foodie  family it is the most delicious gift for us!!
How lucky we are !

Driving early Friday to the West Country was quite an uneventful journey ( not much traffic but nice warm sunny say) , Driving through winding narrow road with pretty  grey stoned cottages , it was beautiful  and relaxing .
As Gidleigh hotel is so expensive to stay, my son  booked nice B&B for us near by village.

Taxi took us Gidleigh, a long road , Tudor style hotel has an old charm. Like old big country manor house, vast hall and wine cellar was impressive.

I can not help thinking who do come this expensive and remote hotel?
But unlike us, so many rich people are visiting for their well earned rest , I was told.

I liked there were a few dinning rooms joined by tasteful wall and imposing door but not completely closed, we could see a part of next dinning room , not too big, 6 tables in ours.

 This kind of cosy room makes dinners can have some atmosphere, hate quiet and empty big restaurant. ( we once dined at 3 Michelin star Restaurant with 4 rich Japanese with a lots of empty tables, it was truly awful, even the foods were so good)
 Dark furniture huge window looking at garden, more like feel sitting in the library or lounge of the manor house than restaurant.

Scallops were excellent, perfectly browned outside and soft in the middle.
Slow cooked salted cod was like a feather, more like scallops then fish.
Our high light was Duck dish.
Crispy skin, pink in the middle, sauce was die for. a kind of French, Asian taste ( red wine, orange, star-aniseed , fennel )  best sauce I've tasted, so far. it was, a bit sour, sweet with Asian flavour in the back ground, very good indeed.
As a keen cook, this kind of sauce is very difficult to master, tried a few times but not quite made like this yet.

The head waiter tried selling us their 2ways beef dish, slow cooked, ox cheek in red wine and low temperature , slow cooked ( in water bath) fillet of beef steak with nice root vegetable. they were perfect in every culinary sense , tender ox cheek in rich, velvety sauce, medium rare pink fillet , but somehow, they did not have wow factor like duck dish for us.
Perhaps, I thought this is the kind of dish, I can make at home (?).

2 green apple dessert was refreshing, but final dessert was pretty to look, orange shaped chocolate moose and other chocolate dish , this one is Chef's signature and the most famous dish, we were told.
But for us too sweet to finish, even I did not eat quarter of it. Looks like an art but not for us.
Being a bitter chocolate lover, they were a wrong dessert for me.
All dinners seemed just love this, all kind of complements to the chef, I can hear. Waiters so disappointed we did not even finish this.
Finally cheese, loved local blue cheese.

Had coffee at  official  library, dark book case with big chairs and tables every corner.
It was some dining experience !
We won't be able to pop in next week for lunch or dinner but  I really enjoyed  this rare dinning opportunity, thanks to our children.

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