January retreat to The Eastbury Hotel
After the madness of Christmas I am so glad that Simon and I put off our trip to The Eastbury Hotel until mid January, I feel we will both appreciated it so much more.
This beautiful Georgian hotel now owned by Peter De Savary is situated in the historic town of Sherborne, just over an hours drive from our home, it has recently won Best UK & ireland Hotel for Luxury value at the Conde Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence and it isn't difficult to see why.
The Eastbury Hotel is a recently refurbished, elegant gastronomic country house with the addition of "The Victorian Garden Potting Sheds" and the new Woodland Spa set within the spectacular walled garden.
It is true to say that first impressions count, the staff are positioned in such a way that you are warmly welcomed immediately whichever entrance you arrive at.
It is a beautiful blend of charming character features and contemporary furnishings, I particularly enjoyed perusing the artwork displayed on the ground floor celebrating the Golden Age Illustrators and the collection of books in the Library this space also doubles as a private dining room.
Our booking was for 'Parsley" one of the "Victorian Garden Potting Shed's" look out for some stunning sculptures as you are escorted to your room.
The room itself had everything you could want for a little retreat, comfy bed, large bathroom with plenty of toiletries, wardrobe space and some really lovely extra touches such as a water bottle, complimentary sloe gin and a little fire pit in the outside area not to mention the funky smeg appliances. I would love to meet the designer!
The gorgeous mugs in the rooms are showing support for registered charity Arthouse Unlimited
presenting the talents of adults living with learning disabilities.
However, as a food blogger the highlight for me was always going to be the opportunity to sample the seven course tasting menu. The main Seasons Restaurant overlooks the walled garden and boasts two Rosettes for culinary excellence - the library is also used as a private dining area seating up to twelve guests.
Given the opportunity I would always choose a tasting menu when eating at a quality restaurant, it pushes your culinary boundaries and gives you the opportunity to see what really extraordinary things can be done with food.
Seasons restaurant is headed up by executive chef Matthew Street, who has an impressive career so far, which includes competing in Masterchef The Professionals and becoming a finalist in the 2009 Roux scholarship, as well as retaining Seasons two AA rosettes year on year. This is how our evening progressed.
Enter the Amuse Bouche, creamy onion soup in a cup and saucer served with tomato butter and hidden under a baby crumpet. Next, up Venison tartare served with a raw quail yolk something I've never had before but perfectly paired with with juniper, blackberry and black pudding.
Third course was a classic combination of whipped goats cheese, hazelnuts served with a chilled beetroot soup, absolutely delicious and left me wanting more.
The beautifully plated sweet Devon crab was our fourth course, accompanied with cucumber, wasabi, green apple and grapefruit adding some sharpness to the dish. My absolute favourite course, was dish five in this eating experience, roasted lamb, but with a indian twist, tandoori spice cauliflower, cucumber yogurt, and black dal served in a dimpled copper dish.
These courses were accompanied with a wine flight, perfectly paired and I can honestly say I enjoyed them all.
Honest Valley Shiraz - Australia
La Serenite Curee L'arne Rosé - France
Homes Point Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough - New Zealand
Zapa Malbec - Argentina
When it came to desert we were served a pine nut milk, although delicious it wasn't the easiest thing to eat with a spoon although necessary to delve into the floating island of lemon sorbet, the addition of a shot of Limoncello added a sweet but intense flavour of lemons.
Another desert but this time a sweet Valrhona Chocolate Crémeux, velvety in texture with a rich and intense chocolate taste served with a passion fruit cream and a truly delicious toasted hazelnut ice cream. The wine, Elysium Black Muscat - California was a delightful end to our evening.
After an excellent nights sleep we returned to the restaurant for breakfast and unbelievably I ate cereal, followed by a full English - quoting from the menu "breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Our goal is to serve you fresh, tasty and locally sourced breakfast that will set you up for whatever adventures the day ahead brings"
MATTHEW STREET - Executive Chef
After taking the head chefs advice and setting ourselves up for the day we headed out into Sherborne, some very cute shops and obviously the Abbey worth looking around, we were lucky to arrive whilst Sherborne Girls School choir was rehearsing the acoustics were amazing.
Both castles were closed when we visited but for me that's just another reason to return, and next time I will definitely be booking into The Eastbury spa and sampling some of their Caudalie treatments.
Thank you The Eastbury for looking after us so well during our stay, we look forward to returning very soon.
The Eastbury Hotel and award winning 2 AA |Rosette, /seasons Restaurant.
Tel 01935 813131
Our overnight stay and tasting menu was complimentary - all photographs and opinions are my own.