A taste of country house classics
Barbara Young enjoys classic cuisine from head chef Jed Stout’s seasonal menu in the elegant and charming surroundings of The Dower House Hotel Restaurant.
Surrounded by two acres of tranquil gardens set in beautiful woodlands by the first fairway of the Bracken course at the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa and approached by a tree-lined private road, The Dower House Hotel offers an idyllic setting for a relaxed dining experience.
Built at the end of the 19th century, this exquisite Edwardian house has recently been given a tasteful makeover with all of its original features retained.
Head chef Jed Stout, who leads a team of five dedicated chefs in this beautiful boutique hotel, has created a well crafted seasonal à la carte menu featuring a selection of dining options to suit all tastes and palates, with the emphasis on creating tempting visual appeal with attractive presentation and well rounded flavours that more than deliver on taste.
We chose to start with light and elegant quenelles of creamed goat’s cheese featuring chargrilled butternut squash, glazed chicory, crystallised walnuts with a delicate sprinkling of nigella seeds, which added just the right amount of herby/onion crunch.
The second starter selected was the intriguingly sounding smoked chicken croquettes, which were golden and deliciously crunchy, served with smooth sweetcorn puree and accompanied by an inventive Thai carrot slaw, with a dash of Asian influence, which balanced the dish perfectly.
With the main dishes, diners are spoilt for choice too. Here you will find a selection of six choices, including roasted venison loin, with spiced carrot and swede puree, kale, crushed new potatoes and Madeira wine reduction or succulent pork chop (from traditional village butcher Graham Fidling) with sage and apple mash, roasted heritage carrots with a cider and mustard cream sauce, with all options featuring locally sourced market fresh ingredients.
featured pink duck breast with hoisin duck leg croquettes and stir-fried vegetables, served with egg noodles in a distinctive and rich soy flavoured sauce, and delicate pan-fried hake loin (from fresh fish suppliers Cook & Lucas in Grimsby) with pea puree, samphire, dill and crayfish beurre blanc, which was beautifully presented and full of flavour with a real taste of the sea.
The delectable dessert menu offers four superb options, plus an excellent Lincolnshire cheese board, but we were swayed by our friendly waitress who recommended one of the restaurant’s most popular puddings: champagne and strawberry posset with a home-made shortbread biscuit, plus the totally indulgent but irresistible Black Forest mousse cake, featuring kirsch-soaked sponge cake, cherry mousse, cherry jelly and cherry compote, served with black cherry ice cream bursting with sweet and fruity flavour.
With the recently renovated dining room (which features relaxing soft sage green and grey tones) booked out for a private dinner on the night we visited, we enjoyed sitting in the window seat of the peaceful separate private dining room which overlooks the stunning gardens.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a special Sunday lunch with family (served 12noon-2pm), a relaxing drink and bar meal in the warm and welcoming Harry’s Bar (12noon-5pm daily), or treating yourself to the popular and highly recommended Afternoon Tea with home-made sweet treats (served daily 2pm-5pm, Sundays 3pm-5pm), The Dower House team are on hand to ensure guests and visitors feel welcome and pampered.
Jed Stout is an ambitious chef who clearly enjoys pushing the boat out with combinations of different flavours and textures in his quest to offer discerning diners something extra special, with future plans to further extend his classic British menu and provide a memorable fine dining experience as the favourite “go to” place in the locality.