A world of flavour
Our October dining review took Katrina Burrill to The Comfy Duck at Oaklands Hall Hotel in Laceby, to sample their new autumn menu.
I haven’t been to the Comfy Duck for a few years but I was excited to see what flavours the kitchen was introducing into its autumn menu. Situated a few miles from Grimsby, Oaklands Hall is a busy wedding venue, hotel and restaurant, which prides itself on giving each guest a great experience. Lincolnshire Life has a long relationship with the hotel, having celebrated our Taste of Excellence Awards at the venue for two years. Their restaurant, The Comfy Duck, is well known throughout the county and is a world away from traditional hotel restaurants of the past.
The grand entrance is always a welcome sight for me. Travelling down the drive past the gatehouse gives some understanding of what to expect when you get to the destination. The grand entrance leads through to the restaurant on the left, with its own bar. There is still an air of quality as you are met at reception and shown to your seat. Left with menus and a glass of pinot grigio, myself and my guest perused the choices.
I always enjoy trying new flavours and immediately noticed the pan fried pigeon breast with roasted beetroot and blackberry. I always associated the autumn season with game and enjoy touring the county to taste new choices. My guest was at first undecided after considering the choices, but settled with the tempura king prawns with a sweet chilli dip. As we had both made a beeline for the pigeon we shared our starters which I always enjoy doing, to taste as many flavours as possible. The pigeon was perfectly pink, and the accompanying flavours of wholegrain mustard and beetroot cut through the usual game taste. It was a creative dish which I may have to try and recreate at home. As much as I enjoyed the pigeon, I was pleasantly impressed with the prawns. It was easy to tell they were homemade; the batter was light and the prawns weren’t overpowering, which can be an issue with frozen choices.
For our mains I wanted to try something with a bit of a kick so opted for the wasabi salmon served on hoisin noodles and tenderstem broccoli while my guest went for the Grill section and chose the rib-eye steak. The autumn menu is full of local flavours with worldwide twists including mac ‘n’ cheese, croque monsieur and Thai red curry as well as traditional dishes such as trio of pork, Grimsby haddock and steak and Stilton pie.
My dish was well presented and tasted wonderful. The soft elements of the salmon and noodles worked well with the crunch from the broccoli, and the wasabi mixed in the crumb added just the right level of heat. I always believe you can tell how good a restaurant is from the way they cook their steaks. My guest asked for his to be served medium rare, and often this means the kitchen can leave it on the grill for too long. However, this was not the case and it was cooked to perfection with the knife just gliding through on each cut. There are plenty of options of accompaniments to the Grill dishes but this time a simple addition of skinny fries and a peppercorn sauce were all that was needed.
After our mains we were given some time to enjoy the company and surroundings before taking a look at the dessert menu. As I have a sweet tooth I always enjoy this part of the meal. There were amazing flavours to choose from including a mocha mousse, sticky toffee pudding, and milk and cookies. I felt I needed a chocolate hit and chose the triple chocolate brownie with ice cream. I prefer my brownies to be more on the stodgy end of the spectrum and this fulfilled my wishes. My guest wanted to end his menu with something lighter and opted for the fresh fruit Pavlova with mixed berries. We both washed these down with a Stokes coffee, the perfect end to a wonderful meal.