Doddington Hall Restaurant, Doddington
This month I was invited to Doddington Hall to sample their À La Carte menu.
This was my first visit to the restaurant, although I have sampled their café menu on numerous occasions. Their menu changes monthly to make the best use of the estate’s ingredients. Most of the produce on the menu comes from their own doorstep. Their Kitchen Garden provides the fresh fruit and vegetables, they rear their own grass-fed Lincoln Red Beef and their gamekeeper provides the fresh game. The chefs also use the land to forage for ingredients including wild garlic, nettles, elderflower and blackberries. The team also uses local producers to supply other ingredients such as artisan bread, rapeseed oil, cheese, free-range eggs and meat, and fish from Grimsby.
The restaurant has been decorated to give an upmarket feel, using decorative touches including the shell of a boat owned by James Birch. The restaurant is open for lunch daily, both Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm and afternoon teas are served from 2.30pm Mon–Sat. The café is open for breakfast, lunches and Doddington’s famous homemade cakes daily. My guest and I chose a wonderful warm Saturday evening to visit. When you first arrive at Doddington Hall, you walk through the wonderfully stocked farm shop to reach the café and restaurant. We both started our evening with a wonderful white wine spritzer whilst perusing the menu. The menu has been cleverly thought out, with ten choices. Some of the options allow for both starter and main course portion sizes. I was looking forward to sampling some of the estate’s own produce, so chose the Estate Pigeon breast served with a pea, smoked bacon and asparagus fricassee and Lincolnshire rapeseed oil and my guest opted for the potato and beetroot rosti served with a fried Doddington hen’s egg, tomato and mushroom salsa.
Whilst we waited for our starters to arrive we were offered some fresh, homemade salt and pepper bread which was delicious. I enjoy sampling new flavours of bread and this was particularly beautiful. Our starters arrived and they both looked delicious. I always like to try new flavours and this was my first pigeon, but having read great reviews I was more than happy to sample it. The pigeon was served pink, which is how I prefer my meat. It was a beautiful arrangement of flavours and a perfect portion size. My guest’s rosti also looked stunning. The bright red of the beetroot showed how fresh it was and I think the completely empty plates were a sign of how much we enjoyed our food.
For our main courses I wanted to try some of the grass-fed Lincolnshire Red from the estate so chose the Doddington Herd beef blade and mussels, smoked new potatoes and parsley sauce. Most of the ingredients came from the estate making use of the Kitchen Garden. Again the flavours were absolutely wonderful, and the parsley sauce was a stunning green, adding a visual impact to the dish. The beef easily broke apart and the mussels were large and extremely tasty. My guest opted for the beef burger which was served with bacon mayonnaise in a brioche bun with hand-cut chips and a red cabbage slaw. We both discussed how you can tell a good chef from how well they can cook some of the more basic menu items and she was thoroughly impressed with the flavours and finish of the burger and the accompaniments.
Although we were both pleasantly full we wouldn’t be doing justice to the restaurant if we didn’t also try a couple of their dessert options. Their desserts are all created fresh on the premises, so we were excited about what would come.
My guest chose the Matcha green tea crème brûlée with dark chocolate shortbread whilst I opted for the strawberry and pistachio mousse mille-feuille with candied pistachios. I’ve never had a mille-feuille before and was quietly impressed with the great levels of flavour. Not only were the flavour combinations lovely, the overall visual effect was beautiful on the plate.
Although I think we kept the staff a bit late, we both thoroughly enjoyed our evening and I am already looking forward to our next visit.