Showcase for estate produce

GRAIN STORE CAFÉ & RESTAURANT

Address: Doddington Hall, Doddington, Lincoln LN6 4RU

Telephone: 01522 243189

Website: www.doddingtonhall.com/grainstore

Prices:
À la carte menu
Starters: from £7.50
Main courses: from £16
Accompaniments: from £4
Desserts: £8

Opening times:
Café & Bar
Monday – Saturday 8.30am-5pm
Sunday 8.30am-4pm
Restaurant & Bar (booking essential)
Friday & Saturday, 6-9pm
Sunday Lunch 12-4pm


Words by:
Caroline Bingham
Featured in:
April 2024

The Grain Store is the latest addition to the dining options at Doddington Hall. Caroline Bingham visited to sample the à la carte menu, served on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Where once there was an old barn which served as the estate’s grain store, next to the Giant Bike Store, there is now a skilfully and sympathetically designed venue serving Doddington in a different food related role. As an enhancement to the daytime offer, the Grain Store opens as a restaurant on Friday and Saturday evenings and for Sunday lunch.

During the day the café service is ideal for breakfast, a sociable get together or rendezvous for a relaxed business lunch. We were heading to the upper floor for our evening dining.The building and the interior design feature natural materials: wood and stone, still giving the feel of a barn from the exterior but internally a contemporary, flexible space. There are stylish bars on both floors and the upper floor is a mezzanine with views across the lower floor and the three large canvasses by artist Miranda Creswell which hang on the back wall. They depict an interpretation of the Wilder Doddington landscape, which can be viewed from the Grain Store’s picture windows.

We visited on Saturday evening and Giovanni De Rosa, the restaurant manager, showed us to our table. There is elegant space between the tables yet we could still chat to fellow diners whom we knew nearby.
We ordered our drinks from the bar menu which features an excellent selection, as well as cocktails and mocktails, which we enjoyed with Grain of Truth bread served with smoked sea salt butter while we looked at the menu.

The Grain Store is the showcase for produce of the estate, their own pasture fed Lincoln Red beef, game and Kitchen Garden seasonal produce. The menu also features some of the best of other locally sourced ingredients. The dishes are clearly marked with KG to denote the Kitchen Garden source of produce.

We began our meal with pan-fried Cornish scallops for me, served with a cauliflower puree, cauliflower bhaji and curried oil. My daughter chose gnocchi cacao e pepe with fried potato skin and chives. Other options included Doddington Estate venison tartare served with black garlic ketchup, sorrel emulsion and sourdough or salted beetroot served with goat’s curd, sourdough and mixed nuts and golden raisins. My scallops were soft yet meaty and perfectly cooked with the curried accompaniments nicely balanced on flavour. The gnocchi were a light lunch in their own right – hearty and satisfying.

Our main course choices were pan-fried Doddington estate partridge breast served with wild mushroom, English pancetta on a bed of braised butter beans for myself, while my daughter chose braised shin of Doddington beef served with olive oil mashed potato, baby turnips and KG gremolata. These were innovative, seasonal dishes, packed with flavour and reasonably priced at £17 for my dish and £18 for my daughter’s.

Other options for main courses included pan-roasted turbot with seaweed dumpling, clementine and glazed chestnut or celeriac chaat with celeriac puree, Brussels sprouts, coriander chutney and garlic naan. There is also a choice of ribeye or sirloin steaks from the Wilder Doddington herd of rare breed and pasture fed Lincoln Red cattle. Choose your sauce and accompaniments to tailor to your taste.

Nearly all the tables around us were taken by this time, so service was busy but the friendly and efficient staff were mindful of refilling our glasses and clearing dishes as we finished our courses. Giovanni adds his own bit of theatre to service, placing dishes before each diner personally from the waiter’s folding tray stand, brought to each table as food arrives from the kitchen.

Although it was hard to see on the dark evening we visited, in daytime the floor to ceiling windows on each floor lead out to a balcony which have views across to the lake and parkland beyond. On warmer days this is going to be an idyllic spot for drinks and dining.

For desserts we chose a salted caramel panna cotta with pretzel and pomegranate for my daughter and spiced Yorkshire rhubarb Pavlova, with coconut yoghurt sorbet for myself. These were a perfect sweet and delicious way to complete our meal. Other choices included date sponge, burnt caramel and whiskey and coffee sauce, or brown butter ganache with olive oil ice cream and coca tuile. There is also a fabulous cheese board selection featuring just some of the many artisan cheeses stocked in the Farm Shop. We did not have tea or coffee but these are prepared by the in-house Stokes trained baristas.

Our meal had featured robust and generous dishes, a testament to the high quality of the estate’s own produce and to the diverse choice of ingredients accessible within the county and just beyond.

It will be interesting to see how the menus in the restaurant and the café evolve as the seasons change and a new palette of ingredients is harvested from the Doddington estate.



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