The Comfy Duck, Laceby
Caroline Bingham and guest visit Oaklands Hall Hotel, a Victorian country house hotel set within five acres of beautiful parkland which is home to the Comfy Duck restaurant.
The house was built in 1877 and the elegant front porch, reception rooms and restaurant still retain the detailed plasterwork, high ceilings and architecture typical of the period which has given the building its Grade II status. The hotel is now part of the Best Western group, owned by a local family and run by a knowledgeable and friendly team of hospitality professionals. The décor still respects the heritage of the building but has been achieved with contemporary styling and accessories.
We were welcomed at the entrance to the Comfy Duck by restaurant manager Jeff Jafari, who is a well-known and respected maitre d’. Jeff has made his career locally and knows many of his customers by name. He is also excellent at promoting the live music and programme of special events which take place throughout the year at the hotel.
In February there is a strong romantic theme, with a celebratory Valentine’s His and Hers Afternoon Tea served from the 5th to the 17th, a three-course Valentine’s Menu served on the 9th,10th,11th and 14th plus a Wedding Open Day on the 25th. Be sure to book well ahead.
My daughter and I were dining in the evening and once we were seated at one of the booth tables we began with a gin and tonic for myself and a soft drink for her. My drink was served with two juicy blackberries and lemon – quite delicious!
We had the choice of either the evening ‘Rosette’ or à la carte menus, both of which offered a very tempting selection of dishes. The Comfy Duck has established a strong reputation for its cuisine and head chef Chris Davey and his team are passionate about using locally sourced fresh ingredients.
My three choices were all from the ‘Rosette’ menu: pan fried scallops with chorizo, celeriac puree and toasted almonds to start; rack of lamb served with Duchess potatoes, honey roast roots and jus for my main course and Key Lime pie with a pineapple insert, Italian meringue and a coconut chocolate bar to complete the meal.
My daughter mixed and matched with a ham hock terrine served with toasted brioche from the à la carte to begin, followed by pan fried halibut served with new potatoes, spinach and cauliflower puree from my menu, and back to the à la carte for a steamed sticky toffee pudding dessert.
I thought my choices were beautifully balanced both as individual dishes and also as a complete dining experience. Deliciously soft scallops worked beautifully with the puree and spicy tang of chorizo. A lovely dish. My lamb was equally accomplished. The cutlets were cooked pink and the sweet, earthy root vegetables gave a comforting dish perfect to fend off the winter chill. The Key Lime pie was an intensely sweet finale. My daughter loved the meaty softness of the hock against the crunch of the brioche. Her main course was beautifully presented on an oblong platter. The delicate fish was served on a bed of spinach which had been over salted for her taste but this was still an accomplished main dish. And to finish, her pudding hit the spot perfectly. We were too full to order coffees and at this point said when we come again we will make a mini break of the visit.
To make the most of your evening why not book an overnight stay too? Oaklands Hall Hotel offers excellent dining and accommodation packages which will make your meal out even more of a special occasion.