The Coach House by Michael Caines was awarded three AA Rosettes in 2017 and Gold for Restaurant of the Year in the South West Tourism Awards twice. So with with accolades like that, we knew that at some point we had to give their tasting menu a try.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to Kentisbury Grange to try their Gourmet Night’s Stay for my blog Lifestyle Maverick and as part of the deal I was able to sample what the award-winning Coach House team had to offer.
The Coach House restaurant itself is set apart from the rest of the hotel and boasts a contemporary dining space, a well-stocked bar and an upstairs lounge. I was a big fan of the deep blue velvet chairs and found myself fascinated by the glass wall that opened out onto the working kitchen.
Since the tasting menu is divided into six individual courses, you should expect to be sitting down to dinner for a little while longer than usual. However, there are plenty of cocktails and wines to choose from on the bar menu, so the wait is well worth your while.
Beetroot, wasabi, horseradish ice cream
The first course I tried was a lovely twist on a classic, slightly overdone dish. But rather than the usual smoked salmon starter, this plate of food offered a light and flakey piece of salmon,which fell apart at the touch of the fork. There was also a nice little kick from the wasabi element of the dish and the horseradish ice cream was unique to say the least. I also really enjoyed the presentation of this plate of food and hoped that it was a sign of things to come.
Confit Rabbit Leg
Nasturtium, pickles, endive
The next course was a celebration of spring and was so dainty that I almost didn’t want to eat it (almost). The rabbit loin was beautifully tender and pulled apart easily. The subtle gamey flavour paired very nicely with the floral hints of Nasturtium and those colourful ribbons of lightly pickled carrot were delicious.
Butter Poached Lemon Sole
Mussels, chive beurre blanc
By far my standout course of the evening was the fish dish. Not only was the lemon sole perfectly cooked, but the mussels were plump and the buttery sauce was divine. I only wish that this dish had been a larger portion because it was phenomenally good.
Pan Roasted Venison Saddle
Tartar, stilton, chocolate
Venison and chocolate are my two guilty pleasures, so when I read the description of this course I couldn’t wait to see chefs take on this classic dish. When it arrived at the table I was very impressed by the presentation and the heady aroma of chocolate was just lovely. As expected, the venison was very nicely cooked and the whole plate worked well together. The only minor issue I had with the dish was that the rich dark chocolate slightly overpowered the meat in my opinion, which was a shame because it has held so much promise.
Passion Fruit Sorbet
Exotic fruit salad, coconut foam
Pre-dessert was presented in a somewhat avant-garde deep bowl and was comprised of sweet, tangy passion fruit sorbet and a very mellow coconut foam. I was surprised by how perfectly these rather complex flavours worked together and once again I would have happily have eaten a lot more had it been an option.
Coffee Walnut Sponge
Malt ice cream
The final course was a little on the small side, but delightful nonetheless. A miniature slice of coffee walnut cake provided a couple of mouthfuls to satisfy my sweet tooth. I can’t fault them on presentation or flavour – I just wish I’d had a little more.
After dinner you can either stay at your table or head upstairs to the lounge to enjoy tea and coffee. I opted to skip the coffees and go straight for a Rhubarb & Raspberry Mimosa – one of the many tempting cocktails on the bar menu. The lounge is a great spot to sit back and relax and I particularly liked the plush chesterfield sofa (which I could happily have reclined in all evening).
The following morning I returned to the Coach House for breakfast. This consisted of a lovely continental spread and the option of several warm dishes. I couldn’t resist the sound of the Eggs Florentine on Brioche and when my plate arrived I knew I’d made the right choice. Alternatively, the Kentisbury Grange Full English looked very appetising and was also available in vegetarian form.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed by the quality of food and service at Kentisbury Grange. The 6 course tasting menu is a great way to experience everything that the kitchen has to offer, but if you aren’t keen on the idea of spending £70pp (+ £40 for wine flight) then the a la carte menu starts from just £38 for 2 courses and I am sure it would be just as impressive, judging by what I saw coming out of the kitchen.
To read my thoughts on the rest of the hotel experience you can head over to my Lifestyle Blog.