Reviewed by Collette
Glazebrook House has been at the top of our must-visit list for quite some time now. The South Brent hotel has fast become a destination for lovers of boutique travel and foodies alike. While the price tag hardly comes cheap (our package cost £259 for a nights stay and dinner) we were keen to see if it lived up to all the fantastic reviews we’d heard…
Aside from the obvious allure of good food, we were keen to see what our favourite designer (Timothy Oulton) had done with Glazebrook’s interiors. Based around Lewis Carol’s famous Alice in Wonderland, the decor contains lots of fun elements, with off the wall accessories and eclectic curiosities around every corner.
Set in its own ample grounds on the outskirts of Dartmoor, from the outside you’d be forgiven for thinking that Glazebrook was much like any other period hotel. However, behind it’s whitewashed facade lays something very special indeed.. As soon as you step through the doors, you’re confronted with one of the largest chest of drawers you have ever seen; together with the perfect skeleton of a canoe hanging on the wall. Reception is a fabulously patriotic affair – a huge big bust of HM Queen wearing light up jewels – and our bedroom came complete with a canopy over the headboard made from genuine light-up dolls houses!
But enough about the interior design.. Once we’d had our fill of the hotel’s visual delights, thoughts naturally turned to food. There are tea and coffee making facilities in each suite, and a complementary mini bar that is well stocked with wine, lager, soft drinks and sweets. Meanwhile, a trip down to the bar (which was styled in homage to the luxurious gentleman’s clubs of the past) led us to an extensive array of wines, cocktails and drinks. All of these were reasonably priced, together with nibbles of nuts, crisps and sweet treats which came in oversized glass jars.
Our stay included a three course meal with the choice of anything off the à la carte menu, including steak, which was a welcome surprise. Dinner is served on stylish virgin wood tables, beautifully set with candles and fresh flowers, while an impression chandelier hangs centre stage.
I chose to start my meal with a Goat’s Cheese Mouse served with Ginger Bread, Beetroot, and Walnut. To me, this dish was very intriguing. While goat’s cheese and beetroot are a well known pairing, I was curious to see how the gingerbread would come into play. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of strong goat’s cheese. However, I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed every forkful of this dish. Delicious little mouthfuls of croquet and a soft goat’s cheese mouse paired beautifully with thin strips of sweet pickled beetroot and apple. Together with the caramel sweet walnuts, this starter was a real winner.
My dining partner opted for Mackerel escabeche, Pickled Onions, and Lotus Root. Unfortunately, he was not quite as bowled over with his dish, as he felt that the fish was too soft and too pickled for his taste. The cold mash was also slightly off putting.
For my main I had the Hake with Seaweed Gnocchi, Pac choy & Seafood Butter. Again, I thought that this dish was delicious. The fish was perfectly cooked; tasty white flakes topped with delicious caramelised skin and a rich shellfish butter that contained teeny shrimp and cockles (which I’ve since recreated at home). The gnocchi contained just the right amount of seaweed to give the plate a wonderful, subtle ozone flavour. It was stunning!
My dining partner chose a brand new addition Glazebrook’s menu: Pipers Farm Chicken wrapped in Palma ham, with Dawlish mushrooms and Purple Sprouting Broccoli. The dish more than made up for his disappointment with his starter. The chicken was beautifully moist and really flavoursome, while those local fungi really hit the spot.
Dessert for me was a Rhubarb and Custard, White Chocolate Soil and Stem Ginger. This was not dissimilar to a rice pudding in texture, and the rhubarb added both a sweet sharp complexity to the dish. It was so tasty I could have happily eaten an entire bowl full of it. The same could also be said of the ginger ice-cream – which was brilliant in it’s own right.
We also ordered the Lemon Posset, which was beautifully presented in an earthenware bowl, complete with edible flowers. He remarked that it was just as he would expect a lemon posset to be – delicate yet full of zesty lemon flavour.
We finished our meal with tea and coffee in the bar area, where we found ourselves in conversation with the other residents and dinner guests. The vibe in the room was really relaxed and we all agreed that we had really enjoyed a wonderful dining experience.
It’s fair to say that we had fallen in love with Glazebrook House. It’s quite dissimilar to anywhere else we’ve stayed in the South West. It boasts the sort of cutting edge interior design and efficiency you’d expect to find in the most cosmopolitan areas, while retaining a service that is both relaxed and warm. Even if you’re not too fussed about décor, you can’t help but marvel over Glazebrook’s remarkable individuality. The food is top notch and does a good job of utilising both local and seasonal ingredients – putting this boutique escape near to the top of our all time favourite foodie breaks!