There will be a few blog posts coming through from Tetbury over the next few days. I’ve been away and definitely on the food war path. The first restaurant I’ll be bringing you is The Conservatory at Calcot Manor (guess where I stayed), with serve simple, understated but wonderfully tasty, classic English food. The Conservatory itself is exactly what it says on the tin – a conservatory dining room at the back of the hotel. However, like everything at Calcot Manor, it was beautiful and uncomplicated with plain wooden tables, silver cutlery with white plates and a simple spring of rosemary instead of flavours. Personally, I loved the use of rosemary – it made me think of food straight away.
Firstly, we did have a set menu. I was in a group of 11 people so it was impractical to order a la carte. However, the options were fantastic and I (like many of my dining companions) struggled to decide what to eat.
In the end, I opted for the goat’s cheese and beetroot salad. Now, I don’t really like beetroot (I ordered it because I wanted something light) but this salad was beautiful. It was wonderfully delicate, which isn’t something I usually think of when I have beetroot. The goat’s cheese balls each rolled in chives, dehydrated beetroot and hazelnuts that balanced out the heavy flavour of the goat’s cheese. The beetroot puree, again can be heavy, was wonderfully light and didn’t overpower the dish. It was a perfect starter!
For main, I opted for the salmon with brown shrimp butter. To be honest, I thought my salmon was a little over cooked but I am aware other people would have thought it was perfect. The skin was wonderfully crispy on the top and the flesh was a creamy pink that flaked away easily. Usually, I like my salmon to be just raw in the centre but I do know that this is a personal preference.
The brown shrimp butter added a lovely salty note to the dish that went well with the samphire and leaves the dish was served with. I really loved this dish and could have eaten it again and again.
For dessert, I opted for the dark chocolate and salted caramel mousse. This was intensely rich and chocolatey but I couldn’t taste the salted caramel in the dish. I also found the orange sorbet on the top of the dish a little disconnected from the dish. I know the chef was probably going for something to cut through the chocolate however, it was a little too watery from my taste and I think there was a probably a better way to have the orange in the dish. But let’s not be too critical, I did eat the lot.
I did love the Calcot Manor Conservatory for its simple, understated elegance that ran through the decor and the food. It was a beautiful unified dining experience and I would definitely recommend having a meal in the conservatory for anyone at the hotel or in the area.
Near Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8YJ
T: + 44 1666 890 391