I love food. Perhaps that explains the "skinny bloke with the big fat belly" that the mirror throws back at me each morning. And lately that mirror has been ever more unforgiving.
My birthdays have for quite a few years now been forever etched in my grey cells with trips to wonderful eateries, usually, it has to be said, in London. There have been trips to "Sketch," "Lindsay House", the "Savoy Grill," "Maze", Hambleton Hall and the occasional foray up north to places like "L'Enclume." It's not just about the food; it's the ambience, the company and let's face it, not having to do the washing up - especially important if you are having the 'taster menu.'
So when the Charles Bathurst Inn's website says that it has built up an enviable reputation for fine food I was really interested to see how good it would be. They have invested heavily in a new kitchen and commit to using only the best locally produced seasonal foods.
So, to cut to the chase: I started with Thai mussel broth which was fragrant and delicious - not sure how 'local' mussels are though, but as it was so delicious I wasn't going to quibble. Lynnie had smoked haddock chowder with a soft poached hen's egg, which looked outstanding and she reckons if she had been served that in any of the restaurants in the earlier list, she would have been well pleased.
Mains: I had lamb shank with peas and double-podded broadbeans on a spring onion mash, served with fresh vegetables. I love lamb shanks and this was served very well and was very tasty especially when washed down with an excellent Fleurie and a very cold jug of tap water - which is nice to see these days. Also it wasn't spoiled by adding the inevitable slices of lemon that so often spoils the flavour of your wine.
Lynnie had duck breast with spring onion rosti and pureed beetroot & green peppercorn sauce, again with fresh vegetables. Her breasts were beautifully tender and pink and the flavours were well balanced with the beetroot puree. I had a little piece of her duck and it was pretty good!
Puds: Blueberry cheesecake for me and sticky toffee pudding with cream for Lynnie. The pudding beat Lynnie (but that's quite normal as she is quite small) but I manfully struggled to finish mine off and had to be physically restrained from licking my plate...
Filter coffees to finish it all off.
What can we say? The CB Inn have seriously talented chefs who understand what they are doing with food. The waiting staff were friendly, yet discreet.
This is a perfect place for good dining, relaxing comfortable surroundings that would suit a large group out for a good time in the country or a couple out for a quiet weekend away to recharge their batteries.
We will definitely go back there and be more than happy to pay for it! Can't say fairer than that!
You can find the Charles Bathurst Website HERE.