We had a lot of people and things to fit into Jane’s big birthday (no need to ask which – it had a zero, and that’s all you need to know)! The day itself we shared with our friends and old neighbours from Cheltenham times, Mike and Judy. We had shared another celebration with them – our 25th wedding anniversary coincided with their 40th. So Silver and Rubies combined! We joined them in a foodie holiday in Italy then. This time we lunched at Gidleigh Park
Gidleigh Park was voted No. 1 in Sunday Times top 100 restaurants. A birthday lunch not to be missed? Well, let me share some of it with you (not physically of course…). Two Michelin stars have been awarded to the place. Chef is Michael Caines (he is the guy you have seen on TV – the only 1 armed chef that I know of…)
So here’s what we had from the new Autumn Menu – which was launched on that day. Auspicious or what?
Pigeon Breast was a great start. But I’m forgetting, we had ‘canapés’ to start, with drinks in the lounge. I’ve put inverted commas because they weren’t the usual bits of quite enticing stuff on a bit of toast – they were mini starters in disguise. This is why your lunch takes 4 hours. They do this at the end too – Coffee and Petit Fours does not do justice to the 3 mini puddings that arrive, sumptuously, back in the lounge with your coffee. Getting ahead of myself here…
As you can see, there is a lot more going on than the pigeon breasts! It was just gorgeous. The other starter was of the vegetarian sort – and was as good looking as this one, and just as exciting. It doesn’t sound so when it says ‘medley of roast Mediterranean vegetables’. But there you go – it was far more than it’s description.
And so to the main course. Dartmoor leg of lamb. Three of us went for pink, but they don’t get all prissy if you want it cooked through. Some places seem to. That’s the way service was here. So many staff, all smiley and feeling like they were enjoying it as much as you, to be honest. I don’t know if you just rush out and have beans or a hamburger when you are surrounded by such joyous smells and perfect presentation all day – but they all enjoyed the setting down and your reaction to the revelation.
We had chosen one bottle of red to go with, but one of our party prefers white. Now, the glass was brought out with the bottle it was coming from, then transferred to a small carafe for you to take what you wanted. All you guys who are trained in these fine sommelier arts will recognise this, I’m sure, but blimey it just made me smile and think “that’s why we are here”. It just takes it up to a different level, really.
Look, I probably don’t need to say how good the main course was. Just look at it. if I could arrange scratch and sniff panels on this blog, then I would. I’m going to let the photos do the rest of the talking. Plate of apple – wow – Tarte Tatin, mousse, ice cream and a cider coulis. Yes, but just look at it! And then the petits fours, and the Happy Birthday sign. Just how nice is that? Final picture is Jane and myself out for a walk after the event. The grounds are stunning. No, you don’t want to eat every day like this, for sure, but if an occasion needs to be made special, then Gidleigh ticks many, many boxes.