The pretty lights which lined the drive over the narrow bridge leading to Horsley Lodge gave us a lovely welcome as we arrived with anticipation to enjoy an evening at the newly opened Brasserie Restaurant.
We are not strangers to Horsley Lodge and have spent many a happy hour in these lovely surroundings, either on the terrace in the summer, or taking part in their challenging golf tournaments and once as guests at a friends wedding. However tonight was different as the refurbished restaurant defined a new style of dining that we were eager to enjoy.
The bar area offered us the chance to relax while we looked through the menu while enjoying a G & T. The wine list gives you a selection of many wines well known for their quality, and which are served either by the glass or the bottle, also a selection of cocktails.
“There is a well balanced variety of dishes on the menu and so it’s easy to chose from and I found plenty here that would keep bringing me back”
But let me describe to you what my husband and I enjoyed and see if it tickles your taste buds as it did ours.
As we were seated we were served with a complimentary amuse bouche, a sample of cauliflower foam which had a peppery depth and a croûton piled high with pastrami and finely diced tomato and onion, a nice touch we thought. Then I started with the mackerel which was served warm, the meat was soft, intense and creamy and the ginger marinade a perfect partner. Wafer slices of daikon which is from the radish family, added a pepperiness and little cubes of the sake jelly gave a subtle contrast of texture. My husband described his starter as fresh with different coloured beets painting a lovely picture, the salt bake keeping the colours intact, and the crumbled goats cheese with chopped Brazil nuts gave both creamy and crunchy bites.
My main course was the salmon and fennel which are as they say ‘a marriage made in heaven”, the skin was crispy although the flesh was still succulent. Served on a bed of “burnt” leeks, just gently caramelised and baby spring onions with the addition of buttery girolles and trompets, a sprinkling of baby leaves finished this main course which I found delicious. As The Brasserie source their meats locally from Owen Taylor butchers, who have just won the huge accolade of ‘best steak in Britain’, my husband chose the ‘rib-eye’ steak and judging by the silence that ensued, followed by a clean plate, the chef obviously did justice to the meat. Thin slices of onion rings lightly fried with a ripe and juicy beef tomato and three times fried chunky chips accompanied this. From the choices of sauce he chose the blue cheese and mushroom to complete, for anyone who loves his steaks, the perfect dish.
Leaving just enough room for a pudding, I was intrigued by the apple selection, could a chef really make apple ice-cream work? Well the crème brulee was a treat, done with such a light hand, the dehydrated slices of apple were tart and sharp, and the apple ice-cream had such a fresh, clean taste that when I close my eyes I can still remember the flavour two days later.
You may have gathered by now that we were really impressed with the new Brasserie, the surroundings are modern and contemporary, the staff friendly making you feel immediately relaxed but for me the star of my evening was the food produced by this pair of chefs, brothers Oli and Sam. Imaginative, inventive but never precocious.
Our thanks to Nathan (General manager), Steve (Operations manager), Loz (Restaurant Manager) and Fay our waitress for a very enjoyable evening.