The Dovecote restaurant at Morley Hayes has always maintained a good reputation for its’ consistently good food and beautiful surroundings. Set amongst acres of beautifully manicured fairways the surrounding golf courses make this a haven of peace. But even the most mature establishments occasionally need a little tlc and the Dovecote has recently been beautifully refurbished and is now ready to present its new face to the world, and as you would guess it exudes all the swagger that you would expect from a restaurant that prides itself on fine dining.
It was quite a balmy evening when we settled ourselves into the comfortable chairs in the cocktail bar. On the first floor you get glimpses of the panoramic view through the feature windows on two sides. If you want to set the tone for the evening by starting with an indulgent cocktail, here’s the place to try something new, or maybe just enjoy a down-to-earth pint as my companion did this evening.
In an unhurried atmosphere we looked through the menu which apart from a couple of dishes which have a hint of the continent, the majority are classic cuisine and contain local specialities. A small complimentary amuse-bouche provided just a promise of the good things to come.
Haloumi saganaki seemed an appropriate starter for a summer evening. Traditionally a simple Greek dish this was anything but simple. Tiny sweet tomatoes and black olive crumb gave an intense flavour against the warm, fried Haloumi and spots of purée gave the dish a sophistication. Warm, roasted fresh peaches with creamy feta and piles of Parma ham was extremely well received by my partner, simple ingredients but a great combination.
Following a theme, a spicy and piquant lamb kofta on a bed of puréed smoked aubergine accompanied a succulent piece of lamb which although I like my lamb well done, (much to the horror of the chef I’m sure!), was tender with a lovely caramelized skin. Morrocan spices flavoured the couscous which filled the grilled red, piquillo pepper. This was so different to anything I’d previously ordered when dining out, which is why it made such a nice change.
To my surprise my companion chose the chicken breast, served with a lovely sauce with girolle mushrooms. Baby grilled leeks and French beans added both colour and flavour.
The evening had a lovely relaxed ambiance , unhurried service allowing you to enjoy each course as well as your companions company in between . The young waiting staff were both friendly, unobtrusive and efficient .
Delightful desserts put the finishing touch to our meals, with a light sticky toffee pudding with crunchy pecans for my friend and a lovely fresh summer dessert for me. Tangy, sharp raspberry sorbet and fresh fruits with a sparkling Prosecco mousse and sweet pieces of honeycomb, what a great finish.
…and just for a change we chose ‘posh teas’ to finish which was a nice touch.