Stepping over the threshold at The Kedleston Country House Boutique Hotel I realised that the last time I had been here was with work colleagues, some sadly no longer with us, for happy hour in 1989. In honesty I didn’t recognise the place as so much has been done to make this a truly splendid place to dine. In fact since buying it in 2013, the Derby Brewing Company have spent around three quarters of a million pounds renovating this lovely Grade II listed building.
The Kedleston, set on the Kedleston Estate, presents itself with an opulent Adams designed Georgian style starting with its fine stone steps and impressive entrance. In 1758, Sir Nathaniel Curzon, set about rebuilding the family seat creating Kedleston Hall as we know it today. In addition, Adams also designed an Inn to allow the Curzon family to capitalise on the naturally sulphurous local water by establishing a spa. During the nineteenth century the Inn was used as a farmhouse, but reverted back to a hotel in 1967. The Kedleston now boasts five exclusive boutique bedrooms making it an ideal place for a short break, a wedding and a place to enjoy fine food prepared by a team of dedicated chefs.
As part of the Derby Brewing Company, head brewer Trevor Harris started his brewing career back 1991, “with over 30 years of brewing expertise going into every beer we produce” says Trevor “we hope you can taste the quality and experience”. As a beer lover I found this a delightful experience as I downed a tasty pint of ‘Hop Til You Drop’. Since 2004 Derby Brewing Company have gone from strength to strength and as well as their brewery they now have four establishments including ‘The Kedleston’ where we were now dining.
As we sat in the large reception area enjoying our pre dinner drinks I took the opportunity to have a little peep around the rooms downstairs. The oak panelled snug area is tastefully decorated and furnished, making this an ideal area to have a little privacy. The open, high ceiling entranceway features seating and an upmarket drinking area, gives something of a ‘country house meets pub feel’, with numerous original open fires. Cosy indeed.
Alex provided us with two menu’s, the Orangery Menu with rustic bistro style dishes, and the Dining Room Menu giving a pleasant mix of traditional and modern. An interesting dish of deep- fried puffed pork skin, embellished with apple chutney and micro leaves served on a bed of hot pebbles was an interesting and quirky start to our evening as we sat with pre-dinner drinks before we moved to the dining room.
While we waited for our starters we were served with a miniature freshly baked loaf, thickly sliced. The texture and flavour was superb, what an excellent start. Following came Waldorf Flavours, a sheep’s milk Panna Cotta, where the tiny sharp apple balls contrasted well, and sails of parmesan shards and miniature leaves created a picture perfect dish. The pickled red grape and walnut pieces paired well together and the little pot of chilled celery consommé added a saltiness to the whole dish.
Discs of roasted sliced potato resembling fish scales adorned a beautiful fillet of sea trout for my main course. This sat on a bed of finely diced cucumber and tomato in the most delicious sauce, backed with tortellini pasta filled with lobster, griddled little gem lettuce and borage.
My husbands 8oz rib-eye steak served with mushroom, tomato, hand cut chunky chips and a Béarnaise sauce and chosen from the Orangery menu, was an up-market, well executed bistro dish. The steak was cooked perfectly to his liking and had a great flavour.
We finished with a dark chocolate delight with deep orange flavours and almond, in fact I would have liked a little more of the orange as it was such a clean taste alongside the rich chocolate.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at The Kedleston Country House, the food was so different and imaginative but yet was not so far out that it was worrying. I really appreciated the chef’s talents in balancing the flavours and creating this great menu. The service was excellent too, friendly, efficient with nothing too much trouble. All in all our thanks for one very enjoyable evening.