I’m trying to work out just why I had never visited the BCHH before. I’d heard for so long about how good the food was, and the whole experience. As a committed foodie I should have been homing-in years ago. So thank you, Food Festival, for pointing out their special Game Week.
The welcome was warm. Attentive but not hurried. The sofas were deep, the drinks were perfect.
The food is so delicious, cooked by the owner, who cooks with love, integrity and imagination.
Seven starters, of which three were really imaginative vegetarian. Being a game-loving carnivore, I went straight for the pigeon breasts, with braised puy lentils, smoked bacon lardons, and cassis-infused vinaigrette. A few little chanterelles found their way in there too. The flavours made any serious conversation difficult to sustain.
My partner plumped for (they always ‘plump for’ in food reviews?) the wild rabbit, wine and herb terrine with pickled wild mushrooms and celeriac remoulade and pronounced it as being too good to spare any for me to taste.
The mains included three game items, as well as wild mushroom risotto, or local plaice. I chose the breast of partridge with wild mushroom and truffle stuffing. Wrapped in pancetta and served with sloe gin infused gravy, a little braised cabbage and fondant potato. It came with two little legs which yielded even more yummy mouthfuls: unusually for game legs which are often dry. Partner plumped again, this time for roast haunch and loin of venison, which came with an adventurous and very successful red wine and bitter chocolate sauce. And yes, we could have had steak and chips if feeling like it.
Desserts: can never resist Crannachan, with its toasted oatmeal, whipped cream and fresh raspberries, laced with whisky. And I’m surprised that he still had room to plump, but the thought of dark chocolate fondant with Chantilly cream and strawberries overcame any inhibitions. Treacle tart or sticky date pudding will have to wait till next time.
Lovely wines by the lovely glass. All beautifully served in a ‘cool’ dining room. (Cool in the best sense: so ‘cool’ of them to refrain from the usual swagged chintz at the windows, relying on the extreme beauty of the shutters and clear, old glass).
The bill for this evening of extreme gastronomic pleasure was a pleasant surprise.
I went on Weds. You may be able to book for the rest of the week, or if not, go anyway, but go! This chef could not do a boring menu. Too good to miss.
Ann Sutton and ‘plumping’ partner found much to impress at the Burpham Country House Brasserie. For bookings, call 01903 882160.