We headed east back to Dorset to a lovely country house that belongs to Relais et Chateaux, which we always know will be a treat. SUMMER LODGE (www.summerlodgehotel.com) has a beautiful dining room and another gorgeous country garden setting. We enjoyed a triple amuse to start of Mushroom Foam (not for Sam), Spinach & Ricotta Arancini (fried risotto balls) with Dill Creme and a Ham Boudin with Sultana Puree.
Back in Dorset, Samuel could not resist returning to his favorite Roast Loin of DORSET LAB here with a Braised Shoulder prepared a la "Shepherd's Pie," Savoy Cabbage & Rosemary Jus. The pie was amazing and rich like a lamb bourgogne coated with buttery mashed potatoes. Sam did not care for that part much, so Will and I gave in and devoured it.
Will started with the TARTAR of same said Dorset LAMB Fillet with Soft Boiled Quail's Egg, Micro Greens and Worcestershire Reduction. It was a nice preparation but quite salty for my taste. I had the Local WOOD PIDEGEON with Globe Artichokes, Parsley Lemon Puree, Rape Seed Gremolata, & Cornish Coppa. This is a dream dish in every bite and taste as there are so many flavors that work together sublimely, and every taste is local. Even the crispy bacon-like coppa is from Cornwall.
We enjoyed an amazing Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot 2007 Gevrey-Charmbertin that worked with all our dishes thanks to the sommelier.
Breads arrived and were irresistible from the Onion Rolls to the Cheese Rolls to the Granary as well as the Apricot & Rosemary White! The butters were coarse Cornwall sea-salted and a cute tomato-shaped unsalted.
For our mains, Will had the Line Caught SEA BASS with Coriander Spiced Fondant, Cauliflower Puree, Caper Berries & Balsamic. While a fish dish, it was big and stood up brilliantly to the gorgeous Burgundy.
My Creedy Carver DUCK BREAST came rare and wins the prize for best tasting duck breed I can ever recall. It was served with Warm Nectarine & Ginger Chutney, Fine Beans, Mustard Cress and a Nectarine Butter Sauce.
We were very full, so we moved to dessert (yes, we skipped the cheese), which was preceded by Vanilla Panna Cotta and Blackberry/Orange Compote as a pre-dessert.
We decided to split the dessert assortment which was humongous and came with English Strawberries, Jelly & Ice Cream, Pavlova, Shotcake & Sorbet in one corner;
Lemon Verbena Ice Cream, Apricot Compote, Caramel Sauce and Apricot Sorbet in the next corner; "Peach Melba" with Peach Souffle and Raspberry Espuma with Vanilla Ice Cream in the third corner;
lastly came the Raspberry Macaroon, Milk Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Confit and Milk Chocolate Sorbet.
These were all very good, very sweet and way too much for two people.
Samuel wanted his own Macaroon/Mousse/Sorbet from the plate so he ordered a separate dessert. The macaroon on his full portion was the size of a HAMBURGER BUN!
We needed some silverware to cut up the portions, but the dining room had emptied out and only one maitre d' was left. Sadly he was cornered by a food critic who was telling him how to earn a Michelin star. I finally had to burst out at the "critic" to let the guy help the clientele (us) so that indeed they might get on with earning that star!
We finished up and left a bit upset from the silly man, but having had a truly Michelin-star-worthy meal.