Built in 1869 by a wealthy mayor and a hotel since 1980s, Brockencote Hall was most recently taken over by the Eden Hotel Collection in 2011 and is in very good hands. The Victorian manor has since been beautifully refurbished and modernised into a luxury retreat, and is home to one of the best fine dining restaurants in Worcestershire. After finding our way through the picturesque countryside and historic village of Chaddesley Corbett near Kidderminster, we wound up off-road heading into the 70 acre parkland setting and towards the stunning white country house. Stopping briefly only to allow the ducks and geese to pass in front of us to cross the road, and to admire the fabulous lakeside setting around us.
All reservations are managed at reception where we were greeted and shown through to the library. Here we enjoyed a refreshing pre-dinner Gin Fizz cocktail and snacked on the terrific canapes. Dinner was served in the three AA rosette Chaddesley restaurant, with our table overlooking a field of grazing sheep. We had opted for the seven course tasting menu (£75 per person) devised by head chef Tim Jenkins, and selected a half bottle of wine instead of the accompanying wine flight (£50 per person) as one of us had to drive home. In addition to the tasting menu there are also regularly changing ‘seasonal’ and ‘market’ menus to choose from. The tasting menu experience commenced with a selection of homemade bread on offer, followed by an amuse bouche of lovage gazpacho with new potatoes.
The menu kicked off with an impressive dish of pan fried scallop, heritage carrot, Ras el hanout, and orange hazelnuts which was moreishly sweet. The purple carrots were packed with flavour and a contrasting acidity, and combined with the warm spice this was entirely genius in my opinion. I was still pondering on the scallop when the next dish of confit rabbit leg terrine, gooseberries, sour dough, dandelion, kohlrabi arrived. Although it wouldn’t be my first choice the pâté was light and fresh, with sharper elements offsetting the meatiness of the rabbit. We were told by our waiter that much of the herbs and produce used are handpicked from Brockencote Hall’s own garden.
A colourful and hearty plate of pan fried seatrout, samphire, chorizo, cucumber jus, shrimp was the first of the main courses. An incredibly rich plate of food, with delicious flavours complimenting the generous fillet of trout. The salt aged Goosnargh duck dish that followed was outstanding both visually and in terms of taste. The breast cooked pink and served with local Harvington asparagus, citrus jus, hasselback potatoes is a thing of beauty. All of the food arrived at well-timed intervals, allowing time for us to take in the stunning rural panoramic views of the Worcestershire countryside.
As with any tasting menu there’s always more to come, with the first of the two desserts being a palette cleansing nettle panacotta, mint sorbet. In contrast a sweet and fruity bright pink custard parfait, raspberry isomalt tuile, fresh raspberry followed as we got closer to the finale. This arrived in the form of an unrivalled cheese trolley showcasing some of the best British and French cheeses rolled out to our table, each one explained expertly by the cheese connoisseur. After sampling a range of soft, hard and blue cheeses we found a new favourite – the Baron Bigod, a creamy white bloomy-rind cheese from Fen Farm Dairy in Suffolk.
The tasting menu at Brockencote Hall offers guests a varied, imaginative and flavoursome range of dishes which are served in a carefully considered sequence by staff delivering excellent customer service.
Cost: £75 (per person)
7 course tasting menu
Chaddesley Corbett nr. Kidderminster, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in June 2018
Food hygiene rating – very good 5/5 – date of last inspection 11th May 2017