This isn’t so much a review as a few thoughts and impressions of my experiences at the Seasons Restaurant at the Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne, Dorset. As I wasn’t there for work purposes, I wasn’t taking loads of photos and I didn’t make notes or anything like that. There’s less detail than for a usual review because of that.
We were booked in on a Saturday night and as you’d expect for a 2 AA Rosette restaurant in a popular hotel, it was reasonably busy. The tables are well spaced though and you have enough room to enjoy your meal in comfort. Whilst we were eating there was a pianist playing live music which was very enjoyable and certainly added to the atmosphere.
One way of getting a good idea of what a restaurant has to offer is to try the Tasting Menu as you get to see how they use a wide variety of ingredients. To get the most from the experience, it’s great if you can try the accompanying wine flight too. The tasting menu has seven courses (plus an amuse bouche) and there were five wines served with it. I think it’s fine not to have a new wine with every course – that can be a bit much to be honest, but I’d have liked the first wine to arrive a little earlier. I know we could have had another drink first, but with five wines to come we didn’t want to do that. The wines were well chosen. I liked the first of the red wines best as it was a very smooth drink (Honest Valley, Shiraz, Australia) and a good accompaniment to the black pudding course that it came with. For me the other highlight was the rose that came with the next course: La Serenite Cuvee, L’ame Rose, France. It was a lovely, light, refreshing wine that matched the goats cheese dish perfectly.
It was good to taste such a range of different dishes which showcased the chef and his kitchen’s talents well. I really enjoyed the Laverstock Park Black Pudding and the Venison Tartare with Quail Yolk, Juniper and Blackberry. Both plates were served early on in the menu and they include some of my favourite ingredients. I liked the fact that the ingredients were handled careful and didn’t overpower their dishes (which is easily done when you are working with such strong flavours). The flavouring and accompaniments really enhanced the food, especially the perfectly cooked quail yolk.
My stand out dish of the evening though was the crab. It sounded intriguing on the menu: Devon Crab, Cucumber and Wasabi, Brown Crab Tuile, with Green Apple, Grapefruit and Dill. I was a touch concerned that the wasabi would overpower the crab because wasabi is such a strong flavour, but it was a well balanced dish and the wasabi didn’t dominate. Instead it enhanced the delicate flavours of the crab and the cucumber, apple, grapefruit and dill added a complementing freshness.
For my companion the Roasted Lamb with Tandoori Spice, Served with Cauliflower, Cucumber and Yoghurt was very flavoursome and just nudged the crab off the top spot. For me it was probably my second favourite of the dishes from the tasting menu. It had all the spice of a curry, but the lamb was traditionally roasted and cooked to perfection. The yoghurt added a lovely cooling contrast.
The service throughout the meal was very good, attentive without being intrusive. I liked that the waiter seemed genuinely interested in which courses we liked best and which wines.