IF you are looking for escapism from the everyday, along with rustic charm and exceptional food ... [more]
Wednesday, 06 July 2022
ON a beautifully sunny lunchtime, a colleague and I were invited to dine at Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse, writes Sue Mummery.
A particularly welcome setting to blast through some outstanding paperwork!
The reasonably large but surprisingly cosy and very elegant dining room leads on to an outside deck with table seating and a couple of rattan sofa and chair seating areas with views over the Hobbs yard and the River Thames.
The front of house staff, led by maître d’ Rob, were very welcoming and were only too happy to discuss our menu choices and to provide further information regarding ingredients and preparation methods.
The lunch menu was an absolute taste sensation. Homemade wholemeal and linseed was provided and served with two varieties of butter, salted and smoked paprika. In the interests of sampling the entire lunch menu, I chose to have the hake tartare, paired with chorizo and heirloom tomato, with a green tomato fritter, followed by a melt-in-the-mouth pork neck, accompanied by an Asian salad of red cabbage, red onion, pickled ginger and sweet cashews with a bacon and onion “jam” and pork jus.
Dessert was the freshest, youngest rhubarb — still crunchy through being marinated in sugar syrup for three days — decorated with drops of crème pâtissière and pearls of meringue and served with a marigold ice cream on a bed of toasted sunflower seeds.
For my vegetarian companion the choice was oven-roasted broccoli with preserved lemon and almonds, served with a steaming garlic velouté. Quite delicious.
This was followed by tiny pancakes folded in quarters and stuffed with ricotta and served with jersey royal potatoes, asparagus, nasturtium and a beurre-blanc sauce.
Both dishes were visually appealing and were certainly something this carnivore would have enjoyed also.
For seconds, my colleague chose the highly recommended chocolate dessert — chocolate sides surrounding a chocolate curd, topped with chocolate streusel, decorated with an intense passion fruit confit, topped with a chocolate tuille. Basically, a whole lot of beautifully executed chocolate!
Had we had room, we were offered the choice of cheese. And what a choice it was. Eight regional cheeses, ranging from Wooky Hole in Somerset to Tipperary in Ireland including goats’ cheeses, cheeses made from ewes’ milk, cheeses wrapped in ashes and one from cows who are fed on nuts, which translates to the cheese.
Importantly, the selection also included two cheeses from the local Nettlebed Creamery at Bix — the Bix, a Camembert-style cheese, and the St Bartholomew, named after the local church, both of which have won British Cheese Awards.
They all looked delicious but, regrettably, there really was no room.
We intend to go back again very soon — to attempt the amazing cheese selection, with the perfect setting for the summer and beyond.