A restaurant opening is always exciting news and having written about its launch in April 2017, I was looking forward to heading to The Bower House in Shipston-on-Stour, to see what the independent new eatery had in store for diners.
The Cotswold restaurant, which is owned by Andrew Knight, aims to bring a slice of the London dining scene to the countryside, and offer a discerning clientele the chance to enjoy modern British cuisine with a French twist.
There was a bustling atmosphere when we arrived for dinner on a Saturday evening, with the stylish decor and inviting setting living up to the pictures I’d spied on Instagram.
With a glass of wine in hand we began perusing the menu, which to our delight featured dishes that were far from run-of-the-mill staples that you see in restaurants up and down the county.
The kitchen is headed up by Darren Brown, formerly development chef at The Lucky Onion group of restaurants and who won a Michelin star when he was head chef at West Stoke House, who brings his culinary flair to create inventive menus that use local, seasonal produce.
After some delicious fennel seed bread, we tried the ham hock croquette with piccalilli and watercress, which was filled with perfectly cooked meat and worked well with the combination of the sauce and crispy coating.
But, our standout starter was definitely the beetroot-cured Loch Dart salmon with beetroot horseradish, dill oil and treacle bread. The flavours were a marriage made in heaven and just worked beautifully together, especially the dill paired with the sweetness of the bread.
For our main course, we had the pan-fried Cornish skate with spring vegetables, crab bisque, and almonds, which was nice and light, making it the ideal choice on the hot summer’s evening.
Our other choice was the roasted quail with kohlrabi, apple and hazelnut – a mouth-wateringly good combination of textures and flavours. The crunchy caramelised nuts and crispy skin was a treat for the palate, with the liver mousse adding even more depth to the dish.
There’s always room for dessert and it would’ve been rude not to sample one, so we shared the chocolate and orange delice with orange sorbet and honeycomb. This was a chocoholic’s dream, with the rich chocolate complemented by refreshing segments of fresh orange and the tangy, cool sorbet.
It was the perfect finale to an impressive three-course feast which certainly left a lasting impression and definitely warrants a repeat visit. Next time we’ll be back to try its bottomless brunch and maybe we’ll book a night in the one of The Bower House’s five guest rooms, so we can enjoy the unlimited Bloody Marys, Prosecco or Buck’s Fizz that’s served with its breakfast offering!
By Anna Marshall
Thursday 22 June 2017
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