A few weeks ago Theo and myself ventured out to St Albans and headed for the renowned Sopwell House Hotel and Spa. Upon Entrance to this lovely white washed building we were greeted by friendly and staff in the autumnally decorated reception area, complete with roaring open fire and Pumpkin centre piece display, just in time for halloween!
We headed straight through to the restaurant which was a large but still personable space due to the tiering of the different areas and varying ceiling heights. Our host introduced himself and showed us through the menu for the evening, before presenting us with Amuse-Bouche of fried white crab balls with pea shoot garnish alongside a glass of their New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
The starters arrived, and this is when we realised that this is a fine dining experience. I started off with the ‘Pressing of confit Guinea Fowl’ and Theo went for the ‘Hand Dived Scottish Scallops’.
Theo’s scallops looked incredible! They were served with cauliflower puree and a shallot bhaji with curry oil, he described them as succulent and fresh tasting adding that the curry oil complemented the meaty molluscs.
My confit guinea fowl arrived, and the scorched onions was the first thing I could smell from the dish as it was placed in front of me. The sweetness from the onions and the wild game flavours from the mushrooms all complemented the guinea Fowl.
After the Starters were taken away we were presented with a second appetiser/palate cleanser as such, which was slight strange for me but neither the less impressive, a Parmesan Custard was served, this unusual combination of flavours worked well and was a show of culinary expertise from the chef and his team.
Eager in anticipation for the mains, both Theo and Myself opted for the same main ‘Loin of Highland Venison’ which was served with my favourite spiced red cabbage, roasted beets and celeriac.
The meat was a perfect Pink in the middle and sear on the outside and the celeriac’s delicate flavour complemented the venison very well, I know a red wine should have gone with this but due to our prior choices and my lust for White we were still very satisfied with the Marlborough Sauvignon.
Overall, I would really recommend this restaurant for that added wow to a date night and 2 courses from £35.00 I think there is a certain value here for such a high standard and surrounding. I hadn’t been to Sopwell House before and was very impressed by the presentation and extra details this restaurant went into.
*I was invited to Sopwell House to review their latest menu offering.