The Coach House, is a restaurant by renowned double Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines, set in the beautiful North Devon countryside on the grounds of the boutique hotel Kentisbury Grange. Within a 4 hour drive from London, this gem of a restaurant and hotel makes for an excellent gourmet getaway. Caines, who occasionally chefs himself at the restaurant, oversees and supports the development of the menu which is successfully executed by head chef James Mason with dishes that are not only pleasing to the eye but plain delicious!
The intimate restaurant is located in a 17th-century former coach house, nestled within the manicured gardens and tranquil ponds of the beautifully restored Victorian country house hotel Kentisbury Grange where we stayed for the weekend.
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Pre-dinner cocktails can be enjoyed directly at the bar or the restaurant’s inviting outside space. Local, fresh produce is used for the restaurant’s innovative yet classic cuisine which won the restaurant numerous, well-deserved awards since it first opened.
Our six-course tasting menu started off with a bread basket that consisted of French baguette, brown bread honey roll as well as gluten-free bread for my husband. The first course that followed was a beautifully presented Langoustine Canneloni with sauce vierge and tapenade. A nicely balanced dish with what I believe had hints of coriander and cumin, nicely paired with a glass of chenin blanc from The Winery of Good Hope, South Africa.
The Pan Fried Duck Liver with mango, honeycomb and pain d’epices was a real culinary delight with sweet, fruity and crip elements it was just perfect! Successfully paired with a glass of Sauternes 2012 (I know, dessert wine for a starter!) from chateau Petit Vedrines which sweetness and acidity cut nicely through the dish.
My husband was served Rabbit Ballotine with pickled vegetables as an alternative to the duck liver that he very much enjoyed. Paired with an Austrian white wine ‘Birgit Eichinger’ so that it did not overpower the dish.
The Pan Fried Turbot with asparagus, crab and morels was another beautiful dish which had a nice saltiness to it. A glass of intense, floral glass of Durvillea by Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2015 with its slight grassy notes worked very well with the fish.
The meat dish did not disappoint either – beautifully pink on the inside – the Rose Veal Sirloin with herb puree, roast garlic and sherry foam was cooked perfectly. We were served two different wines to try with this dish – a glass of La Boussole D’Henre Nordoc Pays D’oc Pinot Noir Les Grandes Cotes 2015 and an Argentinian Portillo Pinot Noir 2015 (Bodegas Salentein), a light red that worked nicely with the delicate veal.
The pre-dessert i.e. palate cleanser that we were served next was an Apple Compote with granola and cumin yoghurt.
Our last dish was Peanut Butter Parfait with caramelised banana, chocolate sauce and lime sorbet – refreshing and citrusy yet, in my opinion, not in complete harmony with the sweeter elements of the dish. A glass of Domaine Ancienne Cure Fruit Monbazillac 2013 worked well with the banana and peanut butter flavours.
All dishes on the tasting menu were finely balanced with nothing too overpowering, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented – all that combined with a lovely and attentive service from our waiter Ashley. The six-course tasting menu is available for £70 per person with an additional £35 per person for wine pairing.
We were guests at the Coach House, however, since we enjoyed the food so much we could not resist reserving a table for the next evening as well which really speaks for itself.
For our second night we decided to order a la carte – for starters, we opted for Loch Duart Salmon with honey and soy vinaigrette, salmon jelly, wasabi, pickled ginger and caviar as well as Roast Butternut Squash Cannelloni with ricotta, pesto, shiitake mushrooms and cumin sauce. For mains we both had the Slow Cooked Exmoor Lamb Loin with confit lamb shoulder, boulangere potatoes, haricot beans, fennel and tapenade sauce. The highlight of our meal was an excellent Rhubarb Soufflé – light and fluffy served with delicious vanilla anglaise and rhubarb sorbet!
It was another night of excellent service & delicious food!
The Coach House by Michael Caines