In partnership with Virgin Wines
Championing independent producers. It’s a simple mission. But one we whole-heartedly endorse. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Virgin Wines to serve up six rather special hotels – six signature dishes complemented by six wines selected by Virgin Wines. Take a long delicious look below…
HOTEL: Edinburgh’s Baronial country mansion. Close enough without the crowds. The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club stands in 1,000 acres of softly rolling parkland at the foot of the Pentland Hills, a mere 7 miles from the city centre. The hotel has two championship-standard golf courses, both designed by the legendary James Braid.
DISH: Heather hill honey-roasted breast of Gressingham duck, glazed vegetables, caraway savoy cabbage, goose fat fondant and griottine cherries jus. The kitchen brigade places an emphasis on carefully sourcing ingredients from Scotland’s larder – meat from local farmers, seafood from the west coast and craft beer from a nearby brewery. Uniquely, the hotel produces its own Dalma-honey and herbs on-site.
HOTEL: Wine and pampering in equal measure. That’s what you can expect from a 5-bubble spa and award-winning wine list, with a spotlight on the owner’s Peter Michael Winery in California.
So when you’re not choosing from a selection of over 200 notable wines, you could be enjoying fire and ice thermal experiences in the spa.
DISH: One of head chef Darren Booker-Wilson’s signature dishes is turbot in a sweet-and-sour seafood broth. Made with fish stock, natural ingredients such as pineapple, tomatoes, peppers, star anise and chilli are added,
which are then infused in the stock creating a sweet-and-sour essence. Clams, crab and prawns are then added to give the dish a real depth of flavour.
Hintlesham near Ipswich, Suffolk
HOTEL: Robert Carrier was the leading TV chef of his day. As beloved as Mary Berry, with the Michelin-starred credibility of Michel Roux Jr, and a multi-media empire to rival Jamie Oliver, he was a household name across Britain.
So when we say dine at Carrier’s Restaurant at Hintlesham Hall Hotel, what we’re really saying is why would you dine anywhere else?
DISH: Lamb rack and chump with deconstructed ratatouille, pea pure and dauphinoise. Head chef, Jon Cole, sources all produce locally; fish landed in Felixstow, for example. The hotel has fully restored Robert Carrier’s old vegetable and herb garden, which provides the kitchen (and guests) with an interesting, and at times unusual, selection of fresh vegetables, fruits, salads and herbs.
Ilsington near Newton Abbott, Dartmoor
HOTEL: Praised by the public and AA inspectors, the Hassell family’s country house hotel and spa has Dartmoor National Park on its doorstep. When you’re not lacing up your boots and heading out in to the great outdoors, the great indoors proves equally seductive. O, and breakfast! Warm home-baked bread with eggs laid fresh from the hotel’s flock of hens.
DISH: Halibut fillet with a shellfish and herb butter sauce, yuzu gel, smoked water pearls, nasturtiums, lemongrass and samphire. Mike O’Donnell, head chef for the past 25 years, is a keen fisherman and passionate about the sustainability of our fish stocks. Nearby Brixham is one of the busiest fishing ports in the UK, which gives Mike access to a wide variety of fish of superior quality and freshness. Mussels come from the River Exe and both the lemongrass and nasturtium leaves are from the hotel’s garden.
Norwich City Centre, Norfolk
HOTEL: Self-styled as the oldest hotel in the UK, Maids Head artfully blends its heritage with lashings of boutique allure. You can dine in the award-winning restaurant, go for a spin around the City in a vintage Bentley (there are two to choose from), hire a Bobbin bicycle, and enjoy a cruise along the River Wensum in the hotel’s delightful Frolic 31 river boat, the Tiffany Rose.
DISH: Marcin ‘Magic’ Pomierny – head chef and finalist in the Craft Guild of Chefs ‘National Chef of the Year’ in 2020 – has a real passion for desserts. Championing local ingredients, the menu at the hotel’s 2 AA Rosette WinePress changes with the seasons. Autumn is the turn for blackberries and apples to shine, and ‘Magic’ creates an apple bavarois, cider jelly, granola, apple jel, homemade blackberry ripple ice cream.
Llandrindod Wells, Powys
HOTEL: Set in the spa town of Llandrindod Wells, the Metropole – it almost goes without saying – offers a soul-soothing stay: There’s its accoladed Radnor and Miles Restaurant, serving the best of Wales on a plate, and its Rock Spa, pampering with treatments from the Natural Spa Factory. Take yourself away to the green heart of Wales. Take the waters at the Metropole Hotel and Spa. Take a walk in the dramatic Elan Valley. Soothe your post-lockdown soul.
DISH: Locally trained head chef of The Metropole Hotel and Spa delights guests with his desserts, such as this delicious trio. Velvety smooth vanilla pannacota, dark chocolate brownie and a tiramisu cheesecake finished with Llanfaes dairy raspberry ripple ice cream. On a ‘food miles’ note, the head chef is well-known for his early morning excursions to collect cepes and chanterelles from a local forest at Abbeycwmhir.