Lunch at Gilpin was an excellent way of spending a couple of hours. I’m sure the chef turns out imaginative dishes at dinner but this was a meal where good ingredients had been cooked and plated up with almost a minimum of intervention. It was great. And cracking value at £27 for three courses.
We looked over the menus sat on an overstuffed sofa in the lounge, sipping a drink, nibbling on assorted salty stuff, watching the rain tipple down outside.
Ham hock terrine seems to be on everyone’s menu these days. Here it was a generous slice of well flavoured porkiness – mainly pressed shreds of meat but the occasional little chunk of meat giving a nice change in texture. As often it came with piccalilli – but as not often, this was a good ‘un, sharp from vinegar and with a kick from the mustard. There was a little bit of toast but a basket of good bread had also been offered – cheese ciabatta, granary and a caraway.
The main course of guinea fowl came as roasted breast and also ballotine of the legs. Wild mushrooms, mashed potato and a cream sauce also on the plate. Just a lovely plate of unchallenging, perfectly cooked, perfectly enjoyable food.
Veggie Vera had ordered a twice baked Stichelton soufflé which was light with the blue cheese coming through nicely. There was also a deconstructed Waldorf salad which didn’t work that well. It needed some more oomph in the dressing and cooking the celery was not necessarily a brilliant idea. This was followed by a pumpkin risotto, with ceps and sage – good texture with some green veg just cooked through but retaining a crispness balanced out the softness of the risotto. Perhaps a tad oversalted.
None of the desserts floated our boat but I had some cheese – all British – generous portions of cheddar, Blacksticks Blue and a couple of other softer ones that I’ve forgotten. Bread and biscuits were offered and a tangy apricot chutney.