Run by two brothers, Matthew and Iain Pennington, The Ethicurean is located in quite a stunning spot. You park at the bottom of a hill, walk up through the beautiful walled gardens, where much of the produce the chefs use is being grown, then arrive at the top to a sensational view.
The dining room is rough and ready; pretty for sure but it’s a bit like eating in a greenhouse. And if you’re bug-phobic like I, the flying things might be a little overwhelming at times. But it’s all so charming – I’ve never been anywhere quite like it.
From Thursday through Saturday, they only offer a feast menu for dinner at £39. Ours started with “beetroot, apple and horseradish”. Golden and purple beetroot had been puréed to make a cold soup which was light and refreshing; perfect for a balmy summer’s evening.
Tomato granita, crab and plaice ceviche was next. It’s not often you see plaice ceviche, but its firm texture and citrusy flavour worked brilliantly. A real looker of a dish too.
Fermented peppers and aubergine came with ewes curd stuffed in a deep fried courgette flower which was lovely. It came with some haricot beans which weren’t listed on the menu – a problem as I hate all types of beans!
Main course was the standout dish; bavette with burn onion and heritage tomatoes. The tomatoes made for a zingy companion for the thick chunks of beef; you could really taste the quality of the ingredients with every nibble.
For pud, apple sorbet, salt granola and blackberry vinegar felt true to the surroundings; they let the ingredients do the talking and what chatterboxes they were.
Eating at the Ethicurean is a real experience; everything from the view to the surroundings and the really lovely service make it more than just a bit of dinner. If you find yourself round that way, then a visit is a must.