Modern hotel restaurant and new Michelin starred addition to the 2018 guide serving modern and quality dishes
You know you may be in for something well above average if the chefs are happy to direct you to one of their peers and this was the case with Moor Hall having had two Michelin starred chefs directing me there when chatting post meals. Exec Head chef Mark Birchall gained his Michelin star here for the 2018 guide and of all the new entrants for this year, I couldn’t be more in applaud at this award. I have put all the aspects of the meal below as usual in as much detail as I can, but for those that want the headline, this was intricate cooking that held some superb dishes within the journey that hardly ever strayed in flavour and as a whole, was straying very much in to 2 Michelin starred level territory. I don’t want to give the place the kiss of death for mentioning that, but it really was excellent through and through and I have no hesitation nominating this as the top new 1 star entry in the UK for 2018 and high in its field. The £172 all in for the top tasting menu and continuous drinks was a fair price and there is a Barn serving more causal food as well. I would recommend the main restaurant for virtually any occasion and a must for those needing a dose of prowess.
After being made very welcome in the bar, the meal started with a black pudding parcel with pickled gooseberry which was sweet, gooey and in light casing. The inside was gorgeously soft and well done. Smoked eel with potato, fermented garlic and flowers was pleasantly smokey and light at the same time. The raw mackerel tartare with radish, purslane and nasturtium emulsion had lovely elements but the mackerel was quite subtle and more difficult to gauge, but supplemented very well by the nasturtium emulsion.
Beetroot, parsley, horseradish snow and quinoa came next with very well balanced sharp from the beetroot and bitter from horseradish making a lovely combination. One of the stars of this meal was unquestionably the baked carrots with Doddington snow cheese. This was absolutely superb complimented well by the sea buckthorn as the latter can very easily overtake everything else. The carrots themselves were fresh and powerful whilst cold. A truly grand dish.
Home made bread was worthy of a course in itself as it was some of the best, spongiest bread had in a long time, perfectly done with cultured and garden herb butters. The turnip broth, turnip and crab two ways was fresh, light, powerful and a basic success. The Caper ham, onion ash charcoal with turnip, shallots and mustard mayonnaise was gloriously rich as well as having large chunks. This was beautifully complimented altogether and another hit.
The cauliflower was in the form of a super smooth purée, with luxury of truffle and fan of the buckwheat & barley grains cooked in chicken jus and truffle at the same time, which was perfectly balanced by the Chardonnay that I hadn’t had before & softened the tangy apple gel. If you’re going to have cauliflower, that’s the way to do it! The onion bread itself was exceedingly light as well as brittle on the outside and perhaps the best onion bread I have had since The Ledbury.
Monkfish was cooked on the bone with mussel and squash stew. A perfect squash purée lifted this dish for the meaty monkfish – whilst mussel is not my favourite ingredient (simply don’t enjoy the rock pool quality of the flavour), but I could see its seasoning purpose which gave the dish just that.
The pre-main came in the form of duck ragu, made from duck leg, mushrooms and duck skin. I can’t see anyone not enjoying this and it held a lovely, sweet base from compote at bottom. It was an entirely rich ragu with a warm and pleasing cranberry gel to balance richness with a smidgen or acid – wonderfully done. The main of Goosnargh duck itself came with beetroot, kale and hen of the woods mushroom. 3 week aged duck, kale cooked in ham fat was wonderful quality and with a deep and pure beetroot and mushroom sauce. This was a stunning duck dish, with wonderful warmth of sauces and supporting components, the mushrooms working well together forming really earthy, lovely flavours.
The gingerbread, roots and pine was a delightful light pre-dessert and the perfect crossover. Gingerbread ice cream candies parsnpps, pine powder & brown sugar crisps all had lightness of crisps and I loved the whole take on gingerbread done in an original way with just the right amount of kick. Another lovely addition was the lemon verbena, preserved blackberry and pear, buttermilk cream with verbena sorbet, pear compote. Again, I couldn’t find any issues with this and the gorgeous pear and verbena combination, delicate meringue shards produced a wonderful combination all round – lovely stuff.
These preludes were finished by the wonderful main dessert of Worcester Permain (Apple), woodruff, almond and whey caramel which was a true delight. The hot drinks list was extensive and it was good to see so many options – for originality and the fact my visit was in the build up to Christmas, I opted for a light variant of hot chocolate which turned out to be a very nice change and amazingly not too heavy. Petit fours of camomile pastry was light and were equally good.
In any tasting menu, it’s very usual for a good few dishes to be not on point, but there was hardly any fault throughout this meal and that is a notable thumbs up. The skill was absolutely evident throughout and the balance of flavours was overall lovely. There were peaks during this meal where simple ingredients were brought to life brilliantly and it is a place that I must go back to when I can.
Food Grade: 89%
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