Newly refurbished Michelin starred restaurant with
Pensons opened in early 2019 and has Chris Simpson as head chef, formerly of Gidleigh Park & Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac. It’s good to see Chris in his own new venture and this makes the second head chef to have departed company with the fabled ex-Michael Caines restaurant at Gidleigh Park in the past 5 years. I will let you look into that a little more at your own leisure. This was a good lunch which I was pleased with and reminded me of The Woodspeen with its new build, bright interior and good value for money with this lunch at just under £50 with coffee and service all in. A very fair option to come here and do make sure you see the length of their herbarium and vegetable garden – good to see this restaurant take sourcing and locality so well.
Homemade bread with yeast butter was the most flakey in the world, and was nice and light at same. This was a good way to start! No canapes or amuse bouche (which wouldn’t have gone amiss) so I was straight into the chosen starter of cured mackerel which had onion, chicory jam pickled fennel, diced celeriac in vinaigrette, crisp tempura with vodka butter and chilli oil. A harmless and pleasant opener. The somewhat subdued mackerel had a nice tang from pickled fennel. The tempura was however extremely good with the fried mackerel.
Plaice had apple, seaweed & crab butter sauce, watercress and cauliflower purée and baby leaks. This was at the perfect level of acidity from the apples with a rich sauce, complemented by each other and the succulent fish very well. A very good dish with just the right kick of sweet from the cooked leaks. Lovely.
Quince poached orange and vanilla syrup, orange mouse hazelnut biscuit, orange jelly, quince puree and orange granita. I was worried over the quince but this was handled delicately. A delightful creamy orange mousse had a lovely biscuit crumb. I literally lapped this up with a spoon. Coffee was from a local brand called Rail Town.
As set lunches go, this was perfectly enjoyable. It was hard to be truly excited but this was during an interim lockdown with supplies being affected, so for what it was it did its job well. I would come back in a heartbeat for the mopping up the fish main sauce with their bread after demolishing the fish, but otherwise will have to wait for another time to return.
Food Grade: 69%