New Michelin starred addition for 2019 serving intricate dishes
Sorrel restaurant is the latest home of gastronomy from Steven Drake who formerly owned Drakes in Ripley (holding a Michelin star there for 14 years). Sorrel opened at the beginning of 2018 and gained its new, Michelin star at the end of that year for the 2019 guide – essentially, at the earliest opportunity from opening. A set lunch here (and cheapest menu option) costs £45 per person at time of writing and the total bill for this lunch was £131 for two with a glass of wine and food supplement. The cooking style is creative, using multiple elements for each dish which, thankfully does work in overall flavour. It is a beautifully designed interior, has its own car park and is probably best saved for quieter occasions as a restaurant. Overall, a very worthy addition to the Michelin starred family of 2019.
Opening canapes were delicate. The first being beetroot & tapioca crisp, with freeze-dried raspberries, raspberry vinegar, horseradish and pickle (this was great) followed by a mini pork bite, with pineapple and rocket dust (adding a slightly peppery touch) as a take on Hawaiian pizza – no issues with this at all. An amuse bouche of savoury crab custard, smoked tomato, watercress mousse & fresh lime zest was silky, light and served with brioche that was very nicely done.
Next came white asparagus, toasted buckwheat, one-side cooked scallop with dehydrated raw scallop, Bosworth Ash (goats cheese) and parsley oil which was well balanced albeit with one of the scallops being noticeably firmer than the other. Split pea, broad bean, lamb, grapefruit, morel mushroom, black garlic mayo with split pea mousse was a very nice starter, the grapefruit working well with the fat from the fried potato nest and egg with enjoyable lamb.
Cod came with hen or the woods (Japanese mushroom), potato sea vegetables, samphire, sea fennel and roasted chicken juices. This was a knock out dish with succulent cod (among the best I have had in a long time) with wonderfully deep cooking juices. John Dory (line caught near Devon) came with Jerusalem artichoke purée, lollo rosso, seaweed, turnip, Oyster and lemon thyme, chive oil & caviar. This was another busily constructed dish, light at the same time and whilst the Dory was not unpleasant, I have definitely had Dory that has been even more plump and juicy.
Rhubarb custard and mille-feuille, earl grey, ginger, powdered rhubarb was subtle and nicely done with good pastry. The pear hibiscus, goats yoghurt, cardamom ice cream had strong flavours and these worked very well as well.
I enjoyed this meal and the skilled design was visible from the word go. The staff were attentive and knowledgable on all dishes served. It’s a beautifully designed restaurant with its wood beams contrasting the table cloths but there was a slightly serious atmosphere during service somehow and I couldn’t help think that the staff could maybe afford to relax a little – then again, it was a quiet(ish) lunch. I will come back for dinner next time and make sure someone else is driving as opposed to me in order to enjoy the wine list. It is a professional delivery here which I can see they are well drilled. Steve Drake has clearly recruited carefully for this new venue and is providing well-crafted dishes.
Food Grade: 79%
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