New venture from Michael Wignall earning a Michelin star (2020) within its first year of operation
The Angel at Hetton is a new venture from Michael Wignall, formerly of Penny Hill Park and Gidleigh Park where he earned both establishments 2 Michelin stars whilst he was in residence as head chef of both previous establishments. This restaurant is a gastropub (dating back to the 15th Century) and now the home of Mr Wignall’s solo enterprise. I have not had such caring service like this at many restaurants (see full review) and the overall meal was as good as one can expect from someone with the head chef’s track record, which I have had the pleasure of at both previous venues whilst he was at the helm. This is a delightful place to visit and also has rooms in case you wish to explore the Yorkshire Dales and was well worth every penny of the £53 that my supper here was.
The menu is split into an a la carte averaging just over £50 for three courses dependent on which you take and a tasting menu of 7 courses at £80, but knowing the chef’s style, it is highly likely that this will turn out to be more like 10 courses when all said and done (an assumption of mine only). As I wanted to try as many things as possible I went a slightly different way and ordered three starters, a side and a dessert – do have a penchant for starters in general and is nice to see as many things as one can.
Prior to coming, my routes had been blocked off by rivers that had flooded and on ringing ahead to alert of the lateness, the front of house offered to pick me up from a location nearby I could get to if the car could not make it – this is something new for me and pretty amazing hospitality. Thankfully, the car did make it and the restaurant was kind enough to oblige charging the car from an available socket as I was running very low. That just gives a sense of the approach to diners that the staff have here which genuinely had to double take at.
Bread here is homemade and came with whipped butter and marmite whipped dripping. Normally I avoid anything marmite related, but this was mercifully toned down. Both were as smooth as one can expect but I doubt I will have been the first customer to ask for more butter based on the portion size (a little more here I think would be better). Trout with ponzu roe was the first starter and came with parmesan cream and purple radish – this was a lovely combination and the salty pop of roe along with the well-prepared piece of trout was a very good handling of a trout starter.
Chicken liver parfait was next, served with aerated duck liver, artichoke bark, parsley, hazelnuts, enoki mushrooms and frozen chicken liver foie gras. This sounds fabulous and it was even better than it does sound with an immaculately smooth parfait, offset by the pickled elements.
Veal sweetbread was the third starter with a superb rice wine gel, cauliflower purée, cep foam and cauliflower crisp. This was an absolutely stunning combination again with brilliant veal as well, heightened by the pickled crosne (Japanese artichoke which derives its name from Crosne, a town south of Paris where they were planted these in 1882 by an agronomist who had brought them from Japan).
An interlude of stem ginger, biscuit glacé, butternut squash ribbons and gel, chocolate aero and set coffee custard was offered next. This had a delightful coffee custard. This is a fine-looking dish although the whole was close to having a little too much butternut squash ‘savouriness’ and I would have been happy for the ginger beefed up a little more which the richer elements I think would be comfortable with as well.
Banana parfait dessert came with chocolate gel, lime curd, peanut ice cream aerated chocolate which all came together very well. The parfait was lovely, salt from nuts, sweet curd, chocolate was well balanced and the biscuit base was wonderful. Coffee was a brand called Origin Brazil and as I have come to note from Mr Wignall, the petit four came in the form of a small portion within a bowl. This was caramelised apple cinnamon custard with almond brittle caramel foam (inside); a lovely finish.
As a reminder, the total bill for all of this (no drinks as driving) came to £53 and I do find the further outside of London I go, the more superb value for money venues pop up and here is another one, serving absolutely quality dishes. I gather Angel at Hetton will be introducing an even more upscaled dining restaurant concept within the same complex in the future and I have no doubt this will be an immediate competitor to L’Enclume.
Food Grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)