Family run 16th Century old weaver's cottage with charm and character serving uncomplicated dishes that hit the spot
This is a good place to visit, no question. I loved the cosy interior, the charm of the old building and the fact that the food packed the punch that it did on top of being unpretentious. There were some lovely moments here and the food is very much in the same style as one my ultimate places for food, The Sportsman in Whitstable – superb and simple use of wonderful ingredients. I found the menu at The West House particularly reasonable as was the matching wines and when the overall effect is at the level it is, there really isn’t much not to like when you have this quality for the price it is at this establishment. Highly recommended for any occasion, such is the charm of the venue.
Snacks were delivered in the form of cheese croquette with a cider emulsion on top as a warm, welcome. I thought the home made bread with hazel nut and raisin was particularly good here along with the supporting beef dripping butter and salted butter that were done very well. Along with notable bread and butter were the olives that were plump and juicy served with a superb home cured dose of oregano, orange zest, salt and garlic that was a wonderful touch. Normally I wouldn’t think that these were worth attention, but I continue to see this as a hallmark of a good restaurant when higher care is given to the simpler parts, as was the case here.
Opting for the short, tasting menu I was delighted with the first course of haddock tart with leek and especially the brown butter sabayon. I know I am a sucker for egg-based sauces but this was actually light at the same time as having that wonderful, nutty quality of buerre noisette which was absolutely delicious, all held together by a perfectly cooked egg within a light pastry. Creamed duck liver parfait in blobs on a thin, rye crisp served with onion marmalade was a fine course with another nice touch of the frozen parfait shavings on top.
Fillet of halibut was served with pak choi, waterlmelon and hot and sour broth and was an enjoyable and fresh take on a fish course and the hit of the sauce was indeed good. This was followed by a substitute of pork (to the advertised chicken) which was very kind of the management to arrange. Perfectly crispy and juicy pork was served with pickled carrots, heritage carrot, a carrot puree and pork jus. Not complicated and strong flavours were experienced here.
Although the rhubarb sorbet did not produce any wow moments, it was an original flavour with the olive oil and mascarpone and the blend of savoury, acid and sweet from the consomé was, in a way the perfect crossover for a pre-dessert. The main dessert of white chocolate honey comb parfait and dark chocolate sorbet was beautifully done. Both chocolates were delicious as well as not being too heavy at the same time showing skill and control from the chef. Cardamom ganache petit fours and ginger Madeleine’s finished off the meal superbly.
Overall this was a superb meal showing a skilled restraint from the kitchen to not overdo their dishes with too much and the simplicity and wonderful flavours were a real plus point here. The only criticism I can think of in hindsight is that I didn’t have any absolute volcanic eruptions of flavour on this visit, but the meal was consistently good throughout and it’s generally a good sign if this is the only gripe. The West House is stored in my mind as a great option and a gem 1 Michelin starred venue in England compared with its peers.
Food Grade: 86%
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