The Coach House Restaurant at Kentisbury Grange in North Devon is directed by Thomas Carr, the Executive Chef within the walls of this former 17th Century stable block. Having garnered 2 AA rosettes in 2013 for fine dining and excellent service, we knew that we were in for a real treat. And we were not disappointed.
As you enter through the stylish glass doors you are greeted by Suzzie the Maître D’. Immediately you are made to feel welcome and at ease, and you can either loiter in the bar area for pre-dinner drinks or be ushered straight away to your seats. The restaurant itself has been beautifully designed and the décor is plush, modern and comfortable with an ambience that hits the right spot.
The Coach House offer a competitively priced two course lunch priced at £14.95, but my friend and I selected the three course menu which comes in at a very favourable £19.95. Considering the quality of food served during our two relaxing hours there, I have to say that the three course option represents excellent & outstanding value for money.
For my starter I selected the Coach House Duck, which is a large, golden yoked egg on toast advertised with a Brown Sauce Jus. However, the real surprise are the 5 or 6 slices of finely cut duck which has been cured and smoked right here on the premises. It is over these delightful and mouth-watering slices of finest duck that the tangy and tasty jus is delicately poured.
The combinations of flavours on the plate, and on my pallet for that matter, were simply to die for. It is so nice to be wowed by a starter at the beginning of your culinary journey. If it was the kitchen team’s intention to excite and tantalise in anticipation for the remaining two courses, then I would say that it was a job well done.
Even though we opted for a more basic fare of chilled beer and Westcountry cider, there is also an impressive list of wines from around the world (including The Lebanon), alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails and of course spirits.
The next dish to be served by our courteous & attentive waiting staff was the signature Westcountry Fillet of Plaice, with tartar sauce and Chips. The carefully and artistically arranged collection of four sumptuous, tender fillets of plaice sat in a shallow lake of thin but warm tartar sauce accompanied with choice garden peas.
The chips were chunky, crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Absolutely perfect with a sprinkling of rock salt. Notably, only one of the fillets was lightly battered; a stylish nod to traditional British fare. The second segment of this lunchtime feast was yet another success, and now we were gathering pace towards dessert. Could anything possibly go wrong now, could this level of perfection and attention to detail be maintained to the very end? We were to find out shortly!
The grand finale came in the guise of dessert intriguingly named: Frozen Chocolate – Caramel and nuts. This was simply stunning visually and of course, on the taste buds too. The block of frozen chocolate was exquisite, a blast of supreme ice-cold, cocoa-laden sweetness.
The frozen chocolate nestled in a lake of caramel at one end with a delicious dollop of rich, chocolate mousse at the opposite side of the bowl. In between and scattered over the pudding were pistachio nuts, sesame seed tuiles, and homemade honeycomb too.
Underneath the frozen chocolate block, I found pieces of chocolate crumble that enhanced this already supremely luxuriant and delicious dessert. It was so tasty that I scraped the plate clean in an effort to harvest every last atom of sweetness.
We couldn’t fault the service of Suzzie and her team in the restaurant, and neither could we criticize the exceptional food cooked and lovingly prepared by Thomas and his team at The Coach House. The various dishes emerged at an even pace that was not too fast or too slow. All in all a fantastic dining experience which we will no doubt be destined to repeat!