I went to The Cottage late last year and had a great experience thanks not only to the excellent menu and our food choices on the night, but also the friendly and warm atmosphere of the restaurant and our host for the evening. So when I was invited to go back for the launch of their winter menu, I didn’t hesitate to accept – I knew that it was bound to be a wonderful night.
As the new menu launch was a special event with free-flowing drinks, canapes, and musicians, it was the complete antithesis to the relaxed and comfortable visit we had last time. It just proves to show what a versatile space The Cottage really is – you can have a casual and lazy family lunch or dinner there, or even rent out some space in the restaurant and have a boisterous party!
As soon as we walked in to the Cottage, we were offered the first course of our evening – a warm, gooey and cheesy arancini ball, fried to crispy perfection. I could have very easily had multiples of this, if not for my attempt to cut dairy out of my diet (which also led me to avoiding the cheese board spread across one table).
One table that I didn’t avoid though, was the regularly-replenished large bowl of local oysters on ice, served with a tangy mignonette. As an absolute fiend for seafood, I have to admit that I strategically situated myself near the oyster station for a portion of the night, reaching out for another oyster every couple of minutes. It was just too darn tempting!
I think one of the best dishes on the night was the roasted cauliflower with lamb. The lamb had been cooked to peak tenderness, and simply melted in your mouth as soon as you took a bite. The cauliflower had lovely caramelised roasted tops, and with the occasional burst of sweet flavours from the pomegranate seeds and raisins, it was a simple yet effective dish that definitely left me wanting seconds.
The soft and tender beef brisket was sticky and sweet thanks to the smokey maple and cider sauce. It was almost too sweet to have on its own, you really need to have it with the accompanying salad and horseradish cream to have more than a taster.
We also tried the Mushrooms stuffed with barley, dried fruit, herbs and chevre on the night, but I’m afraid to say that they were so tasty and more-ish that I couldn’t stop myself from eating them before taking a photo!
Once again, head chef Ellen Young has outdone herself with a range of dishes on the menu that bridge that gap between simple home cooking, and something a little more special. The Cottage is somewhere that I could easily take my in-laws – my mother-in-law who is very much a traditionalist when it comes to food, and my more adventurous father-in-law who likes to try everything at least once. They would both find much to please them here and really, there’s no better compliment. The Cottage really has the ability to satisfy all palates.
Gourmanda attended the launch of the 2014 winter menu at The Cottage as a guest of Pendulum Communications.