Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

Michelin-Starred Chef Robert Potter presents his NEW Autumn Menu for The Bybrook

It was a lovely surprise to be invited to preview the new Autumn menu at The Bybrook restaurant at Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe. Michelin-starred chef Robert Potter served us eight Autumnal themed dishes – yes! I did say 8! I basically rolled myself back home after all that food! 

A 5 STAR COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL AND GOLF CLUB

“Standing to attention in the cosy Cotswold countryside, The Manor House offers a wealth of experiences to savour, from overnight breaks to unrivalled meetings, world-class dining to award-winning golf, dream weddings or the perfect setting for a private family celebration. Surrounded by 365 acres of spectacular Cotswolds countryside, The Manor House is one of the most beautiful destinations you will discover. At the heart of the 14th century village of Castle Combe, and waiting to be explored are the carefully tended parkland, woodland and gardens and village beyond.”

Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

It was a pleasure to have Executive Chef, Robert Potter explain how each dish was created, drawing our attention to the locally sourced ingredients (some of which were grown in the hotel’s own garden). It was good to appreciate how much work went into each dish, making all of them memorable.

“Potter says he has “a dedicated focus to serving seasonal and classical food combinations” and his aim “is to create a relaxed fine-dining menu influenced by the seasons as well as being dictated by the beautiful British produce harvested from within the grounds of The Manor House.’’ The Bybrook.

The chef introduced each course, explaining how he created it and the flavours we would expect to taste, then the sommelier matched a wine to each dish and explained the pairing. I’ll give a brief overview of each dish and the photos will speak for themselves.

First, we were served with an amuse-bouche – a selection of three small dishes to get our taste buds fired up. One of which was foie gras in a small cone with golden raisin puree at the bottom.

Plus a selection of warm, homemade bread. The favourite of the night – the caramelised onion bread roll.

So, onto the main event!

1. CRAB – Hand rolled macaroni, Cornish white crab, mooli, Exmoor caviar, chervil, shellfish foam.

Served with Albarino, A20, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2016

This dish wasn’t too fishy, even with the Exmoor caviar, and the shellfish foam was light and delicate. I think this meal would even appeal to someone who isn’t too keen on fish.

Would I eat this again? Yes, but not my first option for a starter.

2. SALMON – Confit of citrus cured Loch Duart salmon, marinated garden beetroot, Yukon gold and horseradish mousse, dill.

Served with Crémant de Bourgogne, Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée, France, NV

I am going back to visit JUST for this dish. The combination of flavours with the salmon was amazing!

Hmm, so words to describe this dish – I’m not a food critic but let’s go with… succulent, tender, melt-in-the-mouth salmon with a tangy kick from the beetroot and horseradish. I wish I could create this meal at home!

Would I eat this again? Well, obviously, yes! ^^^

3. FOIE GRAS (controversial I know, but had to try it) – Torchon of Rougie foie gras, golden raisin puree, sweet wine jelly, date and walnut toast.

Served with Sauternes, Le Garonnelles, Bordeaux, France, 2015

It was interesting to try. The foie gras dish was accompanied with warm date and walnut toast. The foie gras was a smooth, rich, buttery pate, I wasn’t blown away by the foie gras flavour but with a little spread on the toast together with sweet wine jelly added some sharper flavours to offset the richness of the foie gras.

The wine that accompanied this dish also stood out – it was a sweeter tasting wine, the same wine used in the sweet jelly. The wine had a honey and toasty flavour which also went with the next dish.

Would I eat this again? Hmm, I wouldn’t order this as a dish but wouldn’t say no to a canape style version (like the amuse-bouche we had at the start).

How does the sommelier pick the wines for each dish?

Manuel, the sommelier, told us that he does not only take into account matching a wine with a particular dish but makes sure the wine taste actually goes with the next dish to be served – as that wine flavour will linger in your mouth as you start your next course.

4. HALIBUT – Braised Gigha halibut, buttered lettuce, sea purslane, cockles, mussels, chive beurre blanc.

Served with Chateau Pierr-Bise, Clos de la Couilaine, Savennieres, France, 2014

Perfectly cooked halibut that was buttery and tender and served with a silky smooth beurre blanc. The wine that accompanied this dish was perfect! A clean cut, mineral flavour with a hint of citrus fruit.

Would I eat this again? Maybe, I’m not a massive lover of seafood (well cockles and mussels), I would be more than happy with just the Halibut. So I guess, yes, I would, but a simpler version of this dish.

5. BEEF – Fillet of Herefordshire Longhorn beef, braised oxtail, pancetta, crushed salt baked celeriac, girolles, truffled heritage potatoes, red wine sauce.

Served with Fog Mountain Merlot, California, USA, 2015

Everything you want in a warm, hearty, Autumnal meal, but with added luxury taste of braised oxtail and truffled creamy heritage potato on the side.

Would I eat this again? YES! In a heartbeat!

6. YOGHURT – Whipped yoghurt, iced muscat grapes (+ grapes 4 ways)

This was a great palette cleanser and we all agreed that we would love to eat this for breakfast every day. Light and refreshing yoghurt with added texture from the grapes prepared in a variety of ways e.g. dehydrated, crushed, poached and a surprise frozen grape at the bottom.

Would I eat this again? I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t order it after tasting the other desserts. It would be a good choice if you only wanted something light as a dessert, but, I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth so this might be just a bit too healthy for me 😉 As I said, I would have this for breakfast!

7. BLACKBERRY – Brillat-Savarin cheesecake, blackberry jelly, confit lemon, blackberry sorbet.

Served with Dow’s Late Bottle Vintage, Douro, Portugal, 2011

I’m not always a fan of cheesecake but this cheesecake was the perfect combination of being indulgently creamy but still very light. The sharpness of the sorbet, lemon and blackberry arrangement on the plate and the sweet blackberry jelly layer on top made this cheesecake a delight to eat.

Would I eat this again? Yes, in a flash! Tangy blackberry is the perfect flavour to accompany this cheesecake. Also, I would order this dessert for the presentation too, just to impress my friends 😉

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

8. LEMON – Amalfi lemon tart, Oakchurch farm raspberries, baby basil, raspberry sorbet.

Served with Tokaji, Late Harvest, Hungary, 2015

This was the dessert that Michelin highlighted across their social media when it was announced that Rob Potter had been awarded a Michelin star. Unfortunately, this dessert is only on the menu for the next two weeks as the raspberry season is over. We all felt very privileged to eat this dessert since it was a stand-out dish in the Michelin Guide this year!

Would I eat this again? YES! It’s exactly what you would expect from a Michelin-star dessert. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the BEST LEMON TART I have ever tasted. The smooth lemon filling was perfect, the pastry base melted in the mouth and I enjoyed the crunchy, sugary topping.

Thanks to everyone at The Bybrook. It was a pleasure to be invited to such a special evening!

Don’t wait for a special occasion, go and visit – you won’t be disappointed with the quality of food!

Book here: https://www.exclusive.co.uk/the-manor-house/restaurants-bars/the-bybrook/Or call: 01249 782206

Breakfast Preview at The Ivy Brasserie Bath

BREAKFAST PREVIEW

I was invited to attend a little preview of the breakfast menu this week. We were given a small taster menu of the breakfast on offer.

We were given a selection of mini pastries and tea and coffee to start.

I chose the Eggs Royale and Green Juice.

Egg Royale: Poached eggs on top of an English breakfast muffin, with smoked salmon, lemon, and a hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise sauce is perfection!


Green Juice: full of natural goodness: Avocado, mint, celery, spinach, apple, parsley.

Not too “grassy” but maybe not the best green juice to start with if you are not a fan of green juices.

I really enjoyed the Green Juice however it was quite filling with the rest of the breakfast. Maybe just a juice and a couple of mini pastries would be enough for another breakfast.

One of the best seats in the house. With a view of the busy Milsom Street and below the stunning chandelier inside.

A little gift to take home…

Welcoming The Ivy Brasserie to Bath

Tomorrow is the day! The stunning, luxurious Ivy Brasserie is opening in Bath.

Located on Milsom Street.

As we know The Ivy London oozes filmstar glamour, elegant dining and ArtDeco inspired contemporary decor. This is exactly what The Ivy Brasserie brings to Bath but with a more relaxed and accessible presence. Open to all and offering all-day dining, you can pop in for a relaxing coffee or a quick after work drink or celebrate a special occasion with friends.

I interviewed the General Manager Katja Kammerer and asked her a few questions about what we can expect from The Ivy Brasserie Bath.

When did The Ivy Brasserie chain start?

“We started in November 2004. We refurbished the original Ivy (London) and at the same time opened our Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden – so it was almost, if we close one for a few months, let’s open something else that actually looks quite similar in style – so you still get that “gentlemen’s cigar club”, very symmetrical, black and white, all those big stage actors, that theatre feel in the Market Grill… and that’s pretty much what kicked it off. Then after that, we had Marylebone, Chelsea, High Street Kensington, Wimbledon so then quite slowly it built the collection.”

What makes your British dishes stand out from anywhere else in Bath? 

“I think that you have that glamour from The Ivy combined with some of the traditional dishes, like the Shepherds Pie which has been around for a hundred years. So it is obviously the name The Ivy carries and it’s the glamour that comes across and makes it special but more accessible. So instead of having a 3-month waiting list to go to The Ivy (and making it that one place to get into), you now have it in more and more major cities – so you can just pop in for a coffee, for some pastries, afternoon tea. We always keep a proportion of our restaurant available for the local residents for exactly that – to have that glamour in a very accessible way. You can come in just for a coffee and some pastries but you can also have your 50th Anniversary here.”

“We wanted The Ivy Brasserie Bath to have a neighbourhood feel and located on a beautiful street in Bath that everyone knows”

Katja explained that it was important for The Ivy Brasserie to be incorporated into the neighbourhood and pay homage to the historical and cultural relevance of Bath.

Do the menus differ across the different Ivy Brasserie locations? And are some of the ingredients sourced locally?

“In the Ivy Collection, we have cafés, brasseries, and gardens and they all have slightly different menus but there is a lot they have in common. But all the different restaurants have something that will make them a bit more special to them. We are also very aware that Somerset has a wide range of local markets and local produce and we are aware of it and want to incorporate it. We do have a Blue Cheese and Apple Salad with Bath Blue Cheese, we have Beauty Of Bath Apples, and we are using Somerset brandy for our flambé desserts.

Going forward we will, particularly with our drinks, look into how we can make them more local because we are very aware of the importance of that.”

Do you have a signature Bath cocktail?

“We have a beautiful cocktails list, some created by our bar team specifically for Bath. We have some very prominent names on our cocktail list so you will recognise some of them from place names to street names. We also have a cocktail that was made specifically for us.”

Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Brasserie: Everyday 3-5pm

“We have incorporated the Bath Buns in the afternoon tea – something very specific to this brasserie and they are delicious, believe me.”

Vegan or vegetarian options

“We do offer a selection of vegetarian dishes (for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) and we do provide solid training to all the waiters/waitresses and the rest of the management team, so we are approachable in certain alterations as much as possible.”

Can we expect any exciting plans for Christmas – Offers/Seasonal dishes?

“We like to keep our menu as seasonal as possible and there will be some more Christmas inspired items. But we are keeping it under wraps at the moment – keeping it a surprise until later on.”

MORE! Opening in Spring 2018!

The second floor and terrace

There will be a second bar on the second floor with a dining area

The terrace will be open until 10pm

 

The Ivy Bath Brasserie

** Acknowledgement: a few of the photos used in this post are courtesy of The Ivy Brasserie Bath PR. 

A/W 2017 Beauty Essentials

Helping you find your Glowing Autumn/Winter Goddess Essentials!

 

Where has summer gone?! It’s gone in a flash. We can’t complain we didn’t get enough sun during the heat waves in the early months of Summer. So now that chance for a Summer tan has disappeared we need help finding that healthy glow again. We all want to keep a Summer glow for as long as possible so here are some Autumn/Winter essentials to keep you looking like a glowing goddess throughout the cooler A/W months.

DRY SKIN? HYDRATE. PROTECT. SOOTH.

Keep that skin plump and replenished to combat the chilly Autumn winds. Our skin feels a lot tighter as the weather gets cooler, and you can really feel the effects of cold weather on your skin. The best way to protect your skin is to have a similar routine to the Summer months. During the Summer we (well some of us) get too much sun, it dehydrates our skin so we have got to keep our skin’s hydration balance in check.

Another key essential not only in the Summer months but Winter too, is to apply a low SPF on your skin to protect your skin from the UV rays. Any dermatologist will say SPFs are vital to keep in your skincare regime, to protect your skin from UV damage all year round and help with signs of ageing. Wearing a lightweight SPF every day will help your skin even on those cloudy, overcast days.

YOUR SKINCARE ESSENTIALS

1. PROTECT

SPFs:

UltraSun Face Anti-aging Formula, LaRoche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin, Kiehl’s Ultra Light UV Defense.

2. HYDRATE

Hydration and Brightening Masks:

Origins GinZing Peel-Off Mask, Clinique Moisture Surge Night Mask, Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance.

Facial Oils:

Elemis Superfood Facial Oil, The Body Shop Oils of Life Facial Oil, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

3. SOOTH

Cleansing Creams or Balms:

Emma Harding Cleansing Balm, La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Hydrating Cleansing Cream.

A gentler way to cleanse the skin and a relaxing way to remove makeup.

Intensely Hydrating Night Cream:

Estee Lauder Nightwear Plus, BodyShop Vitamin E Night Cream, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Rescue.

Look out for hydraluronic acid to conquer dehydration and fine lines.

Lip Balm:

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, Dr. PAWPAW Original Clear Balm, Burts Bees Ultra Conditioning Balm with Kokum Butter.

 

BECOME A GLOWING WINTER GODDESS

With the help of your hydrating skincare routine your skin should be on it’s way to feeling plump, looking fresh and bringing out that glow. Here are a few make-up essentials to help create a glowing goddess look.

BRIGHT EYED

Eyelash Curlers

Wide awake eyes are the quickest way to get standout lashes.

THAT GLOW!

Tinted Moisturiser

Don’t cover up your gorgeous natural glowing skin too much. Give your skin a helping hand throughout the day by applying a moisturising tinted moisturiser/BB cream.

If the weather is drying out your skin and foundations/concealers feel tight and dry at the end of the day opt to find the hydrating products for this season.

A LITTLE SHIMMER…

Long Lasting Eye Shadows Sticks

Crayon/Stick eye shadows are easy to use without getting excess glitter/shimmer all over your face. Try some gorgeous neutral shades to give your eyes a bit of a pop.

For a cream shimmer haze try Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick in Sugarfrost – Tan Biege Shimmer.

ADD SOME WARMTH

Bronzer

To add some Summer warmth to your face.

et viola! A glowing Autumn/Winter goddess!

 

Also, find this post on Total Guide to Bath:

https://www.totalguidetobath.com/lifestyle/guest-blogger-aw17-essentials/#.WeiU_BSofzI

Another £10 Tasty Bargain! Great Bath Feast ‘Tenner Treats’: The Clifton Sausage Bath

I had to make the most of The Great Bath Feasts amazing ‘Tenner Treat’ offer, AND this time, I visited somewhere that serves one of my all-time, favourite meals… EVER! The classic, BANGERS AND MASH!!

The Clifton Sausage, Bath.

“a trio of gourmet sausages (Bath Blue cheese & leek, Clifton and Old Spot Pork) served with creamy mash and homemade gravy and accompanied by a 125ml glass of house red, white, rosé wine or a soft drink for £10 at The Clifton Sausage throughout The Great Bath Feast

Perfect comfort food for the cooler Autumn months.

First of all, I was surprised at how big this restaurant was – covering two floors and extending out into a conservatory and outdoor terrace at the back, they have a great view of Bath. We sat in the perfect spot to see the view and were very excited to treat ourselves to a classic British dish.

So, get to it! The meal! 

As I mentioned above, this meal is my favourite meal, OF ALL TIME (not being over the top, it seriously is!). If it’s anywhere on a menu I have to have it! Sooo… I don’t think it’s going too far to say that I am quite the “connoisseur” of sausages and mash 😉

It was a delicious meal made up of three varieties of gourmet sausages – Bath blue cheese & leek, The Clifton (pork, cider and wholegrain mustard) and Gloucester Old Spot Traditional Pork, accompanied with mash potato, onion gravy and parsnip crisps.

The presentation was great, with a good amount of parsnip crisps on top and a generous serving of gravy on the side.

The sausages were great! I really enjoyed all the flavours but the flavour that stood out for me was the traditional Gloucester Old Spot pork sausage. Second in line was the Bath Blue cheese and leek sausage, it was nice to have a stronger flavour come through but the sausage meat was slightly crumbly (if that’s the right word to explain it). Finally, The Clifton sausage with pork, cider and wholegrain mustard. This was nice, however, I would have much preferred to eat this sausage in a casserole (such as my Mum’s homemade sausage, apple & cider casserole). Still, it was great to be able to try three different varieties of sausage in one meal!

One small issue to note – not a massive issue, just a small one – was that I was a little disappointed in the amount of mash. Maybe this is just me being a mash fiend and maybe I don’t need/shouldn’t have a giant mountain of mash potato on my plate (think of the carbs Katie!) but let’s just say for me this wasn’t my “normal” portion of mash (…usually a half plate’s worth if I’m being honest). But I guess that is what you are paying for, £10 for a meal and a drink.

Still, if you are a sausage and mash connoisseur like me I would definitely pay The Clifton Sausage a visit – these sausages are too good to be missed!

FYI: NOT PART OF THE GBF OFFER BUT… we finished our meal off with a cheeky Eton Mess 😉