In the midst of storm Ophelia and storm Brian walking into Drakes restaurant was a warm and welcoming safe haven, the staff on reception welcomed us, taking time to ask how our day has been and show us down stairs to the restaurant. The restaurant is light and airy and a fantastic photography exhibition of Wild Mushrooms adorns the walls, as our waiter greeted and seated us we immediately felt relaxed in this high-end fine dining restaurant.
Drakes offer a set lunch menu, providing three options for starters, mains and desert. Our friendly waiter took extra care extra care to talk us through each element of the lunch menu before leaving us to make up our minds.
The menu offered a diverse range of options and from the starters on offer we chose Scottish smoked salmon with homemade pickles and dill crème fraiche and the soup of the day which was a seasonal pumpkin soup.
Whilst waiting for our starter our waiter brought us a selection of freshly made, lightly toasted bread as well as surprising us with two appetizers compliments of the chef – chunky morsels of pastrami and an asparagus soup to try. The pastrami burst with flavour, with a melt in the mouth texture it was soft and delicious. The asparagus soup was fantastically creamy, warming with a subtle asparagus flavour.
Next our starters arrived, the smoked salmon was presented with homemade pickles and crème fraiche, the colourful and playfully presented pickles reminded me of a modern take on the classic piccalilli with hints of cumin, turmeric and mustard. The salmon was light, fresh and not too overbearing leaving plenty of room for the main. We also ordered the pumpkin soup, which was a fantastic complement to the homemade bread which had been previously served. The pumpkin soup had an incredible burnt orange colour and smooth and creamy consistency, served with a parsley oil, which also had hints of basil which complemented the hearty and autumnal flavours of the soup.
For our main course we chose the Trenchmore farm wagvu bavette steak with beef dripping chips with pink peppercorn sauce and the wild mushroom risotto.
We ordered the wagvu bavette steak medium rare, and it didn’t disappoint. The steak was tender, juicy and extra flavoursome served with beef dripping chips which were perfectly crisp and crunchy with soft buttery insides. The steak was presented with a beautifully dressed side salad and a pink peppercorn source which was fragrant, fruity and peppery.
I’ve spent many an autumnal day wild food foraging for edible mushrooms and fungi so I’ve been lucky to try many wild mushroom recipes, and I have to say that Drake’s wild mushroom risotto was a real stand out dish, better than any other mmushroom risotto I have tried. With ceps, trumpets and chanterelle cooked in black truffle oil, the risotto had an incredible mouth feel – chewy, crunchy and creamy. The black truffle brought a thick sticky richness to the dish and the flavours from the mushrooms really popped, both sweet and savoury, nutty and earthy
Thoroughly satisfied from our mains, we weren’t sure if we would have room for dessert, but with such a tempting line up of sweet treats on the menu we soldiered on and ordered the chocolate pavé with a passion fruit sorbet and white peach cheesecake with white peach ice cream.
The chocolate pavé with a passion fruit sorbet, provided a delight to the senses with crunchy, crumbly chocolatey biscuits beside the thick and dense pavé, with the lively passion fruit sorbet cleansing the palate.
The cheesecake had dulcet peachy flavours and a layer of soft biscuity goodness on the bottom, completed with delicate white peach ice cream and balanced with a sharp and sweet raspberry syrup.
Both desserts were a perfect finale to an amazing meal, I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Drakes for lunch, there are still plenty of dishes on the menu I would love to try and truthfully I would return to have the wild mushroom risotto over and over again.