Restaurant Review: The Gallery at Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plymouth in Devon
With a history dating back to more than one thousand years ago, Boringdon Hall, which sits in the hills of Devon, offers a trip to remember.
The manor house has been subjected to war, destroyed by fire and left deserted for years but the current building has been afforded much love, care and attention and stands tall and elegant as a hotel, banqueting and conference centre.
I visited one mild Friday evening in October and sat in the bar area with a drink beside an open fire, lounging back against a large, dark Chesterfield sofa. I took in the fantastic setting for my dinner that evening; high ceilings, stained glass windows that reach up high and tapestries set the scene and showcase the classic Elizabethan architecture.
My dining partner, Nick, and I took our seats in The Gallery Restaurant, which overlooks the bar a few floors up. With 11 tables in our section and the low lighting we felt very cosy indeed and ready to begin our evening of fine dining.
With at least seven options to choose from on each course, the reasonably priced menu offers a good selection of seafood, game, meat and vegetarian options using predominantly locally sourced ingredients by head chef, Chris Dyke.
To start with I chose the scallops with pork belly, apple and crackling. Scallops and pork are a combination I am seeing more frequently at the moment and I am loving it! The seasonal influence of the apple is a great traditional combination with the pork and uplifts the dish with its gentle taste and puréed texture. The scallops were lovely and plump and were complimented well with the deep and flavoursome gravy, lean and tender pork belly and superbly crisp crackling. There was a good variation of flavours, smells and textures on this surf and turf dish, the presentation was tantalising and the portion size is just right – a wonderful way to start the evening! Nick also opted for the scallops and enjoyed them as much as I did!
Other starter options included caramelised cauliflower veloute with chilli and smoked paprika, cured venison with Plymouth Gin, grapefruit, and salted cherries or crab with tomato, cucumber, crispy pancetta and nasturtium.
For my main course I went for a firm favourite of mine – beef, which arrived as a braised short rib and fillet served with fondant potato, mushroom duxelles and onions. The dish was just what I was after – rich flavours and tender meat accompanied by a 2013 Romanian Pinot Noir, which had been recommended to me and suited the food very well.
The braised rib fell apart and was so rich and juicy, the medium, rare fillet was full of flavour and the gravy had a lovely rich and deep flavour. The fondant was crispy on the outside and soft, buttery and fluffy on the inside, the accompanying red onion was sweet and my side option of onion rings were crispy, light and very tasty. The mushroom duxelles (finely chopped/minced mushrooms made into a paste) were a first time try for me and I thought they were a good accompaniment to the meat. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this flavoursome dish.
Nick opted for a rib eye steak, which was served with chunky chips, mushroom and tomato. He informed me that the medium, rare steak was well cooked, juicy and was a “good quality tender piece of beef.” The chips were the right level of chunkiness for him with their salty, crispy outer and soft and fluffy inner. He also enjoyed the onion rings with their thin and crispy batter and concluded that it was a “very good quality steak and chips”.
Other main course options included breast of guinea fowl with cepe gnocchi, roast cauliflower and girolles or fillet of salmon with hispi cabbage, pancetta, brown shrimps and seaweed butter sauce.
We were both really pleased with the service we received, the waiters and waitresses were friendly, chatty and very professional and the service was fantastic.
We didn’t have to wait long until our desserts arrived and I enjoyed the Manjari chocolate delice, with tonka bean ice cream and a sesame tuille, while Nick tucked into a selection of cheeses. My chocolate was smooth, delicate and cool with a spongy base and the ice cream was well suited here, the tuille was crunchy and tasty with the warming sesame flavour, making for a very enjoyable and satisfying dessert.
Nick enjoyed his number one choice of dessert and opted for the Devon Blue, Cornish Yarg, Miss Muffet and Godminster organic vintage cheddar, which were accompanied with crackers, red onion chutney and quince jelly.
In a nutshell
A thoroughly enjoyable evening of top quality British food served in a wonderful setting. The menu is full of a great selection of creative and tempting options and the food is delicious and served with a smile.
Address: Boringdon Hall Hotel, Boringdon Hill, Plymouth, Devon PL7 4DP