As part of our recent stay at Careys Manor Hotel and Spa, we had dinner at Cambium Restaurant* which is renowned for fine dining. Located within the hotel, the restaurant has gained 3 AA Rosettes and Chef Alistair Craig creates menus which focus on simplicity and flavour. There is an innate sense of style to the interior design which is contemporary and understated, with neutral colours, booth tables and decorative features such as bespoke oak leaf golden screens which give a nod to the natural environment of the surrounding area.
After a warm welcome, knowledgeable sommelier Michael talked us through the ideal wine pairings for our meal and we started the evening with an excellent 2016 Argentinian sparkling Malbec rosé from the Gouguenheim Estate which is produced in small batches. This was summer in a glass, a light and fruity wine which paired well with the amuse-bouche of shallot soup which had an airy texture and plenty of nutty parmesan. Next to arrive at the table was a selection of freshly made granary, rosemary focaccia, milk roll and sourdough bread; the herby and fragrant rosemary focaccia was just incredible with the sea salt butter.
My starter of panisse with chicory, raisins and almonds was a good springtime dish with a bright flavour, crispy texture and added sweetness from the raisins.
My dining companion was impressed by his onion orzotto, which I also sampled, this had a creamy consistency, a delicious tang from the beer pickled onion and a sharpness from the blue cheese which added contrast to this sophisticated starter.
I was charmed by the flavours of my main course of parsnip samosa, lentils, onion bhaji and yoghurt; this was the epitome of Indian food served in a fine dining style. The golden pastry yielded to an earthy parsnip filling which was complemented by the onion bhaji, while the creamy yoghurt worked well with the other elements. This was a stunning dish which showed skill and imagination.
The agnolotti of butternut squash with pine nuts, sage and cavolo nero chosen by my dining companion was equally refined, the freshly made pasta and the sweetness of the butternut squash sat well with the bittersweet cavolo nero and fragrant sage. Michael recommended the Musar Jeune, Hochar from the Bekaa Valley (2012), this was my first time sampling a Lebanese wine and I was wowed by its fruity silkiness and spicy finish; it is easy to see why Chateau Musar is a renowned vineyard.
My dessert of chocolate delice with milk ice cream was indulgent without being overly sweet, with the milk ice cream providing a good balance to the intensity of the chocolate.
My dining companion was intrigued by the ‘blue cheese’ dessert, a springy and delicately spiced pecan almond anise cake with white chocolate ganache and orange curd. The orange curd lifted the dish with a zesty note which worked well with the white chocolate ganache which had blue cheese running through it. I loved the juxtaposition of sweet and savoury ingredients which showed a flair for the unexpected. Michael was on hand to offer his advice on dessert wine and I ordered a glass of the Moscato d’Asti, Pio Cesare, Piedmont, Italy (2015) which had a beautifully fruity and floral quality reminiscent of elderflower.
We soaked up the ambience as we enjoyed handmade petit fours and coffee, concluding a relaxing evening. Service from Restaurant Manager Frederico and his team was excellent; congenial and attentive without being intrusive and the calm environment as well as the outstanding food made this a memorable dining experience which I look forward to repeating in the future.
What do you all think, do you like the sound of a fine dining meal which showed inventiveness and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.
Until next time,
*I was invited to review Cambium as part of my stay at Careys Manor Hotel and Spa, this meal was complimentary for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.