Aasma Day visits the Brasserie at the Spa Hotel at the Ribby Hall Village.
WHEN I hear that a restaurant has won a raft of awards or is Michelin starred, it fails to impress me unless I have actually eaten there myself.
So when Ribby Hall Village invited me to attend their first ever gourmet-themed evening at its award-winning Brasserie, I was intrigued to see if it lived up to expectation.
The Brasserie, located within Ribby Hall’s Spa Hotel, certainly has all the accolades.
As well as holding two AA Rosettes and being listed in the Michelin Guide, the restaurant’s head chef Michael Noonan has enjoyed an illustrious career working at The Sydney Opera House before joining Ribby Hall.
The exclusive Gerrard Bertnand Wine and Dinner evening, priced at £49 per person, was limited to just 48 places and was the first in a series of fine wine and dinner evenings planned to follow at the Brasserie. Never having been to Ribby Hall before, we arrived to be delighted at the picturesque surroundings, which were made all the more stunning on a sunny evening.
After enjoying an arrival drink of fizzy Gris Blanc and some delicious canapes, and greeted by hotel manager Andrew Scott, we were seated in the beautifully decorated restaurant ready to tuck into fine food served with carefully selected Gerrard Bertrand wine to match each course.
Throughout the evening, John Budd, a sommelier from Hallgarten Druitt, the Brasserie’s specialist wine supplier, and Suzie Thevenin, of premium wine supplier Gerard Bertrand, were on hand to give facts about each of the wines, all of which were chosen from the Languedoc region in the South of France.
With Hubby being the designated driver, the task of drinking each of the wines matched with each course fell to me. A tough job, but someone had to do it.
Our starter was a pretty as a picture langoustine with white asparagus, chervil and yolk which was paired with a glass of Picpoul de Pinet 2013, which went perfectly with the shellfish.
Our fish course was next of lemon sole served on Jerusalem artichoke, salami and squid and it was a delight, especially with the glass of Naturalys Chardonnay 2013 to wash it down with.
Then it was time for the main event of braised ox cheek served with cauliflower and horseradish mash. The meat was beautifully tender and melted in the mouth while the red wine of Terroir Saint Chinian paired with the course was lovely and fruity as well as being velvety smooth.
Finding ourselves filling up nicely – and in my case well topped up with wine – there was no way we could turn down the dessert of Popcorn parfait with burnt butter sponge and chocolate.
The dessert was wonderful and unusual at the same time and the popcorn was a great touch. Not usually being a fan of dessert wines, I was pleasantly surprised with the Rivesaltes 1988, which went well with the pudding without being sickly sweet.
All great meals end with a cheese course and our evening was wrapped up with Garstang blue with beetroot and walnut.
With such high quality ingredients used in the food and matched with the excellent Gerard Bertrand wines, we felt the evening was good value, especially for a memorable dining experience.
The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village will be holding its next gourmet dinner and wine evening on Wednesday September 3.
A five-course gourmet dinner prepared by head chef Michael Noonan and his brigade of chefs will be complemented with a flight of wine chosen by a sommelier from Peter Lehmann Wines, taking you on a trip through the Barossa Valley.
On arrival, you will be treated to a complimentary glass of wine and a selection of canapes. The price is £79 per person. Call: 01772 671111 or 0800 1070336.