The food at Jeremy’s is beautiful, but it’s not just a pretty face. We eat with our eyes, and the plates are a visual feast, bursting with colour and flirting with your senses. But much more than that; there’s temptation for the tongue too. The flavours are balanced; they dance in your mouth. It’s more than just a plate of excellent food. Do I sound a bit overexcited?! I felt it, looking at my lunch.
During our meal, there was hardly ever a time when it felt like there was too much of one thing or another in a dish. Or – heaven forfend – not enough of something. And that in itself is a grand skill. How many times have you eaten something and thought it would have been perfect, ‘…if only…’?
Before I talk about the food, I’m also going to just flag up the grounds and the marquee. This is a perfect place for a party, with its flourishing gardens and outdoor structure. It’s crying out for weddings, really, but just as good a place for a summer garden party or corporate do – if you want some inspiration, have a look here. That the restaurant manages to capture the essence of fine dining but still offer the party vibe is again, a testament to the art of balance that is essentially Jeremy’s.
So, to the important business of food. Firstly, the old tastebuds were kicked into action with a light fishy cakey thing, which was a nice change from the little soupy thing that you usually get, before we set foot on the three course journey. It’s worth flagging up that the restaurant does a startlingly good daily menu offer at £22/£27.50 for two or three courses respectively, but we dove straight in to the a la carte, natch. Which actually is very reasonably priced for the quality of the nosh.
Moroccan spiced quail, fennel, aubergine, mint £10
Grilled red mullet, cuttlefish, heritage tomato, monk’s beard, basil £11
South Down lamb, Slipcote cannelloni, broad beans, chard, pea veloute £22
Seabass, clams, gnocchi, asparagus, heritage tomato, olive, herb veloute £24
Angelica and hazelnut cheesecake, thyme, raspberry £8
Rhubarb parfait, dill, liquorice £8
CHEESE (oh yes we did)
Artisan cheese board and biccies £10
So – if I could go back and do it all again, I would absolutely pick the mullet starter, over and over. The combination of that soft fishy block and chewy tentacles and tomato was just heaven. I want it right now, just writing about it. The quail – which Matt had – was also a feast. Like a kind of playground of textures and tastes, which somehow all came together in a herby flourish.
You’ve only got to look at the pictures below to see the quality of the food – my lamb was a kind of ‘lamb three ways’ shenanigans and the meat was amazing, and perfectly cooked, but I did find the combination of the slow cooked lamb with a gravy a bit odd next to the tangy, herby Slipcote cheese pasta roll. It sort of worked, but I ended up eating the meal in three stages, separating out the different aspects.
The seabass and clams thing was sublime. Perhaps fish is a secret love in the kitchen, because Matt was in utter heaven. His eyes glazed over eating the soft gnocchi (Irish you see, anything with potato in…), and the seabass was perfectly cooked, and the melange of flavours and components probably made this dish the star of the whole lunch. And that’s really saying something.
As for dessert – we deliberately opted for unusual, fresh or seasonal options here, rather than the sticky toffee pudding we both eyed up initially, mostly because we wanted to get cheese in too. The rhubarb parfait was the queen here – with a Hestonesque touch of liquorice and some kind of jelly – but the cheesecake was good too. The addition of angelica makes this a fascinating dish – a herb sadly underused in British kitchens these days.
Actually, I should mention that the whole meal was studded with veg and herbs literally straight from the garden. And they really do the kitchen garden thing properly here, not just a box of basil and rosemary on the patio. If you want to see Maggie the gardener talking about this, have a look at her describing the garden HERE.
Finally, we tucked into (and did surprising justice to) a cheese board, which was perfect for two people sharing. Especially if they’re enthusiastic eaters like we are. I want also to highlight the quality of the service we had throughout lunchtime too – staff who clearly understand about the food they’re serving and also who deliver with just as much care. I remember Michel Roux Jr saying once that he watches how chefs handle eggs, because even though they’re just eggs, if they’re not taking care of those, it speaks of a deeper lack of love for food, or something. It’s the sort of the same thing with service for me. If the person talking to me at my table doesn’t understand what’s going on in the kitchen, or how you feel when your G&T is put in front of you, how is the house holding together? But everyone, from door to door in Jeremy’s, cares. And it shows, every step of the way.
Ultimately, as I said earlier, we eat with our eyes, so feast your peepers on Matt’s pictures. Strongly recommend you get up to Jeremy’s soon, particularly during the summer when the gardens will be blazing. I for one have already booked another trip up there to eat with a friend. Go; feast your eyes (and your stomach!)