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Eat My Words: We review the Blossoms Restaurant at Rutland Hall Hotel





Having recently undergone major refurbishment, and under the leadership of a renowned chef, Blossoms restaurant at Rutland Hall Hotel promises great things.

I was invited for a meal there and, having perused the menu in advance, it was an invitation I was only too willing to accept.

A cold, wet and dark Thursday evening is hardly the best time to see the promised “picturesque views overlooking nearby Rutland Water” and it took a while to locate the restaurant in the grounds of the hotel. But, once there, it was warm and welcoming, with blossoms overhanging the entrance hall.

Eat My Words, a review
Eat My Words, a review
The sign at the Blossoms Restaurant
The sign at the Blossoms Restaurant

At the greeting station, a sign flags the busiest times for breakfast and, when we speak to the host about our booking, she asks for our room number.

We are seated in a sumptuous booth with a large, oval marble table from which we could see the kitchen busy with chefs. But we could also see tables set up for the following day’s breakfast. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a restaurant within a hotel, which makes the evening feel somehow a little less special.

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However, the restaurant is decorated tastefully in teals and gold, giving it an opulent feel, and the ladies’ loos are clad in white marble with golden sinks and a golden-framed full-length mirror. (Ladies – even if you don’t need to go, it’s worth a visit just for the hand lotion, which smells fantastic and is definitely going on my Christmas wish list).

The menu at the Blossoms Restaurant
The menu at the Blossoms Restaurant

The refurbishment could have been designed with Instagram photos in mind. The bar features a beautiful tree that seems to grow up into the ceiling and trails blossom down to where bar guests sit. In fact, this area is so popular, a few bar stools wouldn’t go amiss for the people we spot gathering later in the evening to enjoy a nightcap.

I usually choose a restaurant meal before arriving, but the menu offered too many tempting choices and so I took another look over it again, while enjoying a glass of wine.

Eventually I plumped for a starter of salt and pepper calamari with garlic aioli, followed by lamb kofta espetada – a hanging skewer that comes with ‘stealth’ fries (they’re extra crispy) and orzo salad. My husband, Richard, chose sticky sweet chilli cauliflower bites as a starter and slow-cooked Grasmere pork belly, with champ potato, apple compote, glazed carrot, tender stem broccoli and cider jus. He had deliberated over the lamb bhuna masala but I was secretly delighted when he settled on the pork belly, because that had been my second choice.

The garlic aioli is perfect with the calamari, while Richard’s cauliflower looks wonderful and the heat of the chilli is balanced with a good dose of sweetness.

The blossom tree is the focal point of the Blossoms Restaurant
The blossom tree is the focal point of the Blossoms Restaurant

When the mains arrive, my lamb kofta espetada swings dangerously on its skewer and while it looks fabulous for a photo, I quickly remove the kofta from the stick and put the hanging skewer to one side. The lamb is beautifully cooked and spicy but the vibrant green, mint and coriander dip that accompanies it takes away the heat. The orzo salad is laced with plenty of tasty roasted vegetables but I found the stealth fries a little too salty.

Richard’s mains were the star of the show and just a small mouthful of his pork was enough to prove I’d made the wrong choice – the meat melted on my tongue and it was a generous portion.

As we finished, the hotel’s executive head chef Sumit Chakrabarty came out to have a chat and make sure everything was OK. Having worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants with some of the best chefs in the world, he’s keen to mix his expertise in high-end English and French cuisine with family-friendly dishes to cater for every age of guest. A father of two himself, he’s juggling a busy family life with Blossoms but is still keen to develop his skills and come up with dishes that use good local produce.

The pork belly main at the Blossoms Restaurant
The pork belly main at the Blossoms Restaurant
Kerry Coupe with the lamb kofta espetada at the Blossoms Restaurant
Kerry Coupe with the lamb kofta espetada at the Blossoms Restaurant

His Indian heritage is apparent in his menus, and his enthusiasm for the curries leads my husband to wish he’d sampled the lamb bhuna masala after all, despite his choice being absolutely delicious.

Despite being full, we are persuaded to try a dessert - Richard the sticky toffee pudding inspired by Sumit’s time working at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, while I go for Madagascar vanilla roasted pineapple, accompanied by lemon granita, sesame tuile and mango gel. The pineapple is warming, sticky and sweet but the sharpness of the lemon granita balances it out while the tuile, and a few meringue bites add a crunch.

Everything from the decor to the way the dishes are presented and even down to us being given a complimentary glass of prosecco with a strawberry bobbing inside, by way of apology for the drinks taking a little while, shows the restaurant is keen to impress.

Awards at the Blossoms Restaurant
Awards at the Blossoms Restaurant
Cauliflower bites at the Blossoms Restaurant
Cauliflower bites at the Blossoms Restaurant
Salt and pepper calamari starter at the Blossoms Restaurant
Salt and pepper calamari starter at the Blossoms Restaurant
The Madagascar vanilla roasted pineapple dessert at the Blossoms Restaurant
The Madagascar vanilla roasted pineapple dessert at the Blossoms Restaurant
The sticky toffee pudding at Blossoms Restaurant
The sticky toffee pudding at Blossoms Restaurant

Our only regret as we left was that we weren’t staying the night so we could have sampled more of the cocktails.

We would definitely visit again for the food but would probably team it with an overnight stay.

A complimentary glass of prosecco at the Blossoms Restaurant
A complimentary glass of prosecco at the Blossoms Restaurant

In the run-up to Christmas, Rutland Hall Hotel has a variety of events running, including Santa Sundays on December 10 and 17, where families can enjoy a festive roast with Santa delivering a free gift to every child. Blossoms Restaurant is also serving festive three-course lunches and dinners to enjoy with friends and family, and festive afternoon tea.

Out of five:

Food: The pork was the highlight of a fantastic meal *****

Drink: A complimentary glass of prosecco was a nice touch and even my Guinness-drinking husband enjoyed it. The house white also went down well – maybe a little too well! ****

Decor: Instagram-friendly and sumptuous but reminders that you’re in a hotel and not a fine-dining establishment ****

Staff: We received a warm welcome, and the service was good ****

Price: As invited guests our meal was complimentary but the menu was on the pricey side – a great choice for a special occasion though ****



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