Sage at Castle Donnington Manor

October 4, 2012

Castle Donington Manor

Poor old Castle Donny feels like a bit of a backwater – hidden away behind an airport, a racetrack and associated car parking and light industry.  Once it had a certain Georgian stateliness. Something which lingers on in the Castle Donnington Manor with its plump bow windows and coaching inn respectability.

Part of the Finesse group,  it now has that status of the posh place in a small country town where you go for birthdays or community group dining events.  Once such venues were notorious for Brown Windsor soup ordinariness  but just as most aspects of the British food scene have picked themselves up over the last thirty years, venues such as the Manor’s Sage restaurant now offer really rather good food.

Its gold painted dining room and fancy chandeliers are trying a bit hard for my liking but this isn’t poncey – in fact the staff were extremely friendly and there was a good relaxed atmosphere when me and Gill visited.

Foodwise,  things started a bit slowly – my marinated smoked salmon with creme fraiche and potato salad was all a bit too well-behaved and needed more than few specks of lime dressing to perk it up. Grilled goat’s cheese with roasted beetroot was much better – good ingredients cooked simply and allowed to sing.  Things looked up further with the main courses. Rump of lamb was perfectly cooked – pinkish, moist and with just enough fat remaining to boost the flavours.  It sat on some soft, young, lightly-spiced leeks and excellent grain mustard mash. There was a separate boat with plenty of gutsy red wine gravy too. A duck leg confit was not bad, and it was lifted to very good when eaten with the gorgeous red cabbage accompaniment and a fruity but not over-sweet shallot gravy.

Deserts took another step up.  A finely-made lemon tart came with fresh berries and a positively dazzling basil ice-cream, a dangerous but inspired matching that really worked.   Finally a plum and ginger tarte tatin was also very well done and showed a touch of invention. It was  not too swathed in caramel and hence the fruit and spice flavours came through strongly.

Food presentation is appealing and waiting staff – young, female, friendly and skilled – were a credit to the place. It may not be cutting edge stylistically, but with good solid, British cooking at three courses for £18, what’s not to like?

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2 Responses to “Sage at Castle Donnington Manor”

  1. […] Poor old Castle Donny feels like a bit of a backwater – hidden away behind an airport, a racetrack and associated car parking and light industry.  Once it had a certain Georgian stateliness. …  […]

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  2. […] Poor old Castle Donny feels like a bit of a backwater – hidden away behind an airport, a racetrack and associated car parking and light industry.  Once it had a certain Georgian stateliness.  […]

    Like

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