The Curzon Arms

August 17, 2012

I’ve written positively here before about Sunday lunch at the Curzon Arms in Woodhouse Eaves. Not every report I’ve heard since has been so enthusiastic I but am happy to give them another shout out after a splendid lunch from their regular menu today.  A big thick hunk of sage-roasted pork loin was tender and flavoursome and served on a mountain of what was described as bubble and squeak, though to me it was just (very good) mash and veg. There was also lovely crispy kale giving a salty, iron rich tang like seaweed in oriental cooking and a great cider gravy.  Gill’s herb roasted chicken breast was similarly tender, tasty and generous. It came with roasted new potatoes and chickory which may have the dish a bit monochrome but who really cares – the flavours were excellent.

Desserts were simple but shared the same virtues –  I had three balls of very superior ice-cream, Gill had strawberry and lavender Eton mess which had palyed it too safe on the lavender front but was delicious. At £12.50 for two courses we walked out think this was excellent value. Service from a young team in jeans and t-shirts was friendly and efficient.

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The Curzon Arms

August 29, 2011

Just a very quick recommendation for Sunday lunch here. After a bracing six mile walk up and down Beacon Hill yesterday, we ended up back in Woodhouse Eaves and at the Curzon Arms.

It’s a smartened up community pub serving a rather smart community – hence soft sofas inside and big parasols providing a nice alfresco dining area too. It could be horrid, but somehow avoids gastropub smugness and just feels all rather nice and civilised. We ate outside on a warm day and first off enjoyed an excellent pint of Cornish Doom Bar ale, barely touching the sides after that long walk. We then got stuck in to some  excellent beef (sirloin, 28 day matured, plenty of it), roast pork loin with sage and onion stuffing, and a very tasty duck and apricot pie.  Veg were excellent – crisp roasties, cauliflower cheese, purple sprouting broccoli and shredded cabbage that was beuatifully crunchy. The gravy seemed a little undepowered and the Yorkshire pudding wasn’t perfect but neither detracted from a superior  lunch.  Deserts too were enjoyable – a smooth mint chocolate pot with crushed amaretti,  mixed fruit  Eton mess, sticky toffee pudding and cherry frangipane were all well made.

Not that cheap at £14.50 for two courses but the food is good, the service friendly and willing and the surroundings charming. The owners are reproducing the template at The Windmill in Wymeswold, which I think is due to open any day now and should be worth checking out if you are in the area.

The Woodhouse

November 19, 2010

It’s six years since Paul Leary decided he’d had enough of teaching catering students and felt the need to get his name over the door and get back behind the stove full-time. I think I gave The Woodhouse one of its first reviews  in Metro and it’s good to report that this Woodhouse Eaves restaurant has continued to thrive and currently exudes confidence both front of house and on the plate.

Leary made his name at Louis Scott’s in Newton Linford and later gained a wider fan club running Fusions at the Walkers Stadium. He gave that up after the Mandaric regime was established and has since focused on consolidating his fine dining offer here in prosperous Charnwood Forest.  He has also consolidated his reputation as a teacher, with one of his young proteges recently awarded a Gordon Ramsey Scholarship.

The atmosphere and decor of the place pulls off a nice balance of being smart but not stuffy.   It feels a fairly special night out, but you’re also put at your ease.  There is a ten-course tasting menu, though  we ordered a la carte (£35 three courses) and started off with an amuse of a really super espresso cup of turnip and white onion soup with a little garlic foam – smooth and tasty it did its job of waking up the taste buds.     

Our starters were a salmon plate  including  smoked slamon, blinis and a  mi-cuit slice that had real depth – a long way  from some of disappointing bland stuff I’ve had in recent years.  My Woodhouse Salad was a fantastic assemblage of  a gamey pigeon breast, duck egg with nicely gooey yolk, strips of home cured duck  that were dried out a bit like biltong and which  released tremedous flavour once you started to chew and well-dressed leaves. There was a touch of sharpeness from pickled apple and pear, while  a few  tempura hazelnuts adding sweetness and crunch. 

For main I had my first venison of the season and it was excellent.  Great flavour and the plate looked wonderful, the dark red of the  meat matched with red cabbage, purple potato and several plump blackberries.  Tender slices of  rare loin contrasted in texure with a block of slow-cooked shoulder on an onion marmalade,  both with excellent bits of cooking.   The jus was intense and there was well-judged  smear of licqourice.   I only got a quick taste of my friend’s beef but it too was excellent, coming with ox cheek fondant, bone marrow, fondant potato andautumn greens and a watercress puree. 

There was a pre-desert of a smooth, rich and sloppy chocolate mousse with pistachio biscuit  and I tucked into a desert of an elegantly constructed chocolate cyclinder, encasing  a white chocolate and passionfruit mousse on a light sponge base.  The mousse  seemed  somewhat unbalanced – I think it would have been improved with a bit less chocolate to make it lighter and enable the fruit flavour to come through more strongly. Very pleasant nonetheless.

I thoroughly enjoyed the food here – there’s high-quality ingredients, rigour and skill in the kitchen and an approach which is contemporary but not flash or showy.  

One more thing , apologies but I didn’t have a camera I didn’t have a camera  and on the basis that every post is enhanced by a picture,   the one below is shamelessly ripped off the website  – if that ‘s problem, somebody please tell me.

The Woodhouse

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