Head Chef Nathan, shares inspiration behind our new autumn menu, what he loves most about the season and why the new dishes on the à la carte menu are a celebration of the harvest season.
‘Autumn is all about a big pot of damsons stewing down, the fragrance of morels or chanterelle mushrooms being cooked, or a lovely aged saddle of venison. It is a warming time of year, which lends to my style of cookery, we have a light touch with what we put on the plate but it is hearty.
It is the best time of year for a chef because you still have the end of the tomatoes, beans, courgettes and cucumbers, then you have the stone fruits coming through: the damsons, plums and orchard fruits like apples and blackberries.
Seasonal ingredients at their peak
At the moment we are using the seasonal fruits in our desserts, like our market garden damson & apple mille feuille, but in terms of our savoury dishes, we tend to use more fruits with game: whether it is pickling plums or freezing whole raspberries and smashing them up to finish a sauce to give a little piquant, which game needs because it is such a rich meat.
Inspired by the finest produce
We want to celebrate that we have the largest organic red deer herd in the country. Venison is notoriously an autumnal and wintery dish; but we use it in our menu as an all year-round ingredient. We are constantly challenging ourselves.
In July and August, it is still a rich dish, with duck liver and mushroom duxelles wrapped in a crepe but partnered with broad beans and young vegetables. The side garnish changes throughout the seasons, we have now introduced venison wellington with autumnal mushrooms with onions. It will probably never come off the menu as it is so popular. As well as being incredibly reflective of who we are as a pub, the dish may look minimalistic but the actual process of creating it is complex.
Sourcing unique ingredients
Our Autumn truffle risotto is paired with Sheep’s Rustler cheese from the White Lake Creamery, award-winning artisan cheesemakers in Somerset. This ewe’s milk is pasteurised and vegetarian, so it is a very versatile ingredient, with a delicious nutty, creamy richness that works well with the celeriac, truffles and the flavour profile of the dish.
New Bar menu
We are excited to launch our new bar menu seven days a week. It’s creation was largely influenced by listening to our regulars, who asked us to bring back dishes like the cheese soufflé, which people love, as well as the steak: you can’t come to a pub without a great steak.’