Washingborough Hall Hotel
We visited on a balmy early summer's evening, which is the perfect time to enjoy Washingborough's secluded gardens. I felt instantly at home in this family-run hotel, and whilst we perused the menu, we enjoyed amuses-bouche of salmon and cod fishcakes - a fantastic precursor to what was in store.
To begin, the soup of the day was an unusual duo of sweet potato and leek, which offered a tasty complement of flavours. The flaked trout and blueberries on a bed of salad were equally tempting, and just as diverse a mix of flavours.
When it was time for the main courses, the chef's fish of the day (whole gilthead bream on the night we visited) was lovely. Accompanied by a coconut and chilli sauce with roasted potatoes stuffed with pancetta and basil the dish had an engaging piquancy that kept my tastebuds entertained with every mouthful. My companion settled on the wonderfully rich roasted wood pigeon breast in cider with apple and shallots. Although the absolute opposite of my dish in style and flavours, it was every bit the equal in quality.
The people behind the excellent creations at Washingborough Hall are rightly proud of their local sourcing, and with the abundance of quality produce on their doorstep they have no real need to go further afield. This fact is perfectly supported by the fine Lincolnshire cheeses the menu offered, along with some tempting puddings. Two rather excellent coffees rounded off what had been one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had in a long time.