Situated in stunning Constable Country, the family-owned Stoke by Nayland Hotel and luxury lodges offer the perfect retreat at any time of the week. Surrounded by picturesque vistas of an award-winning golf resort, and befi tting from a magnificent spa, the venue oozes indulgence. Luckily, you don’t have to be a hotel guest or spa member to eat in the hotel’s two-AA-rosette-awarded Lakes Restaurant.
We visited at the end of summer, beginning the evening with an al fresco drink before moving inside to our table and a basket of delicious homemade breads. Award-winning executive head chef Alan Paton is renowned for his creative, flavourful and beautifully presented food, which is served by wonderfully attentive and professional staff. We started with the trio of beetroot, which was served with barbecued turnip, honey radish and horseradish purée, beetroot mousse, saffron onions, Chantenay carrots and dried olives, and the seared quail breast, accompanied by a poached quail leg, tarragon breadcrumb, red chicory and wild mushroom. This I followed with hake fillet atop chorizo and saffron potato salad which was well-matched with charred vegetables, samphire and basil sugar crisp. Meanwhile, my partner enjoyed a delightful cherry tomato and basil ragu with a brioche crumb, served with caulifl ower pakora, charred leeks and roast onion. We finished with a light masala chai yoghurt ice cream topped with strawberries, roasted pistachios, sunfl ower seeds and white chocolate, and an exquisite duo of chocolate cremeux enhanced by blueberry mousse.