NH Needham House is a four-star boutique hotel nestled in the countryside in Little Wymondley, on the outskirts of Hitchin. This off-the-beaten-track hotel may just be home to Hertfordshire’s best-kept culinary secret, the SG4 Brasserie.
We found the restaurant to be charming and the staff welcoming and friendly on our first visit to the brasserie. It was soon evident that the restaurant’s two AA rosettes are fully deserved: our experience was sensational. From the light, spacious and modern dining area, you can gaze directly into the kitchen, where executive chef Ivor Morgan and his team of eight chefs work away, seemingly effortlessly.
Simplicity is the key in the menu, which is designed to take advantage of produce that is as seasonal and local as possible, and each dish is a work of art.
After being treated to a selection of homemade bread and flavoured butters, I started with beetroot tartare with glazed goat’s cheese. The sweetness of the beetroot, combined with an intense Port dressing, beautifully complemented the cheese’s creamy texture. My dining partner chose a special of duck terrine, which showcased just how creative the team can be. A sprinkling of sea salt brought out the richness of the duck and this was offset by crunchy granola, served amid a colourful mix of vegetables. For my main course I sampled the beef fillet. It arrived perfectly medium-rare and was accompanied by a delightful rabbit mousse pithivier, king oyster mushroom, heritage carrots and kale. The shallot purée and bordelaise sauce enhanced every flavour on the plate. My partner opted for Dingley Dell pork tenderloin. The slow-cooked, succulent pork belly arrived with stunning black pudding beignet, turnips and apple jus, and was utterly delicious. For dessert, we enjoyed a delightfully smooth and creamy vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb and vanilla sorbet, milk crumb and orange and poppy seed tuile. The chocolate and hazelnut mille-fuille was also a delight. A milk jelly, salted caramel ice cream and praline tuile ensured a pleasing variety of textures and flavours to round off the meal. SG4 Brasserie at Needham House is open for lunch and dinner every day, and the hotel bar offers a menu of lighter bites alongside the à la carte, while afternoon tea is served daily from 2.30pm until 5pm. Understandably, Needham House is a popular venue, and as such booking is advised, particularly at weekends.