Lakeview Manor, Dunkeswell, Devon - Restaurant Review
Julian Rees reviews the restaurant at Lakeview Manor in Dunkeswell, Devon.<br/><br/><br/><br/>As we drove slowly along the spotlit driveway it was clear from the manicured lawns and well-tended flowerbeds that quality was high on the agenda at Lakeview Manor.
As we drove slowly along the spotlit driveway it was clear from the manicured lawns and well-tended flowerbeds that quality was high on the agenda at Lakeview Manor. This was just the start of our descent into fulsome relaxation, a feeling that comes only when all one’s desires are truly exceeded.
We were warmly greeted by Tony George, host for the night, who gave us an insight into the hotel’s history. The original building dates back to 1201, and although now much extended, the elm beams of the original one-up one-down still remain, once the humble abode of a serf who daily supplied the fish to Dunkeswell Abbey. Did you know that back then the King owned all the oak, and one had to make do with lowly elm for shelter? In more recent times, and since the monarchy has relinquished all such timber-based monopolies, much of the inside of the hotel had been finely clothed in local-craftsman-built oak panelling, giving it a warm and cosseting feel. Quality is evident in all the fixtures and fittings and reflects a clear strategy of reinvestment and maintenance of high standards.
Neal Abercrombie was chef on the night we visited, and being keen on country sports his ecommendation was the medley of game from the night’s specials board – guinea fowl, smoked quail and squab pigeon with juniper infused cabbage and a game jus. Not being averse to the occasional gin and tonic, I was intrigued by the juniper infusion and took the bait. The combination was inspired and all three delicate game flavours were clear to the palate.
Having sampled pigeon to start, my partner chose pork tenderloin with garlic wild mushroom sauce – fungi fantastic!
We followed with desserts of pear frangipane tart and a simple cr�me br�l�e leaving us both replete and contemplating the comfort of the lounge bar in search of a digestif to finish the evening off.
Being a relative newcomer to this part of the world, Neal’s predilection for a peaceful life was tempered only by the freedom to experiment and the quest for constant improvement in the kitchen: a return visit is already planned as a brand new menu is on the way in the next few weeks.
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Meat and game are all sourced from Honiton based Complete Meats.
The hotel is set within 45 acres of parkland, and the main lake, the one in the view, covers two acres and is well stocked with carp, tench, rudd and perch for the residents’ (and club members’) fishing pleasure. You may find yourself dining with a variety of international business people from the nearby Dunkeswell Business Park, or a family taking a weekend break in the peaceful East Devon countryside. You may find yourself singing carols for the benefit of church funds in the area, or you may even decide to tie the knot there. Whichever you choose, you’ll be sure to be very welcome and very well looked after.
Lakeview Manor, Dunkeswell,Honiton, EX14 4SH01404 891287
Proprietor: Martin HydeManagers: Richard Pigott and Julie WhitfieldHead Chef: Neal Abercrombie
Prices: Starters from �3.95, maincourses from �8.95, desserts from �4.50Wine: House wines from �12.50
Opening times: Open to non residents for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
Sample Menu(Also available are Light and Grill menus and daily specials)
StartersRoast pigeon breast with pear salad and honey dressingGrilled sardines, olive and tapenade with a balsamic reduction
Main coursesPork tenderloin, potato and thyme galette and garlic wild mushroom sauceChar-grilled sirloin steak, home-cooked chips with blue cheese and port sauce
DessertsPear frangipane tart and white chocolate ice creamDark chocolate brownie with honeycomb ice cream