Restaurant Gilmore, Strines Farm, Beamhurst, Uttoxeter Restaurant Review

Gustator dines out at Restaurant Gilmore at Strines Farm, Beamhurst, Uttoxeter

The long and impressive drive, the narrow walkway illuminated with low lighting and the splendid farm house - I had seen it all before and it all came back to me on my second visit the other day. In the back of my mind I associated the place with excellence and I wondered whether this had been maintained since my last visit three years before. I need not have worried. If it was good then I can now pronounce it excellent.

The interior maintains its image of a farmhouse and one could be sitting in someone's private sitting room, free of piped 'music' and with just the happy chattering of contented diners as background.

The menu is straightforward and you can see what is on offer (mostly) in English and the price, which is fixed at �35 a head for three courses. I say three courses but after giving your orders a complimentary bowl of River Churnet crayfish bisque is presented which sets off the digestive juices immediately. Later on and before the pudding another small treat is provided - a small glass of rhubarb tea jelly. There is a choice of several types of bread.

I am rather partial to black pudding so was very pleased to choose as my first course a salad with black pudding, ox cheek and pancetta. I have to admit that ox cheek was a new one on me but it was very tender and full of a distinct flavour which I would recognise if ever I have the good fortune to be offered it again. Dijon mustard dressing and some well crisped fried bacon made it the perfect first course. My friend chose for her first course early season asparagus with Hollandaise sauce served on a bed of toast. Other choices were: seared Orkney scallops; grilled chorizo with celeriac roulade and Japanese cress; and apple and mild chilli soup with sesame oil.

We were well looked after by waitress Alice, attentive, efficient and pretty. In fact the whole place is welcoming and homely and still run by Mr and Mrs Gilmore. Mr Gilmore is the chef and prides himself on using local produce wherever possible. Judging by the fare, he is an artist in his profession.

Glasses of very pleasant dry white wine were provided and went well with our main courses. I have often been disappointed with duckling. It can be tough and tasteless but I felt that here it would be all right so did not consider it much of a risk. Of course I was right - the many slim slices of Suffolk duckling breast were indeed tender and that distinctive duck flavour was marvellous. It was accompanied by mashed potatoes and Calvados gravy. I could not fault it. My friend chose Sewyn sea trout, a Welsh delicacy which she considered better than salmon. It was served with mushroom cous cous and white truffle butter sauce. There were other extra items of the day such as tournedos of Staffordshire beef with field mushrooms and roast potatoes (�5 supplement) and poached blade of Staffordshire beef in red wine (also on the luncheon menu of which more anon).

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Apart from a selection of homemade ice-creams and British cheeses my friend eagerly asked for the Restaurant Gilmore's bread and butter pudding with crme Anglaise. Her obvious delight in this when it came prompted her twice to declare that it was the best bread and butter pud she had ever had (she being somewhat of a connoisseur). She insisted that I tried a mouthful and I had to agree in spite of thinking that this particular pudding might be rather boring. It was nothing of the sort. Nevertheless I much enjoyed Valrhona chocolate terrine - a big slab of chocolate terrine with vanilla ice cream and coffee sauce. I forgot to ask the significance of 'Valrhona'! I had been tempted by white chocolate martini - white chocolate ice cream 'and lots of alcohol' or English strawberry mousse with a balsamic garden berry salsa.

We had (�3.50 extra) our own cafetire of freshly brewed marvellous coffee with fudge and homemade chocolate truffles.

The luncheon menu is priced at �18.50 for two courses or �22.50 for three courses (plus coffee). Several of the dinner items are available on this menu including the celebrated bread and butter pudding.

As far as Gilmore's is concerned it has just got better and better.

Restaurant Gilmore, Strine's Farm, Beamhurst, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, ST14 5DZ Tel: 01889 507100

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