Mulberry is the new restaurant at the stunning Bishopstrow House in Wiltshire, part of the successful and desirable Von Essen group of hotels. So, with a top-class name like that behind it, it stands to reason that I was expecting great food and superb service when I visited recently. And I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
The Mulberry restaurant uniquely offers three types of dining experiences from the same kitchen. Diners can indulge in some alfresco platters on the terrace, enjoy the relaxing ambience of the conservatory restaurant, which is a delightful modern addition to the original ancient home, or plunge into the realms of fine dining in the Mulberry itself.
I headed over for dinner with a companion in tow and booked a table for a fine dining meal. The restaurant is wonderfully designed, with warm browns, low lighting and sheer curtains spanning the full height windows overlooking the landscaped gardens. Tables were far enough apart to provide us with a degree of privacy, without making it feel empty.
The menu was divine, and the head chef, Frank Bailey, had provided a tantalising choice that made decision-making a relatively difficult process. The chicken liver and fois gras parfait starter came complete with a hint of tea infused jelly, and was washed down with a fabulous South African Shiraz that was light and refreshing on the palate.
By the time our mains had arrived, we were truly in foodie heaven. My fillet steak, although ever so slightly overdone for my personal taste (and I do stress my personal taste), was tender, and only just surpassed by the flavoursome ox cheek and the crisp bone marrow croquette. Delightful. My companion’s lamb dish was equally well presented, and I’m sure must have tasted divine, but she didn’t stop eating long enough to tell me about it.
Fine dining often gives the impression that the portion sizes are meagre, and perhaps in comparison to your everyday chain restaurant they may well be, but in reality, by the time our desserts had arrived we were already struggling.
The cheese board was a tempation, with it’s selection of Somerset Brie’s, smoked cheddars and other delightful and well sourced treats, but in the end it was the dark chocolate cherry souffle and chocolate sorbet that won us over – even if we did struggle to finish it all.
I can’t pretend that a fine dining meal here is cheap – it isn’t, and our three courses and one bottle of wine arrived at around £150 – but for the uniqueness of the menu and the attentive, pleasant and smooth service, it is definitely worth every penny. We didn’t have either the time, or the stomach space, to sample the alternative all-day-dining menu, but for those of you on a budget, the meals on this menu are far more reasonably priced, and undoubtedly just as splendid.
Mulberry at Bishopstrow House comes highly recommended by the candidtraveller team.