So, the other half is 50 and I don’t know who is more alarmed. It’s the new 40, they say. And life begins, they add. Poppycock. It’s solidly half-a-century. Middle-aged. Serious. Mature. And while the birthday boy shows no sign of a mid-life crisis, I’m Googling ‘shiny crimson convertibles’. Midweek celebratory shenanigans were called for and Brockencote Hall stepped up.
A glass of Ruinart in the conservatory perked us up even if the room temperature was hotter than the sun. Menopausal? Never. Nibbles of cream cheese grugere and miniature salmon and dill tarts were just what the doctor ordered.
The dining room was more temperate than the conservatory and while the menu was small and succinct it was pleasing – unless you’re vegetarian. Then you’d be forgiven for being a bit underwhelmed. Surprising given the trend for a meat-free or at least a flexitarian lifestyle. ‘Could do better’ would be on the report card.
An amuse bouche of leek and potato velouté with little puffed up potato bits was really delicious followed by rich dressed crab with tangy apple, chive and celeriac which was a perfectly balanced triumph. Slow braised blade of beef was melt-in-the-mouth tender with a rich jus that made our day. The smoothest mash and Roscoff onions (are there any other sort these days?) finished off the dish so beautifully we almost forgot about the big Five-O.
Dark chocolate delice which we’ve eaten approximately eight times before never ever disappoints. Rich, unctuous, not too sweet and indulgently chocolatey. What is not to love? A pot of peppermint tea and petit fours set us on our merry way home. Fifty might not be so bad after all…