We love this great city, but there are times when the countryside calls and when it does we head for Brockencote Hall in Worcestershire for a bit of luxury. Since the last time we visited, there’s been a change of guard.
Former sous chef, Tim Jenkins has stepped up to the plate and taken on the head chef role. Tim’s sticking to the same ethos of using brilliant produce, local where possible, treating it carefully and respectfully. Lots of produce is grown in the hotel’s grounds – there’s even a beehive, so honey is made on site. Former head chef Adam Brown was obsessive about this ethos and the food was incredible, so we were hoping for more of the same.
Brockencote sings when the sun shines and we visited in 30-degree heat. The terrace was dreamy with the countryside views we’d been craving – even the odd sheep. A glass of Champagne in the sun set the tone nicely served with some delicious little morsels. Pork balls with apple sauce were super and much more refined than my description!
The dining room was sunny and classic with crisp white tablecloths and staff standing to attention. We shunned the tasting menu – it was Monday lunchtime after all – and opted for the simpler Market Menu. While it sounded no nonsense we suspect it required immense effort and high skill in the kitchen because every dish not only looked beautiful, but tasted incredible. Standards were as high as we’d experienced at Brockencote.
Too many great dishes to mention, but the highlights were a starter of charred mackerel with red pepper, pickled cucumber and garden radish, another starter of watercress veloute with bacon and almonds and a main course of braised blade of beef with truffle mash and port jus which was rich and deep. The desserts were all a feast for the eyes as well as the belly and everything we ate was pretty much faultless.
As we enjoyed coffee and petit fours on the terrace we contemplated any negatives and the only thing we could come up with was that we felt a bit of déjà vu about the menu. While elements of the dishes have changed, they remain very similar in essence to a year or so ago. There may be an element of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ going on and it sure ain’t broke, so we’re being finickity. It’s a joy.