The Lord Palmerston in Dartmouth Park is the latest pub in the 15-strong Geronimo Inns group to have a complete makeover, reopening recently with a smarter, lighter decor, more comfortable
furnishings and, in keeping with its higher gastronomic ambition, a French chef, Sophie Chaleil, who learned her craft in Lyon.
Throughout April (including Easter), Sophie will be offering Square Meal readers a special menu matching typical dishes from her repertoire of gutsy, rustic but elegantly presented dishes
with three different styles of Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des Moines Champagne.
What’s unusual about this range of Champagne – there’s a Brut, a Blanc de Blancs and a Brut Rosé – is that they are made in the crémant style. As a result of this and longer ageing, the three
Champagnes are softer than most, with a creamier texture and very fine mousse that makes them ideal food wines.
‘Because they are not so sparkling and have a softer texture, they are easier to match with food,’ says Sophie. ‘We thought the Brut went particularly well with our foie gras and chicken liver
parfait, while the more intense, crisper citrus flavours of the Blanc de Blancs are a good match for the quite powerful, tarragon-scented fish dish. The rosé is a brilliant colour and the ripe
berry fruit makes it seem sweeter, which is why I’ve put it with the triple rhubarb dessert. It’s a very feminine dish and I think women will particularly go for this combination.’