Gidleigh Park 333

Gidleigh Park, Chagford , North Tawton, TQ13 8HH

6 reviews

95 Modern European Devon

  • Gidleigh Park Hotel restaurant Tawnton Devon
  • Gidleigh Park Hotel restaurant Tawnton Devon
  • Gidleigh Park Hotel restaurant Tawnton Devon
  • Gidleigh Park
  • Gidleigh Park Hotel restaurant Tawnton Devon
  • Gidleigh Park Christmas 2007 011
  • Gidleigh Park Hotel restaurant Tawnton Devon
  • Gidleigh Park Hotel restaurant Tawnton Devon

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SquareMeal Review of Gidleigh Park

This blissful Devon hideaway bewitches everyone with its unashamed Englishness, aristocratic beauty, luxurious comforts and enchanting natural assets (including a stream meandering through the front garden) – although the kitchen has entered a new era. Since taking over from the redoubtable Michael Caines, we’re pleased to report that Michael Wignall (ex-The Latymer at Pennyhill Park) has hit his stride, delivering food with trademark precision, finesse and panache: “up there with the best dining experiences we've had this year”, notes one satisfied customer. Wignall is a master of intricately detailed food, and his thought-provoking menus tell their own story: a “startling mix” of sea bass with finger lime, a nori cracker, yuzu and oyster; “superbly juicy” hare with just the right amount of chocolate crumbs, artichoke cream, ceps and a hint of pine; “exemplary” gamey venison with “brilliant” sweetbreads, white truffles, girolles, peppery baby watercress and a fermented garlic mix. To finish, the amusingly constructed ‘blackberry ice ball’ is guaranteed to raise a smile. In short, eating here is a sublime culinary experience, enhanced by glorious treasures from a voluminous, blockbuster wine list. 

Special offers

Autumn champagne lunch £49 per person

This offer is available from September 14, 2017 until November 23, 2017, subject to availability as displayed in the booking interface. Not available in conjunction with other offers. Offer excludes service.

From: 14 September 2017

To: 23 November 2017

Max: 8

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8.8

Food & Drink: 9.3

Service: 8.2

Atmosphere: 8.2

Value: 7.7

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 24 October 2016

We had experienced Michael Wignall’s cooking at Pennyhill Park as well as that of Michael Caines here, both two stars but rather different styles. Our impression of the former had been somewhat coloured by the unfortunate dining room and the substandard front of house staff, which we felt let the chef down, especially when the majority of the dishes in our ten-course tasting menu had been of an outstanding finesse, expertly balancing tastes and textures and beautifully presented on the plate, and employing ingredients, some familiar and some not, in adventurous combinations, so it was that we approached this dinner in these luxurious surroundings with great expectations. It was immediately clear that the staff were a cut above those at Pennyhill Park and, in a welcome break from most restaurants, it was possible to have a wine flight with 75ml glasses to accompany the tasting menu. There were no nibbles, but the amuses-bouche set the standard for the rest of the meal with a collective of treats comprising trout roe, cubes of mild cucumber and salmon, and then three crackers, all different, each one supporting a selection of delicate individual yet texturally interactive elements, all beautifully presented and carefully balanced. The 10 course Taste of Gidleigh menu looked on the face of it to be unbalanced, but as the meal went on it was clear that, as with everything that evening, a great deal of thought, more than a sprinkling of skill and a splash of imagination had produced a masterpiece of top-class cuisine. A startling mix of sea bass with finger lime, a nori cracker, a perfect amount of yuzu and gentle oyster was followed by some superbly juicy hare with just the right quantity of chocolate crumbs to produce the perfect match and accompanied by parsley, artichoke cream, lightly cooked parsnip, another notable taste element, ceps and a hint of pine. Venison before trout, with venison main on the menu? The puzzle was solved with appearance of a slice of home-cured beautifully tasty and tender venison “bresaola” as an integral part of a real picture of a dish with heritage carrots, baked and smoked, a background of trendy woodruff, beetroot, wonderful organic goat’s curd, carrot cream and parsley. One could almost be persuaded to become a vegetarian with a stand-out dish like this, and our judgement of the meat was that, after all, you wouldn’t find it that odd to have a slice of ham early on in the meal with pork as the main if it played a proper role in the composition of the starter. Back to fish - cured sea trout, perfectly lightly cooked and just marvellous with a surprising roast celery and beetroot cream and yet intensified with glazed octopus and an historic chicken and squid broth. Once again all the levels of taste and the textures were impeccably balanced. Cornish mussels served in and counterpointed with mild braised onion and elevated by coal powder with cabbage and especially a terrific sardine dressing. There was a choice of mains. It had to be the venison for me, and my wife chose the eternal favourite, turbot. We were now expecting perfection from every dish, and chef did not disappoint. The admirable fish was supported by some fresh, barely cooked, taste of the sea Mylor prawns along with Gidleigh Park Jerusalem artichokes, an umami boost from shiitake mushrooms in a seaweed tea, as well as English truffles and local greens. The venison was exemplary, an authentic taste of the game season with a special extra of brilliant sweetbreads and white truffles, girolles, baby watercress adding a touch of pepperiness and a savoury parsley and fermented garlic mix. Another competitor for dish of the evening! Before we tackled the desserts there was a semi-cheese course of variations of pumpkin with its seeds, Colston Basset mousse, and a striking pear and wet walnut duo. The look of the first dessert brought a smile to our faces the way it was amusingly put together on the plate - a blackberry ice ball, a super

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 24 October 2016

We had experienced Michael Wignall’s cooking at Pennyhill Park as well as that of Michael Caines here, both two stars but rather different styles. Our impression of the former had been somewhat coloured by the unfortunate dining room and the substandard front of house staff, which we felt let the chef down, especially when the majority of the dishes in our ten-course tasting menu had been of an outstanding finesse, expertly balancing tastes and textures and beautifully presented on the plate, and employing ingredients, some familiar and some not, in adventurous combinations, so it was that we approached this dinner in these luxurious surroundings with great expectations. It was immediately clear that the staff were a cut above those at Pennyhill Park and, in a welcome break from most restaurants, it was possible to have a wine flight with 75ml glasses to accompany the tasting menu. There were no nibbles, but the amuses-bouche set the standard for the rest of the meal with a collective of treats comprising trout roe, cubes of mild cucumber and salmon, and then three crackers, all different, each one supporting a selection of delicate individual yet texturally interactive elements, all beautifully presented and carefully balanced. The 10 course Taste of Gidleigh menu looked on the face of it to be unbalanced, but as the meal went on it was clear that, as with everything that evening, a great deal of thought, more than a sprinkling of skill and a splash of imagination had produced a masterpiece of top-class cuisine. A startling mix of sea bass with finger lime, a nori cracker, a perfect amount of yuzu and gentle oyster was followed by some superbly juicy hare with just the right quantity of chocolate crumbs to produce the perfect match and accompanied by parsley, artichoke cream, lightly cooked parsnip, another notable taste element, ceps and a hint of pine. Venison before trout, with venison main on the menu? The puzzle was solved with appearance of a slice of home-cured beautifully tasty and tender venison “bresaola” as an integral part of a real picture of a dish with heritage carrots, baked and smoked, a background of trendy woodruff, beetroot, wonderful organic goat’s curd, carrot cream and parsley. One could almost be persuaded to become a vegetarian with a stand-out dish like this, and our judgement of the meat was that, after all, you wouldn’t find it that odd to have a slice of ham early on in the meal with pork as the main if it played a proper role in the composition of the starter. Back to fish - cured sea trout, perfectly lightly cooked and just marvellous with a surprising roast celery and beetroot cream and yet intensified with glazed octopus and an historic chicken and squid broth. Once again all the levels of taste and the textures were impeccably balanced. Cornish mussels served in and counterpointed with mild braised onion and elevated by coal powder with cabbage and especially a terrific sardine dressing. There was a choice of mains. It had to be the venison for me, and my wife chose the eternal favourite, turbot. We were now expecting perfection from every dish, and chef did not disappoint. The admirable fish was supported by some fresh, barely cooked, taste of the sea Mylor prawns along with Gidleigh Park Jerusalem artichokes, an umami boost from shiitake mushrooms in a seaweed tea, as well as English truffles and local greens. The venison was exemplary, an authentic taste of the game season with a special extra of brilliant sweetbreads and white truffles, girolles, baby watercress adding a touch of pepperiness and a savoury parsley and fermented garlic mix. Another competitor for dish of the evening! Before we tackled the desserts there was a semi-cheese course of variations of pumpkin with its seeds, Colston Basset mousse, and a striking pear and wet walnut duo. The look of the first dessert brought a smile to our faces the way it was amusingly put together on the plate - a blackberry ice ball, a superlative buttermilk rod, torched Gidleigh Park sweetcorn kernels, blackberries and blackberry panna cotta, and we were still smiling after devouring it. Next we had a pistachio micro-sponge with a lemon and bergamot set cream, the taste of which grew on the palate and fused with the liquorice ice cream. Finally, another runner in the top dish stakes - a bitter chocolate bomb filled with praliné parfait, some frozen yoghurt and caramel. Simple sounding, but at this level not easily achieved. We reckoned that this was well up with any of the best dining experiences we’ve had this year, and Gidleigh Park with Michael Wignall in the kitchen must now rank alongside any of the three-star venues. Chef was still in the kitchen right to the end of service, yet another example of the dedication a top chef should have.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 15 January 2016

We've been fortunate to stay at Gidleigh quite a few times, and have always found it to be most welcoming and relaxing. Long time fans of Michael Caines cooking, we have seen dishes develop over the last 18 or so years. The food is top quality, whether you have a full dinner, a light lunch, or tea and home made biscuits. Just to focus on dinner, the canapes served with drinks are tiny mouthfuls of deliciousness, every one perfect e.g. goats cheese mousse with crisp sharp apple and toasted hazelnuts. The bread basket is consistently excellent, and something we look forward to, the crust deliciously crunchy, the crumb light and fluffy. There's usually a delicate cup of richly flavoured soup as amuse bouche, very welcome when it's cold and wet outside. My favourite starter has to be the tartlet of quail with quails eggs and onion confit, a luscious assembly of fine pastry, soft cooked quail eggs, savoury crispy skin quail and deeply flavoured truffle sauce. Other stand out dishes include scallops with roasted cauliflower, sea bass with bouillabaisse sauce, and venison with chestnut puree, roasted vegetables and jasmine raisins, but everything showcases complex flavour combinations and beautiful presentation with purees, dabs of sauce and micro herbs. The cheese trolley features local and seasonal cheeses, with more home made breads. The desserts such as prune and armagnac souffle, or chocolate orange with orange sorbet are always fab. The petit fours are also pretty and perfect, often featuring a mini creme brulee, macarons and chocolates. Can you eat like this every day? No! We can manage canapes, amuse bouche, starter and main course, and then maybe cheese, or dessert, or petit fours. This time we were there over Christmas, and it was a pleasure to see Mr Caines in his whites with Christmas antlers on out and about chatting to guests, one of his last service sessions before he goes. He is moving on and there was a sort of end-of-term feeling to the place with several new young staff who seemed a bit inexperienced, but we will always look forward to going back to Gidleigh.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 23 March 2015

Classic French cuisine can be too traditional and consequently somewhat passé. If it is tweaked to give it a modern edge, it can be outstanding and this is precisely what Michael Caines has achieved at Gidleigh Park. The hotel has a sense of luxury about it, but we were unable to commence the evening by luxuriating in the surroundings as we were first ignored and then left to ourselves for some time once we had been ushered into the lounge. Even if this was the result of our arriving just as a large party was leaving, it was less than the welcome expected in this kind of establishment. Eventually things got properly underway, and we were allowed to peruse the menu and marvel over the voluminous wine list. Perhaps the stock of canapés had been devoured by the large party, but we did not see any. The signature tasting menu with its emphasis on West Country ingredients was the obvious choice for us, along with the wine flight, which on request was detailed for us, our feeling being that sometimes it can be better value to select one's own. However, it was clear that the wines to accompany the menu were definitely up to the mark. There were no amuse-bouches as such, and the first course of scallop with celeriac purée and a soy and truffle vinaigrette was distinguished by a disc of celeriac strong enough to overcome the delicate shellfish, and the truffle element was barely noticeable. Unsurprisingly we hoped this was not a foretaste of the rest of the meal. Happily the foie gras terrine and Madeira jelly that followed were superb and the green bean salad and fried bread gave the extra bonus of texture and colour. The upward curve continued with excellent slow-cooked salted cod, crab and samphire salad, lemon purée and a touch of chorizo. Tastes and textures were again to the fore along with pleasurable aromas in the next lovely dish, tender duckling with a crunchy five spice coating, blanched cabbage with a garlic purée, smoked bacon and baby turnip. Next came some beef - good fillet and outstanding cheek matched with a heavenly shallot and horseradish confit, all bathing in a perfect red wine sauce. We moved on to a very good selection of local cheeses, although the selection of biscuits left something to be desired. Apple done three ways was the first dessert, a mousse topped with a jelly, sorbet and a vanilla foam, which very much needed to be tasted with the apple; this was just the right thing to cleanse the palate and set us up for the final course, a wicked chocolate orange confit mousse with orange sorbet which was pleasantly redolent of orange peel. In the end, then, a good, sophisticated example of the skill of the chef (Michael Caines was in the kitchen), which left us very satisfied. It was a pity, though, that the level of service was not the equal of the food. We found it hesitant and slightly standoffish, at least to begin with, and the young wine waiter seemed only properly at home with the French wines he served. Presumably chef's new enterprise in Lympstone will see these downsides eliminated.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

gmbklm gold reviewer 01 February 2010

We stayed early 2009, pre recent ownership change. We know the restaurant is very well regarded, but for our taste, although good, we thought the food was often very over complicated and over powering without good reason, sometimes completely masking the taste of the underlying meat or fish – also, a bit too much each evening after several nights in the hotel. The restaurant atmospghere was very formal, which I guess is inevitable with a high end Michelin stars place in the provinces, with lots of older and “special occasion diners”. At least it made the restaurant quiet, with few children with families. However, I'm not so keen on the formality when away from work. I like to walk, relax, chill etc – but still get really good food and service – without the need for a jacket or tie, which I wear every other day. Gidleigh has three dining rooms next to each other – two very nice, one very bland. Over several nights, we noticed that restaurant service and seating seemed to be “managed” according to whether you were some sort of regular or perhaps a local “celeb” – recognising the Z list has never been a strength. Other guests were allocated the 3rd dining room, an oddly shaped and very bland room compared to the other 2. If you ask, they’ll move you – so you must ask / insist. However, this is not an ideal impression when staying in such an expensive hotel. At circa £800 / night inclusive, everyone should feel like a celeb or returning regular !? Overall, probably the best country hotel restaurants we’ve eaten in outside London, and certainly the best we've come across in the south west; but at a price. However, you may not be that keen on the formality, or the very well executed but (in my view) over complex Michael Caines food.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Tone the drone 09 November 2009

It comes as no surprise to find the food and service are as good now as they always have been. The change in ownership doesn't seem to have changed much apart from the loss of some of the warm and friendly local staff. The hotel has had a face lift which, I am assured, was much needed. I didn't see the bedrooms but my wife did and with few exceptions thought they appeared well decorated and comfortable. I'm told the previous owner, a dedicated wine buff, still lives nearby. Michael Caines commutes daily between Chagford and his other enterprise in Exeter and has managed to train a team of excellent chefs so his star rating is no doubt secure. Unless you are there with a large party of your own the atmosphere can be rather funereal. I also found that service erratic. They have 2 or three dining areas and they seem to insist on serving room by room so if you unlucky you can be forced to wait quite some time between courses.

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Special offers

Autumn champagne lunch £49 per person

From: 14 September 2017

To: 23 November 2017

Max: 8