Since departing Gidleigh Park in 2015, Michael Caines has reinvented himself as patron chef at this most ambitious of projects. Welcome to Lympstone Manor – a grand Georgian pile set seductively in 28 acres of landscaped grounds, with vineyards sloping down to the Exe estuary in Devon. The restaurant itself comprises three light and airy dining rooms, each looking towards the estuary and individually embellished with modern artworks.
As ever, Caines’ food is defined by seasonal supplies of West Country produce, and in terms of ambition, execution and technical complexity, he is certainly cooking at the level that previously won him two Michelin stars: braised Brixham turbot might appear with wild mushrooms, spinach and truffle butter sauce, while Cornish duckling is partnered with chicory braised in orange, anise and orange-scented jus. Elsewhere, a deliciously guinea fowl drizzled with a lemon thyme sauce and served with fondant potato and summer vegetables is as good as it gets, while a lemon polenta cake with tangy lemon curd, tart lemon sorbet and an exquisitely light vanilla foam is an exercise in culinary harmony, which rivals the much loved hot pistachio soufflé.
You can plump for the à la carte but, if it’s a one-off visit, we suggest diving into the delights of the ‘signature’ menu. Either way, expect “exquisite dining” and a Michelin-starred “assault on the senses” enhanced by perfectly matched wines from a list which champions English vineyards alongside classy global names. From the cocktails, try the beautifully elegant ‘Arabella’ gin and tonic, a super-premium collaboration between Michael Caines and Salcombe Gin.