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FOOD REVIEW: Chiseldon House Hotel & Restaurant
Dining at hotels is often an experience that is done out of ease rather than want, especially if you are planning an overnight stay. However, Chiseldon House Hotel and Restaurant have completely blown this concept out of the water with its restaurant experience one of the best meals I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing.
Arriving at the beautiful Country House Hotel & Restaurant on Wednesday, I was immediately taken aback by the stunning architecture and peacefulness of its surroundings as I prepared to tuck into three exquisite courses, put together by experienced Head Chef Martin White who has spent over 40 years in the trade.
Like any restaurant on a midweek day, Chiseldon House’ dining area was quieter than usual, scattered with a few tables of guests both staying at the hotel and some just coming for dinner. However, there was still a great ambience around the venue which was both romantic and also made you feel safe due to the COVID measures that have been put in place across the hospitality industry.
Greeted by the knowledgable and friendly waitress Roz, myself and my partner were made to feel welcome and were quickly handed menus and drinks orders were taken.
Looking down the menu, which is changed every 2 months, we were presented with a choice of either enjoying some traditional British classics such as sausage & mash, and fish & chips to name a few, or instead dining on the ‘Taste of Wiltshire’ three-course set menu. Opting for the latter, we were ready to sample the best that Chiseldon House had to offer.
Priced at £30 per person, the three-course set menu might sound expensive but when you break down the individual costs of each dish included, you realise this is actually a very reasonable price for a meal that is of exceptionally high quality.
Roast Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Soup
With the cold weather fast approaching, there is something warming and seasonal about enjoying a bowl of soup. And this delicious vegetarian soup certainly ticks all the boxes.
A creamy soup bursting with flavour and undertones of sweetness erupting with every mouthful, this soup was the perfect dish to warm both the body and soul. The pepper offered a pleasant subtle heat, whilst the roast sweet potato balanced the dish and complemented the red pepper excellently, making this a fantastic starter.
Pidgeon, Partridge, and Quail Terrine, Fig & Apple Jam, Brioche Croutons
This dish was a first for me, and it’s safe to say I was nervous about eating a dish packed with so many rich meats. However, the terrine was outstanding and after my first bite, I immediately knew this would become an instant favourite of mine.
Served cold, the terrine was intense in flavour but wasn’t overpowering on the pallet and whilst I was afraid the medley of delicious meats would interfere with each other too much, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could taste each individual bird with every bite.
The texture was meaty but not chewy, and the brioche croutons along with the fig and apple jam added a delicate sweetness to the dish that helped to take away some of the sharpness of the rich meats.
Overall the two starters included in the menu were brilliant and by far exceeded expectations of what you would expect inside any restaurant, never mind a hotel restaurant.
Beer Battered Haddock Fillet, Triple Cooked Chips, Crunchy Tartar Sauce, Mushy Peas
One of the great things about the restaurant team at Chiseldon House is that they do everything possible to accommodate guest’ needs to make sure they have a pleasurable dining experience. So after being advised that there was an option to swap out main meals from the set-menu with the classic menu, I was delighted to be able to try their amazing fish & chips.
Arguably England’s most famous dish, Chiseldon House’ take on this classic was brilliant. Great presentation and a large portion size went some way to filling me up although there was still room for dessert. The batter was crunchy and flavoursome, whilst the fish was beautifully fresh and simply melted in the mouth.
Chips had a slight crunch on the outside but were light and fluffy inside which made for an amazing mouthfeel. The condiments served with the dish were strong on the pallet and cut through the fish perfectly without overpowering it.
Seared Sea Bream Fillet, Prawn, Chorizo & Saffron Risotto
Included in the Taste of Wiltshire menu, this was a meal that was first-class in every department. Risotto is a dish that usually promises lots but is often sloppy, bland, and actually gives very little in flavour. But this main meal easily exceeded expectations.
A large fillet of sea bream nestled on top of a colourful risotto, every bite was perfection. The fish was fresh and flavoursome with a light golden crust on the skin that provided a nice crunch. Whilst the risotto put my tastebuds into overdrive as the cocktail of prawn, chorizo and saffron blended together with the rice to make this one of the best fish dishes I have ever tasted.
My only problem with the dish is that I could’ve easily consumed a second helping!
Orange & Cardamom Crème Brülee, Vanilla Shortbread Biscuit
Now providing that you have space for dessert, you can rest assured that you won’t be left disappointed in this department either.
Given a choice of one of two desserts, this Creme Brulee was appeasing on both the eye and the tongue as its aromatic flavours partnered with the traditional brulee sweetness made for the perfect ending to an outstanding dinner.
The orange and cardamom were an unusual but delightful partnering to the creamy dessert filling, with the freshly made biscuit light and crunchy.
Sticky Toffee Pudding, Caramel Sauce, Clotted Cream Ice Cream
This classic dessert is served in restaurants all around the country, but Chiseldon House easily bests many modern-day establishments with this dish a dream in every bite that will satisfy even the sweetest of teeth.
Surging with sweetness, the sticky toffee was light and fluffy with the hot caramel sauce glazing over the dish adding an amazing warmth. The clotted cream ice cream melted into the dessert and provide a welcome chill to the mouth and creating an enjoyable sensation as each helping offered both warmth and coldness swimming in flavour.
Overall my experience at Chiseldon House Restaurant can be summarised in three words. Delicious. Enjoyable. Exceptional.
If you’re planning on heading out for a meal in Swindon then take a break from the ordinary run of the mill restaurants that the town centre has to offer and instead head to the stunning scenery of Chiseldon House and enjoy some of the most amazing food that Wiltshire has to offer without breaking the bank.