It was my husband's birthday today, so we had a special treat and went for lunch at the Michelin starred Fischer's restaurant in Baslow in the heart of the Peak District. It was our first visit, but definitely won't be our last. I felt a bit too self-conscious to get my phone out to photograph the food, so you'll just have to make do with this photo of me on the lawn after lunch as we had a look around the garden - including the walled kitchen garden from where some of the produce are sourced.
The food was just as you would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant - not that we have a huge amount of experience of them - but it was superb - well thought out (a limited lunchtime menu so broad appeal) with excellent service to match.
We started with an appetiser whilst making our menu choices - a dish of elegant long radish's with a lemon and herb dip. It was delicious - very mild flavour from the radish but perfect for the context in which it was served.
When we made our booking, I was asked if we had any food intolerances - my husband doesn't like cheese or nuts - he has no allergies but just doesn't like the taste of either (although we're working on the cheese thing and he'll do mozzarella and haloumi now!) When I bread basket arrived I noticed it was different to those on the other tables which had 2 slices and 2 rolls - ours had 3 slices and 1 roll - when our bread was explained to us I was pleased to note that they'd given him sourdough instead of the hazelnut and raisin roll that I had but this was different to the two slices of black treacle and spelt we both shared so they had gone to the trouble of giving him an alternative to the nut loaf which I thought was a very thoughtful touch. As with all the service throughout the meal this was done without fuss.
We then received a surprise pre-starter - a BLT in a glass - layers or tomato jelly (really intense flavour) topped with bacon cream and a lettuce foam - I really have no idea how they made lettuce taste so vibrant and well, lettucy! It was perfect for a hot sunny day.
Then our starters - I chose goats cheese panacotta with heirloom tomato salad - which went perfectly with the treacle and spelt bread. The panacotta was more like a cream cheese than anything but very delicious and the tomato salad with basil oil and balsamic drizzle the perfect partner. My husband opted for belly pork with a miso glaze and peanut dressing - they were happy to provide it without the peanut and gave him extra crackle in return which put a big smile on his face as it was super light and very crispy.
For mains my husband opted for salmon with peas a la francaise and a herb veloute whereas I took the vegetarian option of crispy aubergine cannelloni with carrot and cumin sauce. The salmon dish was light and fragrant nestled on top of a bed of sliced potatoes - the only down side was my husband felt there was little too much sauce. My dish was really intriguing - I think the cannelloni was potato sliced on a vegetable sheeter and then confit or poached before rolling around the aubergine filling and then being coated in a crispy crumb - it was divine however it was cooked - although a tad greasy in the very centre. It was served with the sauce on a bed of lentils with a selection of vegetables - one of which I couldn't place the flavour of - sort of firm like a potato and white but with a more fragrant almost pear-like flavour but not quite. I asked the waiter and was told it was salsify which explained why I didn't recognise it as I've never eaten it before - it was a great new taste though so I will buy some next time I see it.
My husband found the desserts a little more challenging - he's not big on soft fruits and we're in the middle of soft fruit season so they featured heavily. He opted for apricot and verbena gazpacho with curd ice cream and asked for the hazelnuts on it to be omitted - again they said that wouldn't be a problem. It was a delicious dessert - they even checked if he was OK with the curd ice cream in case it was too cheesy for him - it wasn't. The verbena soup was intense and really interesting. I opted for cherry and almond torte with vanilla ice-cream which was delicious but not nearly as interesting as the other courses. We may have to opt for the dessert special next time as I was very envious of the table next to us who had it - the whole table has to take the special but you get a taster of several of their desserts that way.
We took coffee and chocolates in the lounge - their homemade chocolates were really exciting too - blackcurrant and lovage jelly which were a taste explosion and a cumin salted caramel in a dark chocolate shell which were just perfect with the strong coffee.
All in all the best lunch we've ever eaten and at £66 including drinks, not nearly as expensive as I'd thought before booking. We will be back - and soon!
Here's the birthday boy on the lawn after lunch - full and happy in the sunshine.