Fischer's Baslow Hall, a place I had heard about previously through our pal Hungry Hoss' review. Excitement levels rose even further when he tweeted us to say he thought we were really going to like it. The table was booked, a room at the local inn was reserved and we were in business for a drizzly Saturday lunchtime during February half term!
Now then, some of you will know that I'm now rocking over two months of veganism and counting. While we all know that some chefs and restaurateurs have some quite strong opinions on vegans, the staff at Fischer's were nothing short of brilliant when dealing with the matter before and during the meal. Firstly, I think the whole ethos of Fischer's cooking lends itself well to veggie food anyway - the website boasts a menu in which "Rupert Rowley creates a more luxurious menu based on seasonal produce... inspired by home-grown vegetables, herbs and fruits from the extensive Baslow Hall gardens." Secondly, I felt really chuffed when I was given my very own personal vegan menu plus you could tell all of the staff were very well briefed about it. It really was very much appreciated, thanks Fischer's!
Anyway given that we were celebrating we started the meal off with a nice G&T (Robin of Locksley gin, made in our home town of Sheff Vegas, YES) and a glass of fizz plus some lovely little snacks. Olives for me, super rich and buttery parmesan biscuits for Bailey and the most intensely parsnippy parsnip crisps I've ever had. They were great, mega crispy but not in the slightest bit greasy.
I'm not going to get started on the old bread argument but suffice to say Bailey and I are most definitely in the "if you're a good restaurant your bread should be good" camp. So we loved the most excellent Stout & Treacle / Raisin & Hazelnut breads we were presented with. I absolutely loved the chunky nuts in the latter. Bailey was super impressed with the butter too.
Onto the starters and I was on the Grilled Broccoli with ponzu dressing and "monk's beard". I previously literally no idea what monk's beard was (I now know it is a tasty Mediterranean plant with "rich mineral notes") but the whole dish was as delicious as it was beautiful and the dressing/sauce was to die for.
Bailey is a sucker for both duck and rhubarb so was stoked to see them on the menu together. He was a bit worried that the duck would be too rich but this was not the case and it was a thoroughly enjoyable starter.
My main course of Aubergine Tempura was not only hands down the best thing I've eaten since turning vegan but the best thing I've eaten in ages. It wasn't really what I expected at all - the batter wasn't the light, airy affair you'd normally associate with the moniker 'tempura' but rather a mega crunchy flavoursome, almost pastry-like treat. The aubergine filling was so tasty and it was all perfect with the pretty, colourful and delicately prepared vegetables. Bailey's Ox Cheek main was also a triumph described as "sticky, bang on and the only perfectly cooked ox cheek I've ever had".
Dessert time and I'm not sure if it's because I'm from the north but it feels like I've eaten quite a few forced rhubarb desserts in my time. What I liked about this one was the fact that they were not in any way shy with the lovely big bits of rhubarb and the crunchy toasted granola was a really nice texture. I think I could have had a few extra of those herbs though. Bailey opted for the Banana Tart which he enjoyed. We both commented that we thought the desserts weren't overly sweet which was nice.
Our brilliant visit to Fischer's ended with a bottle of wine in front of a nice warm fire - who could ask for more really on a chilly rainy afternoon? We'd had such a nice time eating amazing food and being looked after by the friendly staff in lovely surroundings, we didn't really think anything could top it off. But then came the icing on the cake of Fischer's aceness. When they called us a cab up to take us down the road back to our hotel and their usual guy was busy, they got a member of staff to drive us in her own car! HOW NICE IS THAT... She was lovely as well. She told us that she loves working at Fischer's because everyone gets on so well it's like a big happy family. I just loved that and it explained why everyone was so nice, it made me love Fischer's even more.
So what I want to say really is that you MUST get yourself over there and pay them a visit. The food is great, it's a beautiful location (go in summer!) and they will really look after you. I also have to say that the meal we had represented excellent value for money - we actually struggled to spend our voucher and it did result in us drinking probably a bit too much wine, oops! Plus, as Hungry Hoss points out in his review, it's our nearest Michelin Starred place - about an hour's drive - so get your bums over there!
|Cliché but obligatory ring shot|