On our arrival at Seasons, and serenaded by the piano player, we were handed wax sealed envelopes bearing each of our names, and inside were seven-course tasting menus which had been cleverly tailored to our specific dietary requirements.
There’s a comprehensive wines and spirits list on hand, including Viper Gin made by a former hotel colleague, but we opted instead for spicy tomato juice and refreshing Sicilian lemonade.
Up first was a hot and tangy tomato and red pepper amuse bouche with lemon oil which was delicious, and was complemented with some homemade tomato flavoured butter (actually in the shape of a tomato), and some slices of fresh olive and focaccia bread. So far, so good. Following a short break, it was then the turn of some al dente asparagus plus a hen egg with a breaded-type crust, Shemeji mushrooms and truffle mayonnaise to tantalise our taste buds, a superb dish and probably one of my favourites on the night. The third round saw different types of beetroot laid out with cones of apple purée, a segment of orange plus some whipped goat’s cheese, all separated by some fragile multispeed crackers. It was divine.
A short break ensued, and for me, I enjoyed an absolute culinary masterpiece, an Isle of Wight blue cheese brûlée, which even came with a sugared coating as you would see on an equivalent dessert. I loved it. At the same time, my wife had a nicely prepared Greek salad, made with tiny pieces of black olives, thinly sliced cucumber and chopped tomato. Success once again. On to the next, and I had a generous portion of herb and garlic crusted cod with a caper sauce which sat on a bed of shredded leaks, alongside some pieces of grilled cauliflower. My wife enjoyed a tender rump of lamb which arrived with caramelised red onions and a subtle wine sauce.
That was it for the savoury dishes, and whilst I had the milk version, my wife’s addictive chocolate mousse used a combination of avocado and dairy free chocolate, and was topped with hazelnuts, coffee and orange granita. And so came the course of the night, marinated pineapple with mango salsa, coconut sorbet and granola to round off what had truly been an excellent meal from start to finish. It was then apt that we had the rare opportunity to speak to Senior Sous Chef, Rich, whose handiwork we had been praising for the last couple of hours. He has been cooking alongside Matt for the past six years, and he is clearly passionate about what he does and coming up with clever ways to reconfigure the dish to suit individual dietary requirements so it’s as good as the original recipe.
On a Sunday morning, breakfast is served back in Seasons between 8am and 10am, which means that you can have a leisurely start to the day prior to your departure. After a filling meal the night before, we started gently with some yoghurt and honey before tackling a freshly-baked croissant and flavoursome “guest jam”. There’s also a small choice of hot options such as a full English, porridge with double cream, eggs benedict, and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
In summary, if you’re after a peaceful, quaint and comfortable hotel, which is extremely well located close to the main sights of Sherborne and the Jurassic coast, and where staff go the extra mile to ensure that your stay is as memorable as possible, then look no further than The Eastbury Hotel. It really is one of Dorset’s hidden gems, and we will definitely be back.
The Eastbury Hotel – Where and How?
The Eastbury Hotel is located at Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BY, United Kingdom. (Map).
For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk, e-mail [email protected], or call 01935 813131. Cosy Doubles start from £195 per room per night including breakfast.
See pictures of what we ate and enjoyed at The Eastbury Hotel on our Instagram page.