Prestigious Nottingham hotel and restaurant Harts recently celebrated their 20th anniversary year and with the success of two previous tasting menus on top of being awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence, a third menu was inevitable.
Devised by head chef Dan Burridge, the six course taster menu (also available as vegetarian and vegan) showcases the classic modern British dishes Harts are renowned for, using quality, locally sourced produce where possible and perfectly paired with carefully selected wines by hotel owner Tim Hart.
In my opinion this tasting menu encompasses so many levels of fine dining creativity and culinary skills, giving you the opportunity to experience the best from Dan Burridge with a twist from Michelin Star Chef Aaron Patterson from Harts’ sister restaurant at Hambleton Hall. With this dream team running the show, you can expect the food to be divine on paper alone, but as I was invited to sample the goods, I can hand on heart say the menu lives up to full expectations…
Service at Harts is always exceptional and my visit on this occasion was enhanced by the hospitality of the lovely Anna who looked after us throughout our stay. Being handed the vegetarian version of the six course taster menu, gave me immediate confidence and explanations along the way by James the sommelier throughout each course and wine pairing was a welcomed addition to the experience.
To kick off the half dozen menu, I was offered a choice from the famous Hambleton bread basket- naturally as always I opted for the sourdough- made in a way that avoids bloating and gases within the needing process. Next came a dish which I can only describe as something straight from the film set of Lord of the rings – Girolle mushroom, brik pastry, ponzu, butternut squash, paired with Spanish wine Lustau Manzinilla, Papirusa – featuring lovely peach and citrus notes.
The mushrooms were amongst the most beautiful to look at aswell to taste and the presentation of this dish was exquisite.
Next came the Goats Curd Tortellini served with quince and sage and a non listed ingredient on this occasion of sliced pickled black walnut – a strong flavour which was completely new to me but delicious all the same. Never one to shy away from pasta dishes, though always conscious they can be filling, in particular when teamed with five or more courses, this dish contained just the right amount of tortellini shells, made in house and beautifully done.
The wine paired with this dish was the young 2017 Simon and the Huguenots
Next course was the Terrine of Mediterranean vegetables , a cold dishwith a saffron /horseradish dressing– a delightful looking block of primary coloured vegetables including peppers, aubergine and tomato compressed into an easy to eat terrine with a tasty dressing of saffron, paired with the 2016 Hunting Hill, Chardonnay – I’d describe as English country garden style with elderflower, pear and apple- this was perfect to bring out the tangy flavours of this particular dish.
My fourth dish arrived to the table paired with a 2013 Riesling , Rolly Gassman, my favourite wine of the bunch, with delicious honey notes to balance out the saltiness of the Salt baked celeriac, apple, hazelnuts and autumn truffle – again very pretty and petit in presentation, the apple was sliced so thinly as if by razor blade and the much welcomed flavour of the hazelnuts combined with the extreme saltiness of the baked celeriac- another new flavour to me, worked very well with the sweetness of the fruit and topped off with the autumn truffle, (which I’d say would be just as lovely without), gives it a seasonal feel in-keeping with the menu theme- Chef Dan’s favourite of all of the dishes.
My favourite dish on the entire menu came next- Honey-glazed Halloumi, spiced lentils, tempura vegetables, a dish I could eat time and time again and would highly recommend for its superb flavour combination. The mix of grilled cheese with crispy veg and the edge given by the spicy lentils offers a fusion of flavours and textures and this time paired with a red- 2010 Chateau Rouget, Pomerol featuring plums and black fruits, this was among one of the higher priced wines at £95 per bottle and confirmed even more flavours for me with the dish.
Dessert was the final piece de resistance and came in the form of a Caramelised peach melba, the perfect way to end this culinary exhibition, as it was light and offered the satisfactory crack of a crème Brule courtesy of the caramel, but with the healthier option of combining peach with raspberries, over homemade ice cream and a cheeky sprinkling of crumble. The Dessert Wine pairing was a 2014 Montbazillac, Domaine L’Ancienne Cure, Jour de fruits.
Coffee and homemade petit fours (salted caramel and raspberry truffle) finalised what I can only describe as a spectacularly creative menu, executed very well, with all of the flavours and presentation you’d expect from a restaurant such as Harts – they have most certainly done it again with this winning menu and I urge you to book immediately before you miss out.
The limited edition 6 course tasting menu at Harts is priced at £65 per person with a £55 supplement charge for the wine pairings.