I've been reading about Supper Clubs for a couple of years now, and have been intrigued and desperately wanted to try one for myself. Despite the wealth of fabulous ingredients and wonderful places to eat here in Lincolnshire, I have struggled to find anywhere locally that offered a Supper Club experience. Then I stumbled across Lemon Tree Dining - based in Retford, just across the border in Nottinghamshire.
Lemon Tree Dining is run and hosted by Rob who used to chef at River Cottage, and his wife Louise. They welcome diners to their beautiful house in Retford, and treat them like royalty and feed them the most amazing food. Their February Supper Club was billed as a seven course tasting menu, I booked it as soon as possible!
What a truly fabulous evening we had! There were eighteen guests in all, Martin and I were seated at a long table with three other couples. They don't have a drinks licence, so guests are invited to bring along their own alcohol, there is no charge for corkage.
The house is stunning, the welcome was so warm and everyone was soon chatting and getting to
know each other over the welcome drink of raspberry cocktail and Rob's fabulous canapes. Home baked bread with balsamic and oil dressing, hand-made crisps with the perfect aioli, slow roasted belly pork with honey and soy sauce and some delicious courgette and cauliflower falafal.
For the next three and a half hours we were treated to the most amazing array of scrumptious food. Rob came out from the kitchen between courses to explain exactly what we would be eating next, where it came from and how he had cooked it. I can honestly say that this is some of the best food that I've ever tasted and the service and attention is second to none.
Wild Mushroom soup and baguette
~ served as a 'takeaway', in a dish in a brown paper carrier with a tiny wooden spoon, this soup was full of wild mushrooms. Creamy and delicious with a crusty baguette to mop it all up.
Venison carpaccio with shallots and horseradish
Wonderfully pink and sliced so thinly. The venison was so tender, the knife glided through it. The dressing of shallot and horseradish complimented but didn't overpower
Breaded lamb belly with charred fennel and apple & mint chutney
The lamb belly had been slow roasted and pressed, then breaded. The fennel was charred, giving a smoky flavour and the apple and mint chutney was the perfect match for the rich meat.
This small shot glass of icy lemon sorbet was the perfect palette cleanser after the rich meat dishes
Scallop with black pudding, cauliflower puree and apple
Scallop and black pudding is one of my favourite dishes, I would always order it form a menu. This scallop was huge; fat and juicy. Personally, I would have preferred a little more caramelisation of the scallop, but even so, it was a beautiful dish.
Fillet of Beef with purple sprouting brocolli, butter bean and leek mash and beef jus
Another perfect piece of meat. Pink in the middle, with so much flavour. The butter bean and leek mash was a quirky touch, and really worked so well.
Sticky Ginger cake, honeycomb ice-cream, rhubarb mousse
This dish was a joy to behold. The ginger cake was sweet, moist, sticky and probably the best ginger cake that I've ever eaten. The honeycomb ice cream was perfect and that rhubarb mousse was the lightest, most delicate mousse ever. I would easily have eaten another portion.
Home roasted coffee, special marshmallow and dessert wine
To finish, we were presented with a glass of wonderfully rich coffee, served black and strong with no sugar - just how coffee should be. Alongside this was a square of delicious home-made marshmallow, on a skewer with a tea light for toasting, and finally a small glass of beautiful dessert wine.
Needless to say, after all of that food we felt completely happy and very full.
Lemon Tree Dining Supper Club was wonderful. Rob and Louise are wonderful hosts, their home is amazing and their waiting staff are professional and extremely polite. This was an experience that I would urge everyone to try. The absolute perfect evening.