Langdon Court Restaurant is refreshingly refined, robustly re-energised and resonates a restaurant with delicious dishes.
The location is enviable; only 15 minutes from the centre of Plymouth City (I have checked), the service flawless, the food flavour-filled and superlatively fresh. New owners Geoffrey and Emma Ede have injected an energy and innovation that only natural business acumen, years of experience at the highest level and good taste can provide. The restaurant is revitalised and recharged, teeming with inimitable elegance and delicious food!
I could think of countless words to describe the restaurant, but heritage, romance and decadence are three. It resides within the majestic Grade II listed Tudor Manor House, that is also renowned as a reputable country house hotel, oozing royal, political and nautical history, spanning thousands of dramatic years.
This is much more than a restaurant, this is a destination, leading to an occasion. The drive to it is equally enchanting. The house, set in 10 acres of mature gardens and woodlands, indigenously blends in with the timeless beauty of South Hams` rolling hills and breathtaking beaches. If you want to be whisked away from the fuss of city life into a retreat providing secluded intimacy that encourages relaxation at a reasonable price, then this is for you!
On entering, a warm genteel greeting and immiscible energy flows, drawn from the passionate owners, to the happy service staff and permeating contented clientele. Everything runs like clockwork, nothing is too much, with courtesy effervescing effortlessly. Richard Dunn, the Restaurant Manager, attends to your dining needs with charming professionalism and an innate grace that only 26 years of working within this elegant house can provide.
The décor fuses the finest in classic and contemporary chic. Warm tones and traditional elegance pervade; a huge fire roars, beautiful antique furnishings and high ornate ceilings capture essences of a regal past, all enhanced with contemporary overtones; candles dance, Lilies aromatise, cool jazz soothes and perfectly placed tables, with crisp white linen and tasteful settings await your presence.
The menu continues the blend of traditional and modern, catering for classic and eclectic tastes. Everything is strictly local and organic, with reared meat, game, fish, seafood and vegetarian options. A beautiful list of fine wines has been carefully considered, to gratify broad tastes and offering perfect accompaniments to diverse dishes. The range includes New World novelties and traditional classics. (They are also aiming to produce their own local wine, being in the crucial stages of varietal selection).
Initially, palates were ignited with flavour-filled, wholesome pre-starters, including a rich, creamy, carrot and caraway seed amuse. Next, the entrees were versatile, boasting delightful and delicious textures. The seared hand-dived Brixham scallops with crispy Parma ham, pea puree and a fresh cucumber and caviar dressing, was bounding in juicy freshness, as was the rillette of Salmon, cepe mushrooms, shallots with dressed ruby chard leaves and green basil oil.
For the main course, the seared fillet of Devonshire beef arrived piping hot, generous and succulent. The dish displayed a richness that can only be found in local produce, with crispy yet fluffy fondant potatoes and crunchy spring green beans drizzled in butter and rich jus.
For dessert, turmoil at the table entertained, when choices had to be made between mouth-watering desserts, the West Country Cheese board or ice cream and sorbets. After debate and deliberation, the duo of Lemon soufflé with a tangy lemon sorbet was selected, paradoxically providing a refreshing yet comforting conclusion to an immaculate meal.
One common denominator prevailed throughout the evening; all the dishes oozed incredible freshness and taste. Geoffrey and Emma will not tolerate anything less than the best, maintaining a strict policy to grace their guest’s palates with the finest local organic produce and ingredients only! Everything is made from scratch.
Additionally, vegetables and herbs lovingly nurtured by Graham Titchmarsh (Alan’s cousin) are tenderly drawn from the Manor’s listed Jacobean garden and delivered to the kitchen in their seasonal prime. This means all dishes possess a natural arrogance, rich in colour and taste. Chef Carl Smith enlightened; “I have the ability to literally unearth and work with produce in its freshest form. I can create beautiful dishes with unmatched richness and natural taste”. He also enthused about the newly built state-of-the-art kitchen which he had input into: “I offered ideas on how I would like the kitchen to be planned for the benefit of the cooking”. Geoffrey added: “Every corridor in this house leads to the kitchen, which should have a warmth and life as the heart of this beautiful building. When we moved in the heart wasn’t pumping, so we ripped out the old one and rebuilt a state-of-the-art new one, to re-energise it.” And it does!
Seriously though amidst all that is perfect and polished at Langdon Court Restaurant, I have to admit there are two problems to overcome: A – trying not to look too smug when your meal arrives. B – Trying to hide envious eyes when observing other dishes.
This may be a restaurant that sits within a beautiful hotel, but it’s more than that. When the hotel guests, who could go anywhere in town to eat, choose the place literally on their doorstep, you know that something exciting is pumping in the heart of sleepy Wembury. Why wait?