9 April 2014 at 5.14pm | Comment on this article
Spring is great time for our restaurants and bars; it seems that every week or so nature releases a wonderful ingredient to add to our repertory.
As regular visitors may have noticed, we’ve been cooking with rhubarb throughout winter, using the famous forced rhubarb from the Yorkshire Triangle, recognizable for its delicate pink colour and in season from October. Spring however is the time for field rhubarb, distinguished by darker, red stalks and grown throughout Britain. You’ll find it in our scrumptious rhubarb and ginger diplomat tart and our crème brûlées. We also use it in a purée for the Ruby Rhubarb champagne cocktail. Perhaps the most unusual way we prepare rhubarb is to pickle it for our confit duck and green bean salad. The stalks are cut into batons and finely sliced on a mandoline. Warm spiced vinegar is then poured over the raw rhubarb ribbons and they are left for a week to mature and soften. The resulting pickle is marvellous served alongside a hearty pie or tossed into salads of cheese, oily fish or rich meats, such as confit duck.
Spring is also a prime time for wild garlic leaves, or ramsons (a wild relative of chives). Their season is famously brief and we use them to infuse oil for our potato soup – a punchy twist on the classic vichyssoise combination.
We're also making the most of English asparagus. WyeValley growers have had much success extending the English asparagus season, but these fine stalks are still highly prized. In addition to ever-popular steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce, this season we’re chargrilling the spears and serving with oregano-scented olive oil and parmesan cheese. This gives the asparagus a lightly toasted flavour suited to the Mediterranean nature of the dish, which can be paired with a light red wine instead of the traditional white.
We will also be serving zingy Rosary Goats’ Cheese salad with char-grilled spring onions and fresh herb mustard; spring is the perfect time to enjoy fresh young goats’ cheese (the one we're using is sourced from the Wiltshire-Hampshire border), while spring onions really are, as the name implies, a seasonal speciality. Young leeks are also prime in spring, so do look out for our delicate poached leeks with mustard vinaigrette and soft-boiled duck egg – a real treat!
We hope you enjoy our spring menus, if you have any favourites that you would like to see added to the menu, do let us know.