In a very unassuming location in the middle of the countryside near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, nestled behind an old country pub, is a little restaurant called The Lighthouse.
As seems to be the case quite often these days with higher-end restaurants, they specialise in tasting menus which are changed on a seasonal basis, and they also offer special occasion tasting menus such as for Valentines Day.
On this, our first visit, the menu was as follows…
Smoked haddock scotch egg
Cranberry, sage & turkey loaf with crispy turkey skin salted butter. Oh. My. Goodness. that butter! It’s hard to describe how a butter can pack such a salty, turkey skin amazingness punch but it definitely did!
Now the next course on the menu was a mussel dish but as it is the one thing in the world that I am allergic too, I thought I best avoid it! The staff were fantastic and as soon as I mentioned that I had the allergy they swapped the dish for an alternative – brown bread soup. Sounds pretty basic but it was completely delicious! It was creamy without being heavy, perfectly seasoned and was topped with really light, crispy croutons.
Following the soup was a dish containing three of my favourite things – Cornish scallop, truffle risotto, beef cheek & onion oil – rich and delicious!
After that came orange pork jowel, fruit ‘n’ nut & damson – this also came with a home made sausage roll
Sixth on the list was Derbyshire beef fillet, marmite pomme & roasted roots
Following the beef was the most controversial dish within the group – spiced mince pie, mulled port glaze & Hartington blue cheese butter. I ended up eating a couple of these (oops!) as two didn’t like it at all. The blue cheese was perhaps a little strong, and unusual with something you associate as being sweet.
The first of the sweet dishes was winter apple crumble, honeyed oats, roasted braeburn apple, earl grey & vanilla
The second sweet was the very clever ‘Snowman’. Made up of lemon mousse, white chocolate & mandarin
And finally coffee & petit fours.
The staff there are the perfect mix of everything you want – polite, discreet but always there if you have a question. Cutlery is replaced between each course without you even noticing, and drinks are kept topped up. The only minor comment I would make is that I would have expected table cloths and the lack of them made the restaurant feel a bit casual, even though the food and ambiance is not.
The whole evening was superb and we are lucky to have such a high quality restaurant so close by. I would also add that £50 per person is very reasonable for the menu and service you receive. We have since recommended a few other people to visit and each one has enjoyed it as much as we did!
I look forward to visiting again soon to try the next seasons offerings!
Book via their website here – you won’t regret it!