Chef Michael Caines grew up near Exeter where his parents, who were school teachers recognised his early interest in food and cooking and set him on his way to a culinary career. Following two years of catering college, an Exeter chef sent him to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. He was then recommended to Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire, for whom he had to do a three-day trial without pay. Three years later, Blanc arranged for him to cook at the Michelin three-star Cote d’Or in Burgundy. He cooked there for 15 months before moving to another three-star establishment, Restaurant Jamin, in Paris.
Michael’s career to date has been well documented, through to becoming Head Chef at Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devon.
Early In 2017, Michael opened Lympstone Manor, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant set in Parkland overlooking the river Exe near Exmouth, Devon. He describes Lympstone as “the realisation of a dream, my vision of country house hospitality for the 21st Century”. This has been a very personal project for him and one that has seen him involved in every detail. From the first vines being planted to establish a vineyard in the estate to produce, in three years time, a house champagne-method sparkling wine.
We asked Michael about his continued involvement in catering for the Williams Formula 1 team.
Q: You have spent a couple of seasons working with the Williams F1 team, in particular in Monaco… how much fun was that and what was Monaco in 2017 like?
A: Being anywhere with Williams F1 is amazing but Monaco is the best. This year I was able to cook on a yacht for Williams and go to their VIP party, along with attending events on the Financial Times yacht. I was also invited to Martini’s VIP party which was a brilliant evening. We have also just held a charity event with Williams here at the manor.
Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you have not had opportunity to visit)
Q: Japanese cuisine sometimes includes ingredients we may not be familiar with, Is there a food you would not eat?
A: Bugs, or anything very obscure like a form of testicles or spiders.
Q: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”
A: I would make this the longest meal ever, most probably a tasting menu which included a seafood platter to start followed by roast chicken with a combination of summer fruits and sorbet to finish.
Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/food, what would they be?
A: I view food like it is an elite sport, great food, and food wealth is what it’s about. Not about the expense but how well it is cooked and how good it is. There is plenty of places that have great food and are cheaper. It’s to do with the combination of flavours and spices.
Q: What is your favourite dish at Lympstone Manor in which you use produce from your most local supplier?
A: There is a number at present, however Jacobs Lamb, boulangerie & confit shoulder, pea puree and tapenade jus, the lamb is from Powderham Castle, which we can see from our terrace.
Q: If you could invite any Chef past or present to cook alongside you for one night who would that be and why?
A: Keith Floyd because he is a legend.
Favourite Tables were delighted to include Lympstone Manor on our Unique Destinations pages and wondered what you would consider as your own favourite tables….
Firstly Zuma in London because of its fusion of Japanese cooking and Asian styled foods, and then The Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc – it is my favourite country house hotel, the food and experience is exceptional.
If you’re looking for a different kind of dining experience then ”this could be the place for you. The clue is in the name of the restaurant seating a maximum of 10 around the chef’s table so that you can watch the chef prepare the food right in front of you and also engage in conversation with the chef Scott Barnard & owner Luke Garnsworthy and also with the other guests. On this occasion, there was just the two of us but believe me that didn’t take away anything from a fantastic Tasting Menu Lunch where the food was amazing and matched with a great choice of wines. We started with a lovely selection of snacks before we tried the fantastic Tring Brewery Bread & Marmite Butter.
Then a nice refreshing Sardine & Tomato course this was followed by an Aerated Pea & Broad Bean Soup before a delightful Plaice course with a fricassee of Lobster & Cauliflower. Then came the main a fantastic Rump of Lamb a Caesar Dressing & Baby Gem Lettuce. The next course was cheese but not what you think as it was a Lancashire Bomb cheese and homemade Piccalilli served on a cracker and it was amazing.
Then followed a refreshing pre dessert before yes dessert itself a Chocolate & Tonia Bean Cremeaux, Kirsch parfait , poached cherries & almonds this brought to end a great lunch which I would highly recommend whether you’re a couple a small group plus the fact that the menu is changed every month which also makes it ideal if you decide to become a regular customer which I myself could quite easily become
We had A really delightful evening meal set in the lovely Berry Restaurant at the Taplow Hotel. On arrival we were seated on the patio where we browsed the Menu, which is very English. Overlooking the lovely grounds of the Hotel while enjoying our Aperitif was a perfect start to our evening. When we moved into the restaurant it seems we were very warm welcomed by almost every member of staff and this level of personal service continued throughout the evening.
We started with a fantastic Bread selection before our lovely starters of a Beef Tartare & Ham Hock Terrine. We then moved onto the mains which were Cod Fillet & Chips with Samphire and my lovely Lamb Loin with Boulangere Potatoes and amazing beer braised Shallots accompanied by a nice bottle of the Berri Estates House Wine .
Then came desserts, a deconstructed Rhubarb Crumble & my Olive Oil Cake. We finished with coffee & Petit Fours in the lounge . I have to say the quality of the food was really good and the friendly service we received made for a lovely evening, as part of our overnight stay.
Well what can I say other than this was a magical evening and emphasised the reason why Midsummer House is my favourite Michelin Star restaurant. Such a fantastic warm and friendly welcome on our arrival that made us feel right at home straight away.
We were first served a lovely homemade Gin & Tonic which was lovely. We decided to have the 8 Course Tasting Menu to which we were asked if we’d like to see the Menu or be surprised we decided to be surprised. So firstly the Amuse Bouches were a delight before moving to the first course a Pumpkin Veloute then Braised Pork Knuckle & Raclette Cheese simply stunning followed by a fantastic Scallop dish
Then came the signature course of Roast Quail with Shallot Purée & Sour Dough simply Devine then came a delightful Monkfish course then I have to say my favourite course which was Venison accompanied by amazing Venison sausage rolls
Before Dessert we chose to have a Cheese course and they had the most wonderful Cheese trolley
Now on to my favourite part of any meal Desserts and both were fantastic firstly the Aerated Pear with Blueberry then the Passion Fruit,Yoghurt Sorbet & Dark chocolate then when you think you can’t eat anymore outcome the treats some amazing Doughnuts and Chocolates.
I would like to thank the Sommelier for a fantastic selection of matching wines that just went perfectly with every course also to every member of staff who’s service was exceptional. I hope that Midsummer House soon gets a third Michelin Star because based on this visit they certainly deserve them.
Couldn’t think of a better way to end the year than visiting our favourite local restaurant Haywards. This was our 21st visit of the year and the food & service was consistently as good as always .
If you like fine dining but don’t want to go into London then this is the place for you. The restaurant serves excellent European Cuisine and also has great Wines to match your food . The restaurant has a nice friendly atmosphere and is a great place for couples or groups and can host bigger parties in the Stable
#epping #Essex #restaurant
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About Favourite Tables
Our ethos is about places people love – always has been, always will be.
We know that most people choose where to eat based on recommendations from friends and family, a social interaction – a Social Marketplace
Favourite Tables is just that – our recommendations and reviews are from people who love where they go and go back to.
The popularity of each Favourite Tables restaurant is assured on the Social Marketplace and through the restaurant reviews they receive.
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