Having wanted to visit The Gardener’s Cottage for some time, the boy & I were delighted to take friends up on the offer of an evening in London Road’s most talked about foodie establishment…
Walking in past the rows of vegetable patches, up the gravel path to what was once an original ‘gardener’s cottage’ has a wholesome, feel-good feeling about it. The building had been empty for several years & was brought back to life by one of the two chefs behind it – Ed Murray, as well as being a talent in the kitchen, he also trained as an architect. The menu changes daily, it comes in the form of a blackboard perched at the front gate & you eat what you are given (my mother’s mantra has come back to haunt me, after all these years!)
Inside, the kitchen opens up on to a small, cosy room housing two tables seating ten on each. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with fellow diners, it felt as though I was sitting in my friend’s kitchen, enjoying their home cooked goodness.
Dinner went like this….to kick things off we had a small smoked haddock salad with a smattering of edible flowers, followed by asparagus, spinach & sorrel soup with homebaked sourdough bread. Then came a fresh tomato, bacon, lettuce & croutons garden salad.
‘Mains’ came in the form of roe deer, faggot, chard, yogurt and purple sprouting broccoli. Reading this off the blackboard I had slight reservations, once tasted, I was convinced, the meat was cooked to perfection & everything on the plate just worked. Next up was creme fraiche sorbet & rhubarb, what I thought might have been too bitter wasn’t - I would eat this by the tub full, delicious. To balance the sweetness a cheese course was produced – Rachel cheese, carrot jam & oatcake. We were then treated to rhubarb, sweet basil ice cream & crème patissière. Petit fours were miniature baked Alaskas & topped off what was a diverse & highly enjoyable meal.
I’m not sure I have enough complimentary foodie words in my vocabulary to do this place justice – it was simply a perfect, relaxed, flavoursome dining experience. Great food & great fun with great friends.
Co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley & Edward Murray, The Gardener’s Cottage, is ‘committed to creating and serving excellent food using the best seasonal, local produce while nurturing sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with the local community and local producers.‘ What’s not to love?
Everyone’s talking about it… the masses are intrigued, the local foodies love it, it won best newcomer in The List’s Eating & Drinking Awards & even Jay Rayner raved about it. It’s well worth a trip to the cottage in the city…