This was our fourth time at Moor Hall. We’ve not been since 2019. Part of that gap has obviously been Covid but another part of it was the menu was quite samey, one visit to another. It’s understandable. When you’ve invested time and effort into developing dishes that work amongst others on a long and complex menu, you’re really only going to tinker with them for seasonal adjustments or some other evolution of the dish. Still, the two year gap meant we’d pretty much forgotten the dishes but this was the fourth time, since 2017, that we’ve eaten basically the same meal. It’s not that we’d become bored with it, but the sense of excitement had gone. But it’s still wonderful food, with each course flowing effortlessly through the menu.
The menu breaks down into three basic components. First, there’s snacks - some served in the lounge with a drink and others served in the restaurant. Then six courses of savoury dishes. And finally, four desserts, the final one being served back in the lounge before the coffee arrives. It is a long and complex menu and we were both there to enjoy ourselves at the meal out we usually jokingly refer to as the “Office Christmas Party”. I didn’t take notes of what we ate so will just transcribe the menu, as follows, and let the reader try to guess what we ate.
Charcuterie – a selection of our house cured meats
Black pudding, pickled gooseberry
Crown Prince, chorizo, egg yolk
Cod roe, chicken, chervil, caviar
Smoked eel, potato, fermented garlic, flowers
Langoustine, raspberry, radish, nasturtium
Oyster, white beetroot, dill, buttermilk (our favourite amongst the snacks – oyster poached in dill flavoured buttermilk)
Paris market carrots, doddington, chrysanthemum, sea buckthorn
Turnip and crab, anise hyssop, sunflower seeds
Moorfields Jersey beef , barbecued celeriac, mustard and shallot (80 day aged beef, served as a tartare)
Isle of Mull scallop, fermented green tomato, cauliflower, grains (my life companion’s favourite amongst the savouries)
Turbot, Jerusalem artichoke, mussel and roe sauce
Sika venison. My favourite – ragout made from the shoulder topped with whey, served first. Then perfectly rare loin, with crispy kale, beetroot and blackberry sauce.
Gingerbread, roots and pine
Forced rhubarb, peach leaf, birch sap, blood orange
Apples (from their own garden), woodruff, birch sap, apple marigold
Blackcurrant, meadowsweet and honey (from their own hives and our favourite dessert – not too sweet).
As mentioned, when we ate the last one, we were back in the lounge. Then coffee arrived, along with a selection of petit fours from which we were invited to make a choice.
Service throughout had been exemplary. I suppose the best description might be “relaxed formality”. It’s a restaurant that, like many others, has a “smart casual” dress code but, unlike many others, the staff are the most formally dressed. This is a team that works effectively as a team, someone always doing what needed to be done at the right time.
Unlike previous visits, we’d decided to stay overnight in one of their handful of very modern, very elegant rooms. Which means, we get to eat their really lovely breakfast. There’s a small bowl of yoghurt and fruit compote, Followed by smoked salmon with cream cheese and few slices of homemade fennel and garlic salami. And, finally, a soft boiled egg, rare breed pork sausages, homemade black pudding and streaky bacon. Sourdough bread and a croissant make up the carbs.