We have been completely unable to resist returning to The Woodspeen. This time we are meeting our good friends José and Matilde to see whether this place can live up to the premier league standards of our last visit!
We are seated opposite the pass of the open kitchen – it feels like we are at the chef’s table. Matilde kicks things off with a glass of prosecco while José and I both have Curly Rascal – a bespoke golden ale from The Two Cocks Brewery. Rock has relegated alcohol to the sidelines.
Last time we came here we loved the crab raviolo and Matilde decides to give it a try. José selects the hand dived scallops, chicken wings, homemade black pudding, piccalilli & cauliflower. As I love scallops & black pudding and Rock loves chicken wings & piccalilli – we decide to use teamwork and share. We all agree that the kitchen has sailed through the first round!
We are moving into the main draw and I make a play for the pan fried monkfish, spiced pork belly, curly kale, carrot & swede terrine and roasted shallot. It is the best monkfish I have ever eaten – a real matchwinner! Matilde is really enjoying the line caught cod, a midfield of mustard choucroute, artichoke and a really beautiful mixed seed scotch egg. The local pheasant breast with cranberry stuffing arrives for Rock together with a coachload of creamed bacon sprouts. José is attacking the Red Sussex sirloin steak served with a mushroom gratin & a tub of chips offside.
Now it’s time for the final. José & Matilde decide they cannot manage a dessert each and share the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. I choose the mincemeat strudel with a mulled wine sorbet, pear and honey granola. Rock is promoting the custard tart with nutmeg ice cream. The desserts are all a blend of artistry and skill.
There is no doubt in our minds that The Woodspeen is at the top of its game. By the end of the season we think they will be one of few in the mix for the top honours!