From gardeners and growers to chefs and the front-of-house team, there’s a passion for the connection between food and nature at The Garden Room at the Cavendish at Baslow, says Georga spottiswood
It’s the perfect fairy-tale that starts with a heroine, in this case, Lady Burlington – who oversaw the £1.1million refurbishment of the new-look Garden Room.
The restaurant, at The Cavendish at Baslow, is nestled on the Chatsworth Estate and owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire – whose daughter-in-law, Lady Burlington had a vision to create a charming restaurant which opened in spring.
It’s a tale of true love between the gardeners, growers, chefs, and front-of-house team who all play their part in ensuring visitors receive a ‘happy ever after’ when it comes to dining there.
The hotel and adjoining Garden Room, in the Peak District, sit in an enchanted setting – with views of the rolling hills of the White Peak and the fells looking down on the nearby Chatsworth Estate.
The menu at The Garden Room is simply magical, combining seriously good ingredients with inventive cooking.
The story starts in the Kitchen Garden at the Chatsworth Estate, where salad, fruits and vegetables such as leeks, spinach, beetroot and rhubarb chard are grown in abundance to supply the kitchen of The Garden Room, as well as the Estate.
The Prince Charming of the tale is executive chef Adam, who transforms these wonderful ingredients into tantalising dishes – which change seasonally and in accordance with what’s being grown.
When I had the pleasure of visiting a few months back, the menu – split into ‘From The Farm’, ‘From The Garden and ‘From The Water’ featured vibrant summer flavours. The lobster risotto, with lobster, parsley, lemon and garlic, was deliciously rich and creamy with the sweet notes of the lobster shining through.
The Chatsworth Kitchen Garden soup was a wonderful, caramelised onion soup with a delectable depth of flavour, from sweet to almost buttery; and eating it just made you feel wholesome.
A crème brûlée was reimagined and instead of a traditional creamy vanilla custard and crunchy topping, the dish featured mango, passionfruit, coconut, black sesame seeds and fennel pollen. The perfect plot to plate dish with a sprinkling of chef sourcery.
Now, the menu features new autumnal delights such as roast locally shot pheasant, served with pearl barley, beetroot, pickled blackberries and a single malt whisky sauce and Chatsworth Farm Lamb Belly with dauphinoise potato and roasted root vegetables.
Classics such as beer-battered haddock and cod fishcakes cater to those looking for more traditional dishes, and there are lighter options such as the superfood salad which currently features beetroot, feta, toasted nuts and seeds, butternut squash, kale and Romanesco.
There’s not only a real romance when it comes to the food at The Garden Room, but the wines too. Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at the hotel, Stuart Bond, has carefully curated a wine and Champagne list that features everything from crisp, delicate whites to soft and smooth or big and rich reds.
We opted for a Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena, highly recommended by Stuart, and it did not disappoint. The wine features a blend of grapes, which are handpicked and left to dry for 120 days before fermentation. It’s full-bodied with flavours of dark fruit and spice.
While you may think that with such high standards running throughout the whole experience at The Garden Room the venue is quite formal, it’s on the contrary. Refined, yet relaxed, the setting brings the outdoors in with full-length windows and the stone wall (which separates the space from the main hotel) is complemented by plants, decorative lamps and vases, tiled flooring and a pop of colour with orange, red and green tones in the furniture and cushions.
The Garden Room is open Monday to Sunday from 12noon to 9pm. To book a table or to find out more, visit: devonshirehotels.co.uk
Stay The Night at The Cavendish at Baslow
Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat, a weekend getaway, or a family escape – coupled with exceptional food – The Cavendish at Baslow ticks all those boxes and more. The country-house hotel in the heart of the Peak District not only comes with stylish rooms; and excellent restaurants – including the three AA Rosette Gallery Restaurant and the new, relaxed Garden Room – but it’s surrounded by unspoilt beauty.
Set within the Duke and Duchess of Devonshires’ The Chatsworth Estate, the hotel sits amidst 35,000 acres of natural beauty – and is within walking distance of the big house itself. Enjoy charming walks, tuck into delightful dishes, rest and recuperate – at The Cavendish Hotel a true country escape awaits.