Adam Brown, head chef at the Chaddesely Restaurant at Brockencote Hall, is a rising star, with a robust and memorable menu. Andy Lynes reports
Brown was head chef of Eden's Arden hotel before taking over the brigade of eight at Brockencote in November 2011 and worked for the group's executive chef Simon Haigh at the Michelin-starred Mallory Court. His CV also includes stints at Restaurant â¨Gordon Ramsay and with David Everett-Matthias at Le Champignon Sauvage. It's the latter chef's influence that's most clearly evident in robust dishes like pan-fried fillet of brill (supplied by Flying Fish Seafood in Cornwall) with confit duck gizzard and Jew's ear mushrooms. Everitt-Matthias also inspired Brown's growing passion for foraging in the hotel's 72-acre grounds.
In addition to the tasting menu, there's a seasonal Á la carte menu at £44.50 for two courses or £59.50 for three, a set Market lunch menu that offers four choices per course and costs £22.50 for two courses or £29.50 for three, and a set Market dinner menu with three choices per course priced at £32.50 for two courses and £42.50 for three.
Sunday lunch in the 50-seat dining room costs £29.95 for three courses and is fully booked two months ahead, contributing to the 500 covers Brown estimates he serves a week. The menu features roast striploin of local â¨Hereford/Charolais cross beef supplied by the Village Butcher in nearby Chaddesly Corbett, which also supplies the sirloin of Dexter beef that's currently served with smoked ox tongue, heritage carrots and red wine onions.
Brown claims not to have a best selling dish but does admit that maple glazed calf's sweetbreads with parsley and snail cannelloni is one of the more popular. His favourite dishes on his current menu include iced tangerine mousse in a white chocolate shell with carrot sorbet and buttermilk granita, and a deceptively simple yet impressive scallop dish.
"The scallops are pan-fried and finished with butter and lemon juice and paired with Jerusalem artichoke. We leave the skins on and roast them down, which gives it a really nutty flavour, then finish it with chicken stock and milk, blitz it back, strain it off and then into the Vita-Prep. We add the liquid back in until we get the right consistency and add the smallest amount of Xanthum gum to make it bind," explains Brown.
He finishes the dish with raw Jerusalem artichoke that's been soaked in acidulated water, sliced on a truffle slicer and dressed with olive oil, lemon and rock salt; simply roasted crosnes (Japanese artichoke), flash fried squid, roasted hazelnut praline crumbs, a dice of fresh apple and nasturtium flowers for a peppery note.
"I'm not trying to be wacky," says Brown summing up his approach to cooking. "I'm not trying to wow to the point of where it's ridiculous, I don't think you need to do that. It's got to be seasonal food, cooked simply and with a focus on the flavour. All the techniques we use will help that but the day and age of putting a million things on the plate has gone."
Sample dishes from the menu
Croquettes of salt cod brandade, braised cockscombs, garlic cream
Pressed rabbit and foie gras terrine, forced Yorkshire rhubarb, ginger
Roasted quail, leeks winter truffle, fried quail egg
Main courses Roasted sea bass, charred fennel, Cornish crab and â¨pine nuts
Loin of fallow deer, apple and potato terrine, beetroot and bone marrow
Roast wood pigeon, butternut, chicory, mandarin and foie gras
Desserts Salted chicory and bitter chocolate delice, mandarin sorbet
Golden plum, parsnip cake, caramelised honey cream
Muscavado semi freddo, baby pear, pear sorbet
Chaddesley Corbett, â¨Near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY10 4PY