Intense, fresh and seasonal flavours are seen throughout chef Tarryn Bingle's La Trompette-influenced menu at this countryside boutique retreat
Chef Tarryn Bingle switched the bright lights of the capital for the depths of the quintessentially English countryside last September. Taking on the head chef role at the remote 18-bedroom Rectory hotel in Crudwell in the Cotswolds has been a little bit of an adjustment, she admits, especially as the weather turned colder.
After training in her native New Zealand before relocating to Sydney to work with Matt Moran at Aria in Sydney and EST under Peter Doyle, she moved to London where her first job was with Anthony Demetre at Arbutus. The past nine years have been spent cooking alongside Rob Weston at Michelin-starred La Trompette in Chiswick, West London, who took on the role of executive chef at the Wiltshire hotel, bringing Bingle and fellow chef Alex Topp from his kitchen with him.
Unsurprisingly, the food is similar to dishes the team once served at La Trompette. "I don't think the food will ever change from what we like to cook – it's about big flavours, good quality and tasty food," she says.
Bingle now looks after a team of six at the Rectory, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests and residents, with the ability to serve up to 70 covers. She still works closely with Weston, who overseas menu development and sourcing, as well as the Rectory's plans to grow its own veg behind its sister pub, the Potting Shed, located across the road.
When The Caterer speaks to Bingle, it's nearing the end of the game season, a time which delights the head chef, who is happiest butchering a whole animal and figuring out how to use cuts on her menu. A recent ‘game night' saw her create a braised venison tongue and cheek dish served with mustard fruit and parsnip.
"Dishes like this are very trial and error and I really enjoy that," says Bingle. This dish starts off by brining venison from Aynhoe Park – the estate managed by Ledbury chef Brett Graham – before smoking and slow-cooking. The meat is served on a liquorice stick, accompanied by an earthy parsnip purée and a mustard fruit chutney made from Granny Smith apples and Coleman's mustard powder. A rich, deep sauce is created from the braising liquor brings the dish together.
Another favourite of Bingle's is her cured trout, English wasabi and blood orange, in which she lightly cures Chalk Stream trout, which is served alongside raw and pickled vegetables and blood oranges, which are swapped out depending on the season.
"We create the wasabi granita by peeling and grating the wasabi into a litre of our own buttermilk, adding a little lemon and seasoning before blending and letting that infuse overnight," she says. "We then churn it in an ice-cream machine. The granita gives the dish an incredible freshness, with a horseradish kick from the wasabi. We're currently using wasabi grown in the South of England. In the past we have grown our own and plan to do the same in the future, but it takes a long time to grow and must have a pure water supply or the whole crop will fail."
Bingle acknowledges that it's an uninspiring time for British-grown produce, "I love the summer – at the moment it's a dead time," says the New Zealander. "I'm waiting for spring, for peas and broad beans, and stone fruits in the summer."
Soufflés are a vehicle for Bingle to share her love of British fruit, with a damson soufflé with damson ripple ice-cream created in the winter and a rhubarb and custard as spring arrives.
"We always had a soufflé on the menu at La Trompette so it was fair to say we needed to do it at the Rectory," she says. "For me a soufflé not only shows technique but also showcases seasonal produce, from English damsons to beautiful Scottish raspberries." But when Bingle and the team turned up at the Rectory they realised the distance from the kitchen to the dining room was much further than at La Trompette. "Everyone knows soufflés drop quickly so we started serving them in coffee cups so they can make it to the table."
As the team push into their first summer season there is still plenty to do in terms of developing the menu and the vegetable garden. "We understand what we've come up here to do," she says. "It's going to take hard work, but that's not an issue for us because we love it."
Crudwell, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9EP
From the menu
- Partridge, chestnut spätzle, black truffle £11
- Warm salad of garden pumpkin, celeriac, pomegranate, ricotta £10
- Roast guinea fowl, toasted grains, pumpkin, quince £24
- Cod, Jerusalem artichokes, hen of the woods, sunflower seed pesto £24
- Agnolotti of white sweet potato, trompette, Parmesan £21
- Roast venison, smoked potatoes, swede, carrot, damson £26
- Bitter chocolate delice, brazil nuts, salted caramel ice-cream £9
- Apple crumble soufflé, damson ripple ice-cream £9
- Warm muscavado tart, crème fraîche £9
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