Restaurant review: The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow, Derbyshire
The newly refurbished Garden Room at The Cavendish Hotel, in Derbyshire's Peak District, makes a spectacularly scenic spot for lunch – with a warm welcome, and attentive and friendly service.
The conservatory-style building features a wall of windows offering panoramic vistas across the Chatsworth Estate.
“The views are beautiful whatever the season, and whatever the weather!” says Restaurant Manager Stuart Bond.
We have to agree with him – the outlook is outstanding, and all the tables in the Garden Room are positioned to take full advantage of the view. It's a calm and stylish space with an informal, relaxed atmosphere – and the food that's served here is of the same excellent quality as the meals that can be enjoyed in the hotel's more formal Gallery Restaurant.
The menu in the Garden Room features classic British dishes, expertly cooked by The Cavendish Hotel chef Alan Hill and focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Starters include Derbyshire smoked chicken Caesar salad, garlic king prawns with sweet chilli sauce, and an antipasti platter of smoked meats, bread, olives and cured fish.
If you enjoy a post-lunch coffee, the house blend is a superb, smooth blend of Java and Santos – prepared exclusively for the hotel by Heavenly Coffee near Sheffield. Coffee is served with a selection of petits fours, including melt-in-the-mouth pineapple jellies and miniature pistachio macarons.
“Much of the produce used in our kitchen comes from the Estate,” Stuart told us. “We use vegetables from the kitchen garden at Chatsworth House, meat reared on the Estate, and products from the Farm Shop. Anything else we can't produce here is sourced as locally as possible.”
A good example of this is the main course of honey roast Derbyshire ham, which is served with locally produced eggs and hand-cut chips. This is a hearty meal, with sweet and succulent slices of ham topped with two perfectly cooked eggs.
Chatsworth Gold battered haddock is another main course with a local twist – Chatsworth Gold is a beer made by Peak Ales, using honey from the Chatsworth Estate. The resulting batter is crisp and golden, with a subtle sweetness that complements the moist, flaky haddock beautifully.
Desserts include rhubarb soufflé, a light and fluffy tower topped with a crunchy crumb topping and served with a cascade of sweet rhubarb sauce. A soft mound of lightly spiced cardamom ice cream offsets the sweetness of the dessert perfectly.
Another option is the blackcurrant and apple crumble tart, served with vanilla ice cream and garnished with a scattering of delicate, refreshing lemon balm leaves. Apple desserts are all too often over-sweetened, but this tart is just right – allowing the full, natural flavours of the fruit to shine through.
If you don't make it to The Cavendish in time for lunch, don't worry – there's always Afternoon Tea. This homemade selection of open sandwiches, cakes, and scones with cream and jam can be served with a glass of house champagne – and with the fabulous views from the Garden Room, would be the perfect treat for a special occasion.
There has been an inn on the site of The Cavendish Hotel for so long, that it's uncertain when it was first built – but it dates back until at least the 1700s.
Originally The Peacock Inn, it became part of the Duke of Devonshire's estate around 1830 – and in the early 1970s was restored and restyled as The Cavendish Hotel.
The Gallery restaurant, so named after the collection of paintings from the Devonshire Collection, is open daily for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The Garden Room is open all day for informal dining.
In addition The Kitchen Table, reputedly the first such invention in the UK, provides diners with a thrilling and innovative dining experience in the heart of the kitchen. The experience for up to four guests offers a bespoke menu and a chance to see an award-winning kitchen in action.