Michelin Starred Food at John’s House, Mountsorrel

Reviewing John’s House in Mountsorrel has been on my wish list for a long time now. Firstly because as of September last year, it was the first and only place in Leicestershire to get a Michelin star and secondly, because it is literally a stone throw from my mum’s house. To be honest, I’m embarrassed that I’ve not made it in sooner!


People don’t really think of the East Midlands as a foodie hotspot but it’s definitely on the up. Of course we have Sat Bains waving the flag for us with his gorgeous two star restaurant in Nottingham (read my review here) and Fishers at Baslow Hall in Derbyshire where incidentally, John Duffin (head chef and the John of John’s House) took up his first serious role as Chef de Partie at age 21.

Sometime around Christmas, I managed to get a table for March. Perfectly coinciding with my mums birthday. When the date finally arrived, we took the liberty of a glass of bubbles at her house before strolling down for lunch.

John’s House restaurant is inside the farmhouse of Stonehurst Farm. Walking into an unassuming side door, you enter a small farm kitchen style room which, when we were there, had a lovely fire going. In my family, we don’t need asking twice if we want to drink champers so once we were settled in the ante room we ordered a bottle of fizz. At £45, their entry level champagne was equally as tasty as the Bollinger we’d just had at home.

I have to admit I was surprised when I saw the lunch menu on account of how limited it is. No vegetarian option available unless you pre-order and only two choices per course. I’ve eaten lunch at several fine dining restaurants (such a good value way of eating Michelin meals!) and I would have expected three choices. Unfortunately, my criticism doesn’t stop there. The choice for both starters and mains was fish and beef.

After devouring the most delicious bread and whipped butter, we looked forward to our starters. My stepdad had the Braised Oxtail, Oxtail Broth, English Mustard and Crispy Barley. Being a big meat lover, he was the only one who opted for beef on both courses. I got to try a small amount of the broth (which was delicious) but he gobbled up the rest before I could snaffle some. Suffice to say, it was apparently delicious.

The rest of us opted for the Lightly Smoked Loch Duart Salmon, Oyster, Cucumber and Horseradish Cream and oh my goodness, it was sublime. The oyster emulsion and horseradish cream brought a sharp, saltiness to the soft fish, making this a dish that I’ll remember.  It was certainly comparable to some of the best Michelin food I’ve eaten elsewhere. 

For mains, Andy, Dave and I went for the Beef Short Rib in Chinese Five Spice with Charred Sweetcorn, Spring Onion and Pak Choi.  Mum had the Poached Fillet of Cornish Pollock with Mussels, Barley and Samphire. 
 
As you can see, every dish was stunningly presented – true works of art on the plate. But, on taste, the mains did fall a little short on expectation. The beef was cooked to varying degrees – Dave’s was perfect but mine and Andy’s were a little tough, it seems like they needed cooking just a bit longer to really make the meat melt in the mouth. The charred sweet corn and vegetables were a delight though. The Chinese five spice and rich meaty jus were also perfect and a little bit different. 
 
Mums dish was very pretty to look at. That’s it though. Sadly, once that beautifully poached fish and mussels had been eaten, all that remained was a seemingly endless sea of stodgy barley. She was disappointed with it and understandably so. 
 
 

We shared a couple of puds between us. The names escape me and I wasn’t clever enough to take a copy of the menu. Some kind of rice pudding with poached fruit and Yorkshire rhubarb with a sherry vinegar ice cream. They were both lovely but not mind-blowing. Andy asked for cream to go alongside his pudding rather than ice cream. He was told they had no cream in the house. A few minutes later, some was found for him but a bit of a fuss was made.

I don’t like to criticise and I’ll always give credit where it’s due. For me, John’s House, whilst being a lovely experience, didn’t live up to the Michelin experience we’d hoped for. It was a special lunch and we really enjoyed ourselves but at close to £200 for four people, I’m not sure the price tag was appropriate. 
 
Michelin starred? On this occasion – almost but not quite. 

We paid for our meal at John's House and they did not know that I was planning to review our experience.  All opinions are my own (with some input from the mother as always).

Leave a comment

  1. 14th April 2016 / 10:51 am

    Sounds over-priced to me… the food looks stunningly presented, but it annoys me when Michelin Star restaurants rest on their laurels, especially when you'd waited months to eat there!

  2. 14th April 2016 / 10:58 am

    It looks amazing! Nice touch to start with bubbles 🙂 The food certainly looks amazing (particularly the charred sweetcorn salad), so it's a shame that it didn't live up to your expectations and felt overpriced.

  3. 14th April 2016 / 12:17 pm

    Oh I can see why you were disappointed overall. The limited menu must make it very hard for a lot of people, I would have chosen the same as you but for a lot of people there wouldn't be anything…? The presentation is lovely, the choice of desserts would have disappointed me too. What a shame.

  4. 14th April 2016 / 2:17 pm

    It was a bit disappointing and I wanted so much to love it – being that it's the first place in Leicestershire to get a star!

  5. 20th April 2016 / 4:11 pm

    A great well balanced review. I wish there were more nice places to eat within walking distance from me! Love the tip about the lunch menus too, I find them a great way of trying fancy places 🙂 xx

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