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.
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.