Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthday Celebration: Part 3 (Fancy Dinner)

After the most perfect afternoon at the spa, it was time for a luxury dinner at the Burlington in the Devonshire Arms--one of Yorkshire's best restaurants. The location is absolutely stunning, right near Bolton Abbey.

Our reservations were for 7:00 p.m., but they asked us to arrive at 6:30. They sat us in the cocktail lounge where we ordered dirty martinis and were offered canapés. The chef made a roasted red pepper puree with tomato water jelly and goat cheese. It's hard to describe, but it was so refreshing and surprising. It was an excellent start to our meal!


Roasted red pepper, tomato and goat cheese

We then moved into the dining room to start our eight-course (!) tasting menu. First up, a grapefruit and basil "mojito." It was too sour for me, but the chef used really cool techniques that I've only seen on TV, like foams, jellies, and other molecular gastronomy tricks.

Grapefruit basil mojito

Our next course was a strawberry and red pepper gazpacho with goats cheese curd and basil. The picture doesn't do it justice at all. This was one of my favorite courses of the night. It was fantastic--almost like drinking a strawberry daquiri. The cheese was just perfect too. Once again I was in awe of the chef's cool techniques--a theme that continued through the night.

Strawberry and red pepper gazpacho

At this point we were also offered freshly baked breads with gourmet butters; I chose roasted red pepper with herbs and sea salt and used a roasted red pepper butter. YUM!

Our third course was my favorite of the night. It was a braised white asparagus with hen's yolk and girolle mushrooms. The egg yolk was cooked sous-vide so the texture was absolutely perfect. It was runny, but also slightly gelatinous. The mushroom puree was pure heaven, and the mushrooms added a great woody taste. The dish also had a mushroom foam that was creamy and salty at the same time. I was thisclose to licking my plate.

Braised white asparagus with hen's yolk

Course four was roasted cauliflower with cous-cous, curried raisins, carrot juice and cilantro. The cauliflower was perfectly caramelized and the cauliflower puree was really flavorful.

Roasted cauliflower

Time for a break to order wine. It takes a while considering the Burlington has more than 30,000 bottles!

The wine list

We were debating which wine to get, but then we saw this and had to go for it...just kidding!

£4,000 bottle of wine from 1899!

Next up, course number five: mushroom risotto with parmesan ice cream and sherry vinegar jellies. I've never had parmesan ice cream before, but it was so good! It tasted exactly like it sounds. I loved the combination of the hot risotto, the cold ice cream and the airy mushroom foam. Dan and I were joking that the chef must have gotten a huge delivery of mushrooms and red peppers because those were pretty much in every dish. Good thing I love them both!

Mushroom risotto with parmesan ice cream

You can tell this restaurant has a Michelin star from the excellent service we received. From the time we walked in the door we were constantly looked after by a slew of servers--our final count was eight just for us! When the head server found out that we ate fish but no meat, he suggested modifying the set vegetarian menu to include fish as the main course. They even printed a new menu for us to reflect this change. So, course number six was John Dory with sweet corn, mushrooms and purslaine (a sea herb).

John Dory with sweet corn puree

The fish was crispy on the outside and flaky and tender on the inside. It was perfectly seasoned too. The sweet corn puree was a perfect compliment to the fish, and I loved trying the purslaine which was crunchy and salty.

At this point I am definitely feeling the effects of the previous six courses. Although I am loving each course, I'm pretty grateful we're moving on to dessert. Turns out desserts were not my favorite. They just weren't the kind of flavors I like. Dan enjoyed them though.

Our seventh course and first dessert was a mango granita, cream cheese ice cream and oat biscuit. The mango granita was really refreshing, but I didn't like the cream cheese ice cream at all. It was way too tangy for me. Dan said he liked the range of flavors and textures though.

Mango granita with cream cheese ice cream

The final course of the evening, course eight, was a mint chocolate galette with mint and crème fraiche ice cream. Again, this wasn't my favorite because I don't love mint. I was really hoping it would be just plain chocolate, but it wasn't. There was a lot of great texture to this dessert, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Chocolate galette with mint and crème fraiche ice cream

We had the option to add a cheese course to our meal, but I couldn't even imagine it! The cheese cart looked great though. We found out that the restaurant trims each block of cheese daily to ensure that only the freshest sections are served. They also take the cheese out an hour before service to ensure that it will be the proper temperature when served.

Needless to say, this was an incredible meal that I'll remember for a long time. Is my husband the best, or what?

Catch up on my other birthday celebrations:
Part 1: Sushi Dinner
Part 2: Spa Day


  1. What a wonderful birthday!!!

  2. You have quite the husband! That will be a birthday you'll never forget.

  3. Wow, I just read this...I loved the description and pics of each course...I wonder how the non-vegans would have looked (I can imagine a very juicy thick steak topped with some sort of savory ice cream.)