Well what more can you say about this amazing restaurant. On our last visit back in November we clearly felt the bar had been raised to the next level. But low and behold after this visit where after a few staff changes and the input of a brand new menu the quality of food , wine and service has risen again. We visit quite a few Michelin Star restaurants and to me Caractere can easily stand along side them with pride.
So now let me tell you about our latest visit which started with a fabulous welcome before being escorted to our table. Once we’d settled in we were presented with the menu which is a choice of either the three course lunch menu or the six course tasting menu that is split into six categories with two dishes in each. At this point it was nice of owner Emily to come to our table and welcome us back and to have a nice conversation about how things were going and exciting plans for the future. While chatting we were brought a couple of snacks consisting of a Beetroot Tart and Deep Fried Pasta. This was followed by the heavenly Bread and Butter.
Before we started our tasting menu we needed some wine to pair with the first few courses and along with sommelier Marco’s assistance chose a Le Cabanon Viognier from the Rhone valley.
CURIOUS : This is the first section of the tasting menu and what was to arrive were two absolute stunning dishes that set the tone for the entire lunch. They were a Slow Cooked Cuttlefish with potato gnocco , rye bread , cos lettuce and on the side was tempura cuttlefish. The other dish was a Cornish Crab with white asparagus , bronte pistachio , dill oil & kristal caviar.
SUBTLE : Our next dishes were equally as amazing. Firstly I had the signature Celeriac “Cacio e Pepe “ which personally I thought was absolute heaven and definitely the best one to date. My wife chose the supplemented dish of Garlic & Chilli Oil Ravioli with native blue lobster , english peas and a bisque where just a glimpse at her face could simply tell you how good it was.
DELICATE : Now we moved on to the fish course which consisted of Roast Rainbow Trout with british asparagus , mussels & saffron sauce. I was then in for a nice surprise as instead of the the cod chef Diego had kindly sent me Wild Turbot with fermented lemon , black garlic & liquorice that was delicious and thankfully I got the chance to thank him personally a bit later.
ROBUST : This is the main course section and oh my god I was about to receive my dish of the day. It was the Roast Lake District Shorthorn Beef with a stuffed grelot onion and a rich chives jus. Then if that wasn’t enough then on the side was a Lardo and Onion Bread. This was a heavenly rich dish but absolute perfection. My wife had the lighter Roast dry aged Duck with pickled beetroot , wild garlic and red wine jus along with a Duck Confit on the side. These dishes were perfectly paired with two fabulous red wines recommended by Marco.
STRONG : This is the supplemented Cheese Course featuring a selection of five cheeses , homemade seed crackers with an apple & prune chutney.
GREEDY : Now it’s dessert time which began with a delightful pre dessert of a Campari & Strawberry Sorbet with raspberries and pistachio foam. This was followed by a Poached Pink Yorkshire Rhubarb with fermented strawberry and creme anglaise. For myself I opted for the delicious Molten Guanaja Chocolate Tart with pecan , salted caramel and mascarpone ice cream.
We finished with a coffee and madeleines to bring to an end a simply outstanding lunch but not before have a lovely chat with owners Emily & Diego who are such a great couple and where we could personally thank them for a fantastic dining experience. I really can’t recommend a visit to Caractere highly enough because believe me you’ll be in for an absolute treat. All they need now is for Michelin to honour them with a star that they clearly deserve.
Thank You Emily , Diego and all the team for a fabulous lunch and look forward to seeing you all again soon.