The Wildflower Restaurant
It’s floor to ceiling glass panelled doors leading out onto a terrace give great views across an expansive lawn to the Tavy Valley and Cornwall beyond. The restaurant has a modern decor with bold colours but still feels traditional and in keeping with the era the hotel was built. Tradition with a modern twist which is carried through to the menus; traditional dishes with unexpected twists
The Wildflower Restaurant appointed the award winning South African Bruce Cole as head chef in April 2013. He previously held the executive chef role at Cape Town’s five-star Cape Grace Hotel and is passionate about using local produce. Menus are designed around what’s available locally and seasonally; honest cuisine I call it.
We chose goat’s cheese panacotta with pine nuts for our starter. I am a great fan of goat’s cheese and I love pine nuts too. My wife likes a subtle tasting goats cheese so was taking a small risk here. The texture of the pannacotta was perfect and had that subtle hint of goat’s cheese coming through. The marriage of pine nuts with pannacotta is not one I would have thought of but was a delightful pairing.
You can’t get much more traditional than lamb, roast potatoes and peas with rosemary and/or mint sauce. Without the modern twist that is all you would get. At the Wildflower Restaurant the modern twist was herb encrusted lamb rump on a bed of rosti, pea and mint sauce and rosemary jus.
I am very fussy when it comes to red meat. I like it cooked just the well done side of medium rare. The lamb arrived with a hint of pink just the way I like it. The waiter had done well to convey to the chef my exact requirements or the chef had translated them perfectly. Either way the lamb was perfect. The pea and mint sauce was an unusual way to include both the mint and peas of the more traditional dish and went well with the lamb. The whole dish was completed with the rosemary jus, a herb that traditionally goes with lamb.
Sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce is another traditional dish but putting clotted cream with it was inspired. By its very nature sticky toffee pudding is going to be sweet and rich. Too often though, the taste of toffee is swamped by the sticky sweetness. The Wildflower Restaurant version was an extremely light toffee tasting pudding with tiny crunchy bits of toffee. The chef was spot on with this dish; the balance of flavours was just right. The best sticky toffee pudding I have come across; better even than the original in Cumbria?
After choosing the pannacotta starter my wife deviated from my choices. For the main course she tried the Devon raised beef which she found a little on the tough side. For dessert she chose a selection of ice-cream from Devon’s premier ice-cream maker, Langage Farm, served on a bed of chocolate soil and was not disappointed
Service was personal, friendly and attentive but not overly so. We were given plenty of time to make our choice and the advice given was spot on.
Recently The Wildflower Restaurant received the accolade The Best Restaurant in the South West. In my opinion it is a well deserved title and quite an achievement coming just six months after the arrival of a new head chef.
The Wildflower Restaurant is open to non-residents and is popular with locals; always a good sign. After a day exploring Dartmoor or the Tavy valley it is just the place for a relaxed unpretentious meal.
Declaration: I visited Dartmoor and the Tavy Valley as a guest of The Moorland Garden Hotel. However, I retain full editorial control at all times and my opinions are made on the experience I had at the time.