Multi award-winning local hotel launches the ultimate dining experience
When one of the finest award winning country house hotels in the UK embarks on a £¼ million kitchen refurbishment, it can only mean something big is coming. It has now arrived! East Lodge in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District has used this major redevelopment to launch a Chef’s Table – backed up by the very latest culinary equipment and technology – to create an overall experience that is unrivalled in the region.
“This has been no ordinary kitchen facelift,” said East Lodge managing director, Iain Hardman. “But rather a complete redesign - including removing several load bearing 3ft thick original walls to make room for the latest state-of-the-art equipment and the jewel in the crown – a Chef’s Table to showcase the talents of East Lodge’s renowned Head Chef Simon Bradley and his team.”
The restaurant re-opened to great acclaim at the end of January with the building work completed in just three weeks but extra time has been lavished on the Chef’s Table, which has been developed as a spectacular centrepiece to allow up to eight privileged guests to dine in style, while able to marvel at the skill and passion that goes into every dish that Simon and his brigade of chefs create. Viewing the chefs at work through a custom designed glass privacy screen provides a unique insight into one of the finest kitchens in the land - allowing guests to enjoy the real life kitchen ambiance and feel a part of the entire process as culinary masterpieces are crafted before your eyes.
“The Chef’s Table is a real highlight, where people can enjoy fine dining while watching our kitchen staff at work,” said East Lodge Head Chef Simon Bradley. “The new space and layout means this is one of the best kitchens I have ever seen internationally, and we now have space for all the very latest equipment, including a walk-in fridge and specialist cooking tools like a plancha.”
Simon knows a good kitchen when he sees one, having enjoyed a stellar career that has seen him cook everywhere from the Paris Ritz to Raymond Blanc’s celebrated Le Manoir and has worked for the biggest names in the business, from Raymond himself to Oliver Payton of Great British Menu fame and has been instrumental in ensuring the Chef’s Table is an experience to savour.
Simon and the East Lodge team have worked hard to ensure that the atmosphere is not ‘painted on the walls’ with this Chef’s Table, but experienced ‘live’, putting guests at an inner ‘secret’ table, at the heart of the restaurant’s action.
Central to the concept of the Chef’s Table will be custom crafted Tasting Menus. Designed exclusively by Simon himself for guests using the Chef’s Table, the Tasting Menus aim to appeal to those culinary connoisseurs who appreciate the subtle differences between dishes and the impact fine wines can have on the palate when the two are combined for maximum gastronomic effect.
“The Tasting Menus allow us to expand the horizons of Chef’s Table diners by showing off not only our culinary expertise, but also our knowledge of wines,” added Iain. “Following Simon’s discussions with our sommelier, we can advise diners of the best wines to complement every dish, tailoring each to blend flawlessly with the dishes on the menu.”
As news of a Chef’s Table at East Lodge spread, some of the biggest names in local design stepped forward to be a part of delivering the ultimate dining experience. Matlock’s famous Indigo Furniture is sponsoring the table, as its rustic yet contemporary designs dovetail perfectly with the East Lodge style of traditional approach to excellence, but with a subtle, modern twist. Indigo has designed furniture for several hit TV shows from Grand Designs to the X-Factor and East Lodge is looking forward to receiving VIP’s at their own Indigo sponsored star table.
What promises to be the premier restaurant experience in the region is now available to book, but potential customers are advised that early demand is likely to keep booking places at a premium.
Owned by the Hardman family, this multi-award winning venue has remained at the top by constantly improving its service and living by the motto that good enough just isn’t good enough; a drive for excellence that has led not only to the development of the new Chef’s Table, but to this Hotel of the Year to be one of only 48 hotels in the country to be awarded a Visit England Gold Award and to have scooped the silver award at the national finals of the Enjoy England Excellence Awards in 2011 for Outstanding Customer Service. Bon appetit!