Dining out at Le Talbooth, Dedham
PUBLISHED: 16:38 23 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:38 23 May 2013
N interior designer's job is a difficult one, I assume, as the old adage of not being able to please all the people probably applies here. When I heard that Le Talbooth had been given a fresh new face I was intrigued. Here's a restaurant steeped in Milsom tradition, loved by its loyal diners, yet still needing to attract a newer and younger audience
I wondered how they would fare trying to marry the two. The answer is simple, clean lines! While retaining the olde world splendour that is synonymous with this charming building, a crisp, fresh appearance adds vibrancy and warmth. When you arrive at reception you might be thrown off course by the large white lamps which feature in the grounds. However, inside the restaurant you’ll see each of the tables now has a cube-shaped ‘Milsom’ lamp which spreads a welcoming soft glow on to the white-clothed tables. Gone are the rigid, red, upright high-backed chairs, now there’s a warmer more inviting fawn.
Discrete chrome curtain poles and down lighters gives the whole area a new chic aura and yet all that was best about this foodie mecca has been retained, including an award-winning menu and picturesque riverside views from the leaded windows. When I arrived, homemade breads were offered – from an interesting selection I chose the beetroot bread, served warm with rosemary and shallot butter – an excellent accompaniment to my glass of sauvignon blanc.
I began with cumin roasted scallops served on a rectangular dish with tiny cauliflower florets, almonds, curry and Sauternes velouté; tricky to find a non-imperious partner for such a delicate dish but the chef pulled it off in spectacular style. My main course was breast of creedy carver duck. It arrived served with a confit leg, a chargrilled spring onion, shemiji mushroom, air-dried shallot rings and game chips complemented by a blackened onion puree and a peppercorn sauce. Two slices of blushed duck breast arrived, the meat incredibly tender and oozing with delicious juices, plus a side dish of fresh green beans. I could see why this is one of the most popular dishes on the a la carte menu.
Desserts featured vanilla bean panacotta and triple chocolate brownie with hazelnut brittle and the Talbooth tiramisu served with amaretto ice cream and 75% chocolate ganache, but sadly sampling had to wait for another day.