We might not be jetting off abroad this summer, but we’re feeling those chic chateau South of France vibes on home turf thanks to Middleton Lodge Estate’s new stretch tent at The Coach House courtyard. As if the Estate didn’t already have enough for us to swoon over, this all-new alfresco dining option just adds to the package. A pretty-as-a-picture place to relax, unwind and indulge come rain or shine.
You’ll find little pockets of rustic paradise scattered across the Estate – with the Coach House sitting at its heart. Throw in a Georgian country mansion, a whimsical walled garden, quaint cottages and the cosy covered courtyard and you’ve got the ultimate country retreat in a quiet spot just moments from the A1.
We’re here for a late summer supper. Sipping on a refreshing G&T as the sun sets over the estate and the twinkling fairy lights come out to play.
The new stretch tent effortlessly blends the outside and inside space, creating a peaceful place to drink and dine alfresco, and watch as the sun sinks behind the trees and the stars light up the night sky. The structure, designed by Estate owners, James and Rebecca Allison, has been created to compliment the restaurant’s relaxed lighting and natural colour tones. It stretches from the main Coach House doors, right across the courtyard to the reception and shop. It’s simple, minimalistic and makes the most of the glorious green surroundings. Pair that with clinking glasses, chatty dinners and twinkling fairy lights and we feel like we’ve been whisked away to a buzzy French chateau.
The Estate’s talented sommeliers and mixologists have been working hard on a sensational summer wine and garden cocktail menu, with choices perfect for an al fresco drink in the sun. We kick things off with a refreshing G&T and a local draught beer, before embracing the summer garden party vibes with an elegant bottle of resting rose. Bliss.
The enchanting courtyard has been perfectly timed with the launch of a new summer menu, curated by the restaurant’s head chef, Gareth Rayner. As ever, Gareth’s glorious dishes are inspired by the Estate’s ever-changing kitchen garden – using much of its produce to form the vibrant new menu. New dishes include: beetroot and horseradish cured salmon, Moroccan chicken and carrot salad, chargrilled rump steak, bakewell tart and vanilla panacotta. The Coach House ethos is all about fresh, seasonal produce, served in a luxe, laid-back environment. The perfect recipe for sunshine dining.
The menu is built around modern British dishes, taking inspiration from the gardens, veg patches and glorious grounds that flank Middleton Lodge Estate.
What we ate
We kick things off with the chargrilled broccoli starter (£9) – served with Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnuts and a coating of 36-month parmesan. So simple yet oh-so tasty. Our dinner date opts for the ground lamb (£8) served on a flat bread with cucumber, pomegranate, yoghurt and a refreshing, minty topping.
It’s the Low Harperley Farm crispy lamb shoulder (£22) for main, served with peas, pancetta, hispi cabbage and black garlic. A fantastic fusion of flavours from the garden, perfectly complimenting the locally-sourced meat. Melt-in-the-mouth lamb with a crispy coating is something of a foodie revolution. We’re sold! Our chum chows down on a chargrilled 8oz sirloin (£26), finished with roast cherry tomatoes, house salad and skinny fries. A good steak says a lot about a restaurant, and this one has a solid 10/10 from us.
Something sweet to finish? Of course. The clear winner is the chocolate brownie sundae (£8), served with a dreamy combo of caramel popcorn and vanilla ice cream. The perfect end to a perfect late summer supper on the Estate.