Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know just how much I love good food, so I was absolutely delighted when The Bloke and I received an invitation to a dinner party at Dewsall Court, with the menu designed and created by the Masterchef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.
With a colourful history that dates back to 1644, the building was in a derelict state by 1989 until it was purchased by the Robinson family, making them the first family to live in the property since the reign of Queen Anne.
They spent a decade restoring the building and lived there happily until 2007, when the patriarch Joe sadly passed away. In 2009, the decision was made for the home to be turned into an exclusive use, 10 bedroom venue, which is run by Jane, her children Joseph and Samantha and Samantha’s husband, Julian. Set within 15 acres of land, overlooking the Black mountains, every aspect of the house has been completed to an exquisite standard, being the epitome of country house charm and elegance. As most of my pictures haven’t done it justice, I have used most of these directly from their Instagram page (@Dewsall.Court) – click on the images for full view…
The Bloke and I made the journey from Birmingham to Dewsall Court (which is about six miles south of Hereford), in just over 90 minutes, which wasn’t bad considering the a large part of our journey was done during rush hour traffic on the M5. However, it isn’t the easiest place to find, requiring a sat nav and a phonecall or two to locate the secluded winding drive that led to the main building and it was very dark by the time we arrived. Thankfully, the driveway had been lit by firetorches, adding an immediate air of excitement.
Even in the dark, however, the buildings and surrounding grounds were stunning and we were warmly greeted by Samantha, who showed us to the room we would be staying in:
The beautiful room with the four-poster bed.
And the enormous bathroom.
With the enormous bath, where the water poured from the ceiling when the taps were turned on… deliberately.
Like little children who had just been let loose on holiday, The Bloke and I lost all sense of decorum and promptly ran around squeaking at just how incredible our room was and taking photographs. Again, my pictures don’t do it justice, but it was one of the nicest rooms we had ever stayed in – click on the images for a full view.
We got changed and went back downstairs to meet the other guests, where we were promptly provided with a lovely cocktail and some nice conversation. We were introduced to Ping, who explained a little about what we would be eating and what some of her influences were, and then we were shown into the beautiful dining room which housed an enormous, beautifully decorated and candlelit table. I loved the fact that it was elegant and yet felt completely unpretentious – everyone was welcome.
The Bloke and I found ourselves seated right on the middle of the family owners. I recently read a review in the Guardian that described them as ‘natural born hosts,’ and this couldn’t have been more accurate – they were enormously welcoming, warm and funny and we were immediately put at ease.
And then came the food. Four courses of perfectly cooked and presented dishes, with carefully matched wine pairings. This was what we were treated to:
Each course was glorious – perfectly spiced with flavours that complimented each other extremely well. I particularly love the Mutton Curry, which was so soft that it was practically falling apart. It may have been a first, but the brownie was so rich and decadent that even I couldn’t finish it all. Luckily, The Bloke stepped in and finished it for me.
We got the chance to have a little more conversation with Ping, taking the opportunity to ask about the realities of being on a show like Masterchef and asking if we could have some pictures with her. She graciously obliged, and her conversation was as good as her food.
By the time the meal had finished, it was getting late and The Bloke and I retired to bed as we had a ridiculously early start the following morning so he could be back in Birmingham in time for work and we were so disappointed that we couldn’t have further chance to talk to the other guests. Unfortunately, we were so early in leaving that we missed breakfast, but we left them a little note with the key to say thank you for a wonderful evening.
Absolutely one of the best experiences we’ve had in a while!
Dewsall Court is an exclusive venue that is available (and perfect) for weddings, dinner parties and functions – there is even an on-site chapel!
I cannot recommend the venue (and its owners!) enough – it’s the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and I challenge you not to fall in love with it!
You can also find them on Twitter @Dewsall
Don’t forget to check out their instagram page too! http://www.instagram.com/dewsall.court
Disclaimer: The Bloke and I were offered the room, the dinner party with Ping Coombes and breakfast at no charge, but we were under no obligation to provide a positive review. I know, it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it!