Review: The William Cecil, Stamford, Lincs

The William Cecil offers relaxed and comfortable dining in charming surroundings. The gardens lead into Burghley Park – the pub is part of the estate – and a walk in the beautiful parkland is a great way to round off Sunday lunch.

A first course of pea pannacotta with prosciutto crisp, pea purée and ham hock fritter managed to be both pretty and satisfying, the little ham hock fritters lending a delicious meaty juiciness to the dish. Vanilla poached salmon with crème fraiche, watercress, cucumber ribbons and sourdough had a texture suggestive of a light curing process subtly enhanced by vanilla. The sourdough provided a wafer-thin and lacy bit of ‘crunch’ and the whole was eye-catchingly served with a scattering of delicate leaves on a Japanese-style plate. In fact, mix and match plates are used throughout, an approach that shows an awareness of food texture and colour.

Roast lamb and roast sirloin of beef both came with Yorkshire puddings filled with fresh and colourful vegetables, a slick of carrot purée and delicious red wine gravy.

A dark chocolate and hazelnut tart was well cooked with that smooth, rich, chocolatey denseness that made a fitting end to a lovely meal and ensured that walk became a necessity!

A small wine list offering a good selection is available by the glass, and friendly but polite service left us feeling mellow, satisfied and ready to enjoy some late afternoon sunshine!

Robin Stewart
The author:

Robin is the founder and head tutor at Rutland Cookery School. He also photographs anything to do with food, cycles, goes fishing and has two grown-up children. He lives in Oakham.