Profile: Langar Hall, Vale of Belvoir
By Emma Ansell
The word ‘Langar’, as well as being the name of a Nottinghamshire village, is also Sanskrit for, ‘a place where pilgrims receive nourishment’. Fitting, because Langar Hall is a jewel in the Midlands’ gastronomic crown. Sitting in the Vale of Belvoir, this apricot coloured Georgian country house nestles in parkland next to a beautiful church.
Langar Hall was built in 1837 and over the past 28 years has evolved into a boutique hotel and restaurant without losing the cosy feel of a family home. Proprietor Imogen Skirving (her book The Reluctant Restaurateur is a must-read), diminutive in size yet statuesque in charisma, has – with her loyal and talented team – created a Pandora’s box of charm and hospitality.
Having been lucky enough to dine here on several occasions and also stay on the eve of my wedding, Langar has a special place in my affections. I recall arriving in the frost of a December evening and hearing carols come from the adjoining 12th century church. I felt wrapped in the goodwill and sparkle that Langar does so well – it was a truly magical moment.
The décor and artefacts arranged throughout the Hall are a mix of new and old: sculpture, art and furnishings gathered over the years, and each of the 12 rooms are unique. Enjoy the light of the Garden Room for afternoon tea, or spill on to the terrace and soak up the gardens during light lunches. The Library offers privacy and I am in no doubt that the Indian Room has seen many a good party. The romantic pillared dining room is the heart of Langar, where locally sourced or home-grown seasonal food is served, such as twice baked cheese soufflé, and lamb from the estate. Simple food cooked to perfection in an English style that matches the ambience, not without Langar’s customary quirk. During the season their game dishes are sublime and the wine cellar is extensive.
If you are looking for a slice of nirvana in this busy, modern society then Langar Hall is worth the pilgrimage on your special occasion.
The Langar chefs
Head chef Gary Booth (left) has been with Langar Hall for almost 12 years. He says the kitchen team are a “big family” with great passion for the food they create and the Langar Hall philosophy. Sous Chef Ross Jeffery (right) started as kitchen assistant when he was 14. An enthusiastic innovator, Ross has worked at three-star Michelin establishments Per Se in New York under Jonathan Benno, sister restaurant French Laundry in California with Thomas Keller, and Hambleton Hall, bringing new ideas back to Langar.
Specialities: Seasonal food; game; creative dishes with a ‘Langar Hall quirk’
Food times: Restaurant: 12-2pm and 7-9.30pm, seven days. Garden room: 11am-7pm except at weekends
Flatleaf parsley velouté, lemon spaetzle, creamed goats cheese, £7
Poached octopus, violet artichokes, Jersey royals, salsa verde, £10.50
Indian tapas: Bombay potatoes, lentil dhal, spiced chick peas etc., £14
Fillet of Blackberry Farm beef, sauté potatoes, Lyonnaise onions, slow roast tomatoes, sauce Béarnaise, £24
Vanilla pannacotta, Riesling marinated summer berries, £6.50
Belvoir Stilton, Colston Bassett, Cropwell Bishop & Clawson, £9.50