Review: The Woodhouse

By Tim Burke

It’s always a pleasant drive to the Charnwood forest-fringed village of Woodhouse Eaves. Finding this restaurant at the end of your journey makes it just about perfect. Smart but not stuffy, chic but welcoming, The Woodhouse hits plenty of right notes from the beginning.

Tastebuds were awoken by a terrific turnip and white onion soup with garlic foam, and starters showed one of the restaurant’s real strengths – well-conceived dishes with great flavour combinations. The Woodhouse Salad was outstanding: gamey pigeon breast and strips of home-cured duck were mixed with well-dressed leaves, crunch coming from tempura hazelnuts, sharpness from pickled pear and apple. A salmon plate combined smoked fish, blinis and a just-cooked slice that had real depth.

Good practice in the kitchen was reflected by labour-intensive main courses. Excellent Belvoir Estate venison came as tender, rare slices and a block of slow-cooked shoulder. The plate offered a palette of purples with classic braised red cabbage, plump blackberries, purple potatoes and a liquorice – enhanced reduction. Medallion of beef also showed both care and imagination, matched with ox-cheek fondant, bone marrow, autumn greens and a watercress purée.

Pre-dessert was a smooth and rich chocolate mousse with pistachio biscuit, while I also devoured an elegantly- constructed chocolate cylinder encasing a white chocolate and passionfruit mousse with hibiscus sorbet. The mousse needed to be lighter to let the fruit flavour through but this was still a treat.

A warm welcome, high-quality ingredients and rigour and skill in the kitchen – The Woodhouse offers a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

The Woodhouse

CUISINE: Modern European.
PRICE PER HEAD: £40-£45 (for three courses and drinks).
KIDS WELCOME: Yes. DOGS: No.
CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: At side.
FOOD TIMES: Mon – closed; Tue to Fri 12-2.30pm, 6.30–10pm; Sat 7pm–10pm; Sun 12–4pm.

Menu samples
Three courses: £35

STARTERS
Wild mushroom and quail egg ravioli, watercress purée, artichoke froth
Warm prawn and langoustine mousse, fennel broth
MAINS
Tamworth lamb, Provençal veg, spiced cous cous
Red mullet, tomato tarte fine, artichoke barigoule
DESSERTS
Passion fruit soufflé
Pear & amaretto cheesecake

Tim Burke
The author:

Leicestershire editor Tim lives in Leicester has been a journalist for 30 years, and over the last 12 years he has been restaurant critic for Metro, Great Food Club and the Leicester Mercury. He is also author of 2016 publication The Leicestershire and Rutland Cookbook.