John’s House (1*) – Mountsorrel (Loughborough, Leicestershire) – Fine Dining
John’s House have joined a small band of East Midlands Michelin star winners; Hambleton Hall, Fischers and Sat Bains. It is also the only establishment in Leicestershire holding that honour. I will happily admit to not having heard of them before they became part of this elite club. The chef, John Duffin, has built his experience with some of the best chefs in the country. The names Marcus Wareing and Simon Rogan particularly stand out.
As restaurants go it is closer in appearance to the Sat Bains dining room styling than the more stately Hambleton Hall. There are both tasting menu and a la carte options. We decided on 3 courses for £47. Having dispensed with some pretty, fishy, pre-meal snacks I selected an all vegetable starter of potato, broccoli with a truffle and cheddar sauce. It was quite a rich dish, the cheese sauce thick, the truffle bringing the luxurious edge. The potatoes were a local heritage variety that was earthy and a neutral foil to the more complex flavours.
The main course was definitely a little more out there. Cod with passion fruit, curry and brawn. Attractive modern presentation couldn’t quite get me over the odd combination of tastes. The excellently cooked fish with fragrant curry sauce worked very well and I loved the addition of the sea vegetables. What I didn’t love was the passion fruit, for me it doesn’t work with the fish nor mixed with curried flavours.
Dessert needed an injection of colour but what it lacked on the eye it made up for in the mouth. Sweet butterscotch and almost medicinal (in a good way) eucalyptus enhanced the natural flavour of the pear. Like the main course it was a unique combination, but one that definitely worked. Hazelnuts and French meringue provided some good textural contrast. A selection of petit fours, presented on a hunk of tree, arrived with coffee. These were diverse and good, one of the things that likely convinced the Michelin inspectors.
Would I recommend John’s House to you? Yes I would. Despite its accolades it isn’t quite a restaurant you must visit, though there are few of those and even fewer locally. Its competition is closer to Harts and La Rock than Sat Bains. I can see why it is rated that little bit more highly, the little extras set it apart and there is more ambition in its menu.
Restaurant website: http://www.johnshouse.co.uk/