The Manor House Lindley is widely seen as one of the country’s best wedding venues, and has the accolades to prove it. But it’s more than just a dream place to tie the knot, it’s a highly-regarded hotel and restaurant too.
We’ll cover the hotel side in a future piece, but first, let’s dive into a meal at the Lantern Room restaurant. This wonderful space was awarded three rosettes in the AA Guide last year, one of only two restaurants in West Yorkshire to have reached these dizzy heights.
The room itself is a treat for aesthetes. Everything is placed perfectly, the ceiling is high, fascinating artwork peppers the walls and there are some truly one-of-a-kind fixtures. It’s clearly one person’s vision, making a refreshing change from the numerous designed-by-committee spaces up and down the country.
It’s a place with personality and soul, and that’s reflected in the staff. They’re young, local, dressed stylishly and glide around cheerfully, beaming with pride. This feeds into the makeup of the diners, too. Many of the North’s top fine dining establishments tend to have a decidedly vintage clientele, but here, the diners range from their 20s upwards, both local and visitors from the rest of the UK.
A big part of this is due to the reasonable pricing. We’re not saying cheap and cheerful, but it’s certainly more affordable than most, considering the quality and breadth of ideas in each dish. And that’s all down to Head Chef John Brewster. His menu is all about seasonal modern British dishes, using premium ingredients foraged as locally as possible.
We open with some scene-setting appetisers, billed as ‘From The Pantry’. First, a dainty little morsel that combines smoked eel and apple to wonderful effect, placed in a tart with a sprig of watercress topping it off. Then there’s bread and butter, or to give it its full title: 36-hour virtuous sourdough, whipped pork fat and cultured butter. Together, they’re a perfect summation of the Lantern Room’s menu – delicate and beautiful, rich and hearty, with powerful flavours from the British countryside.
This continues throughout the meal. For starters (From The Larder), there’s a galantine containing guinea fowl, smoked ham and black pudding that looks like a work of art and tastes like your gran’s greatest-ever cooking, while the salmon and lobster ravioli comes with glazed nduja, resting in a truly magnificent roasted shell bisque that I defy you not to keep dabbing at.
The North Sea cod dish is a must. It’s a fillet of the white fish, hugged by a light savoury mousse made from scallops and mussels, encircled with seaweed, standing tall in a gloriously buttery dulse and caviar sauce. Again, a wonderful match of modern cooking and traditional ideas, executed superbly.
Meat-eaters, go for the peppered wild venison. It arrives with a lightly poached pear and a scoop of pureed celeriac, plus a potent little compression of meat, jampacked with rich, gamey flavours. The genius element comes courtesy of a savoury chocolate sauce, allowing the dark earthiness of the meat to shine.
By the way, don’t skip out on the wine pairing if you can help it. It’s a fine selection of vino, carefully curated to dance beautifully with the food, and adds to the vibrant atmosphere in the room no end.
Finally, two of the most dramatic desserts you’ll ever see. The striking Manor House Ferrero Rocher is a dish fit for the world’s finest and flashiest ambassador’s reception: taller than a candelabrum and showcasing a wealth of textures and nutty, chocolatey flavours. Astonishingly good.
Then there’s the chestnut and pear mousse, made with caramelia cremeux and meringue, resting on a crumbly, biscuity base, bedecked with gold leaf and surrounded by four blobs of sweet jelly. Again, old-world glamour without sacrificing taste.
The Manor House Lindley has a well-deserved reputation as one of the North’s most beautiful destinations, with multiple awards under its belt, and rightly so. If tonight’s meal is anything to go by, expect those three rosettes to be just the beginning.