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Page 49

Feature /// Sportsman's Dinner

Clarkes, Peterborough Will and Ed venture south to try a new restaurant in Peterborough winning rave reviews Will Ever since this restaurant opened last year it has been getting excellent reviews, so it’s a pleasure to finally experience it. Head chef Lee Clarke has made it his mission to serve the highest quality food so I’m champing at the bit. And with a private dining room upstairs, a function room outdoor tables to the front and in the rear courtyard there is no shortage of space.

Will Nothing like keeping culinary secrets from your friends is there! Anyway back to the food at Clarkes: the summer salad was one of the better dishes I have ever had the pleasure of sampling. To name just a few of the ingredients in the dish there were green beans, peas, beetroot, pea puree, pak choi, seared artichoke and pickled carrot. And all with a heavenly dressing.

Ed It’s an impressive Georgian building, with lovely views out over John the Baptist Church and Peterborough Cathedral. And they have obviously put a lot of thought, time and money into the décor – it’s a stylish blend of contemporary fittings in a traditional building.

Ed Yes that summer salad was something else. The chicken terrine wasn’t half bad either, with a pleasing blend of textures as well as tastes. There are a lot of little ingredients on the plate on all the dishes here but they all serve a purpose. It’s obvious that Lee and his team care deeply about sourcing fresh, tasty and local ingredients.

Will Alright, don’t get carried away, we’re here to eat and I’m more than happy to let Lee choose for us, after all it’s his kitchen and he has an experienced long-serving team with at least two chefs who have spent a few years at Hambleton Hall. English strawberry gazpacho is not something I would usually plump for, but the amuse bouche was really quite something. Ed It certainly was and I tried not to eat too much bread but the raisin and cinnamon bread was too tasty to resist. In fact cinnamon is my secret ingredient in quite a few dishes at home, for instance… oh, on second thoughts better not give the game away.

Will On a hot summer’s day that summer salad would be the perfect main course for lunch, but we were there for supper so I was delighted to see the monkfish cheeks with ham hock croquette, potato fondant and beetroot appearing in front of me. The fish was everything you could hope for and the ham croquette was the perfect companion. Ed Lincolnshire lass Sophie Arlott has made a name for herself supplying restaurants with the finest quality lamb so it was a treat to tuck into the trio of chops, pulled shoulder and sweetbreads with garlic mash and fennel.

Will It’s hardly surprising Clarkes has just been named at number 62 on the BMW Square Meal list of best UK restaurants outside the M25. Lee is passionate about providing the highest quality food to discerning customers and is evidently determined to maintain those standards. Ed Quite. But I’m glad we didn’t stop with the main courses because I wanted to taste more of this fabulous food. The palate cleanser of rocket sorbet, tiny chunks of Binham blue cheese and granola is described as their Marmite dish and I liked it, but could live without the granola. Will I can live without granola full stop. But the strawberry dessert with basil sorbet, strawberry jelly, coulis, shortbread and cream is the sort of pudding that dreams are made of. What a meal! Ed Couldn’t agree more, and the peach melba had a satisfyingly contemporary twist to it as well. The food is here is sensational and I’d like to come back for lunch. Watch out for local food week at the end of September; where all the ingredients will be sourced from the PE postcode. That should be a right humdinger.

Clarkes

10 Queen Street, Peterborough, PE1 1PA 01733 892681 www.clarkespeterborough.co.uk

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