DINING ON THE BEST LOCAL FARE AT THE DOVETAIL, OAKHAM
The Dovetail has not long opened it’s doors in the centre of the beautiful market town of Oakham in the county of Rutland, where it takes pride of place on the High Street, close to many attractions this rural area offers.
Disclosure: This meal was hosted by The Dovetail. Please note all opinions, views and photography are our own and therefore remain a copyright of be-lavie, Please ask for permissions before use.
The restaurant’s ethos is all about creating with locally sourced ingredients, fresh food with a community feel to enjoy food and drinks in a relaxed and friendly environment.
The Dovetail prides itself on specialising in modern, fine dining with dining options including a bottomless brunch menu, a laid-back lunch or an a la carte dinner soiree. The restaurant also boasts a large stone-bake pizza oven, cooking up delicious looking pizzas served in the bar area.
You may be mistaken in thinking the restaurant’s name Dovetail, comes from its location and proximity to the Rutland Water, nature reserve area and rural country setting however this is not the case. Keith, the general manager explained, Dovetail is the name of a carpentry joint and represents the fusion of food in this case.
Many of the dishes at The Dovetail are inspired by the rural location and setting of Rutland and the restaurant has handpicked local producers where possible to showcase the best of the what the county and Midlands area has to offer. This includes meat from Aubrey Allen and Launde Farm.
The Dovetail Interiors
Upon entering the Dovetail, your eyes are naturally drawn to the airy space filled with natural light from the large windows, the natural tones of wood as well as the slight Hawksmoor of London feel. The deep blue contemporary upholstered arm chairs make for a an inviting entrance space together with sofas that allow for a relaxed area to enjoy drinks or coffee.
Before you, stands the open kitchen, which adds the bonus of theatre and immersive food preparation as you watch the chef cook up a fine feast before you. Rose gold and copper accents are scattered throughout the light fittings, bar chairs and accessories, which bring that modern, contemporary aesthetic to this restaurant.
To the left of the entrance is a small but perfectly formed bar area featuring globally sourced wine and spirit options as well as a cocktail menu, ranging from a variety of martinis, negronis, Daiquiris and the like. A true classic tipple menu, although all requests can be accommodated by the experienced mixologists.
Past the kitchen and towards the back of the restaurant before the outdoor seating area is the restaurant. Six free standing tables with two booths that run along the back wall showing off the well-stocked wine fridge cabinet. The tables are laid for fine dining in this gallery style lay-out with light flooding in through the glass ceiling. Further seating is available upstairs.
Pre and post meal cocktails can be enjoyed directly at the bar whilst you watch the bar tenders shake up your favourite poison. On this occasion it was a classic Espresso Martini for the lady, made to perfection, with the addition of Crème de Cacao instead of sugar syrup and fresh Espresso.
The Gent chose to have a Bramble with Bombay Sapphire Gin and blackberries being the star of the refreshing drink.
Spend the evening sipping on your favourite tipple or head over to your table when you’re ready! The choice is yours…
A la Carte Dining at the Dovetail
As previously mentioned, the Dovetail has a fine selections of wines, so the easiest decision of the night was to opt for the Amaru Malbec, El Esteco from Argentina. A Full-bodied wine with baked plums, raisins and chocolate, leading to a slight taste of vanilla to end. A perefect choice for the evening.
With first choice starters of the green pea velouté and wood pigeon unavailable, (a reason to go back to try!) starters were an easy decision with the only other vegetarian choice of the Crottin de Chavignol, and the fish option, fillet of Cornish mackerel.
Crottin de Chavignol is a goats cheese produced in the Loire Valley in the village of Chavignol in France. The light and fluffy, creamy texture was a perfect match with the crunch of the hazelnuts with the slight sweet, pickled flavour of the pear and beetroot.
The mackerel fell apart beautifully with its strong flavour marrying well with the Asian notes from the Thai puree and accompaniments.
For him it was the Rump of Launde Farm Lamb. With Goats cheese and rosemary Dauphinois, savoy cabbage, young vegetables and lamb jus.
The locally sourced lamb from Launde Farm was tender and cooked pink to perfection. The dauphinois potato had a lovely twist of the goats cheese running through it to elevate it from the usual creamed potatoes with the vegetables still retaining their crisp yet cooked beautifully.
For her it was Miso Ramen. Miso, soy, ginger, shitake mushrooms, baby corn, smoked tofu, pak choi, beansprouts, fresh chillies, soba noodles, and sesame
A pretty spicy, yet rather large portion of ramen with perfectly cooked soba noodles. The state of this dish was undeniably the generous portion of smoked tofu which topped the dish with a crisp outer and delicately light taste. The shitake mushrooms also had a lovely flavour.
The Dovetail had several sides available too such as a election of bread, buttered greens, new potatoes and hand-cut chips however the mains were pretty hearty portions and didn’t necessarily require anything further.
A must for the chocolate-lovers, the fondant is decadently rich and generous in size, the peanut butter ice-cream had been replaced with a burnt chocolate ice-cream cut through with the crunch from the praline. Unfortunately, the flavour of the banana was lost to the chocolate, which was the winner in this dish.
A winter warmer of a dessert, light pastry, melt in the mouth with the sweet treacle coming through and a slight sharp but sweetness from the marmalade trailing the dish in the ice-cream. The shard had a lovely subtle flavour of pistachio, which brought the dish together nicely to end.
The Dovetail most definitely adds a wonderful presence in Oakham for all day dining in beautiful interiors in a relaxed and laid-back environment. The service and knowledge of the team is second to none with recommendations being made on request as well as a great knowledge of ingredients and constituents of the dishes.
General manager, Keith explained The Dovetail is certainly leaning towards a fine dining establishment with the offerings. The portion sizes were rather generous, namely the Miso Ramen and the chocolate fondant. Maybe the addition of a couple more vegetarian dishes would be welcomed, especially if others must be taken off the menu for the day. The dining experience would possibly be more suited to that of brasserie style, especially in terms of presentation and quantity.
The restaurant also runs a pizza menu alongside the a la carte dishes (marketed as fine dining) which can seem a little confused with diners enjoying two very different dining styles and food options side by side. Both types can work but possibly at different times, for example, dedicated days or even restricting the a la carte menu exclusively in the evenings.
With this said, it most certainly would not deter a return visit to enjoy further dining and drinks at The Dovetail. The quality of produce, staff (chef, front of house and waiting staff) and service is conscientious and delicious.
- Address: The Dovetail. 51 High Street Oakham. Rutland LE15 6AJ
- Tel. 01572 827909
- Website: The Dovetail
- Opening Hours: Tues-Sun (see website for detailed hours and theme days)