JOHN’S HOUSE: MICHELIN-STARRED SEASONAL TASTER MENUS
Situated in the rural Leicestershire countryside, Michelin Starred John’s House has been on our foodie jaunts list for a long while. I’d only every heard amazing things about the fine-dining restaurant and the locally sourced quality of the food on the menu. Luck for me, Dr C just happened to have booked John’s House for my birthday this year and the excitement fuelled from the moment he told me the news!
John’s House is literally just that. John Duffin was bought up on his family farm located in Mountsorrel, which is where he now has his prestigious one Michelin star restaurant.
John started cooking at the age of 14 but his real passion for good quality cuisine, which was homegrown, started when he worked at Fischer’s in Baslow Hall where he had the chance to combine his passion for farming as well as the fine-dining scene.
In order to pursue his passion, John moved to London in 2009 where he worked in a number of positions and acclaimed Michelin Starred chefs such as Gary Rhodes, Clause Bosi, Marcus Wareing, Agnar Sverrisson and Simon Rogan. After being exposed to organic, clean, fresh, high quality, seasonal local produce and being accomplished in a number of culinary techniques, in 2014, John headed back to his family farm and opened John’s House, with a clear philosophy of ‘farm to plate’
John’s House is a real family constitution with his sister running the shop and café next to the restaurant. It’s housed in the 4,000 acre family farm in Mounsorrel in a stunning 16th century farmhouse where John was born. The whole family is involved at John’s House, where there is also a shop, café, a petting farm and a motor museum. The fields surrounding the farmhouse supply a lot of the ingredients from herbs, vegetables, fruit to cattle. They undertake all butchery onsite, ensuring that there is no wastage of the animal and every part has a purpose. There are even rare breeds such as Leicester Longwood sheep, Gloucester Old Spot and Tamworth Pigs.
Walking into John’s House is literally like walking into a cosy warm low beamed cottage with two grand armchairs and a crackling fire to greet you. I could spend the day here roasting chestnuts if I didn’t have a hot birthday lunch date! Homely artefacts are surround and accessorise this hobbit-like hallway.
Our coats were taken promptly and we were led into the next room, which also had a fire and we were shown to a comfy sofa. Pre meal drinks were taken and we chose from John’s cocktails list to have the festive Spiced Rum. It contained Ophir Gin, spiced syrup and Fevertree Mediterranean tonic and was the perfect way to start the meal.
We perused the Taster menus and the wine list before being taken upstairs by our waiter and show to a lovely table in a brick walled, open beamed top floor room. It was light and airy with a scattering of artwork adorning the walls and dressed in accents of light woods against crisp cotton white linen.
There is an extensive wine list available at John’s House, which the Sommelier can expertly guide you through and make recommendations, however Dr C and I picked a glass of the 2016 Malbec “Le Flor’ Bodegas Pulenta from my favourite region, Mendoza in Argentina. A beautiful blackberry colour with rich tomes of plum, black cherries and spices, providing a lovely warming accompaniment to our meal.
THE TASTER MENU
I always think in order to get a real flair for the creative talents of the chef, it’s a great idea to opt for the Tasting Menu and so as soon as the options were explained to me, I knew I’d be having the Vegetarian taster menu and Dr C had the classic taster menu option. It comprises of nine elegant courses using local ingredients and there is the option of flight wines, pairing each course with a glass of wine, however we passed on that on this occasion as it was lunchtime.
A selection of Warm Homemade Bread with Butter
A wood grain board upon, which sat some onion and rosemary bread rolls with some buttermilk bread. A lovely light selection of homemade bread and butter to start the meal.
Truffle Custard and Toastie
A take on egg and soldiers, however with an elevated level of refinement, trust me, Truffle never tasted so velvety, smooth and rich in a little egg shell, with two delicately cut toasted layered slices of bread.
Marinated Heritage Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Basil (V)
A colourfully bright work of art, marinated beetroot on a bed of Goats cheese with basil and a pretty scattering of edible flowers. A fresh, vibrant, light dish
Loch Duart Salmon, Sea Buckthorn, Mylore Prawns and Oyster
A simple, fresh and light dish to start with the flavours marrying well together
Risotto of Toasted Grains, Caramelised Onions and Stichelton (V)
Risotto of Toasted Grains, Oxtail and Stichelton
A slightly al denté risotto with a flavoursome scattering of raw milk blue cheese, Stichelton freeze dried at 190 degrees
Turnip Broth, Crispy Hens Egg and Black Garlic (V)
A hens egg cooked to perfection with a soft and slightly runny yolk served in a sea of earthy turnip broth. Two flavours, which complemented each other beautifully with the crunch of the egg coating.
Lightly Salted Fillet of Cod, Brawn, Aubergine, Passion Fruit and Curry Spices
The cod fell off the fork with no effort and provided a light flavour that accompanied the curry sauce and freshness of the passion fruit.
Truffle Pudding, Hen of the Woods, Artichoke and Chilli (V)
The Sommelier hinted this was one of his favourite dishes and after trying it I can totally understand why. The earthy tones allow the truffle to be the main star of the show in this well dressed dish.
Roast Fallow Deer, cauliflower, Red Cabbage Ketchup and Coffee with a Moroccan spiced Pastry
The richness of the deer and the light creamy cauliflower were simply outstanding in flavour, with the meat being tender and the whole dish was given a lift by the small serving of moroccan spiced pastry on the side.
Pumpkin Sorbet, Muscovado Cream, Spiced Syrup and Basil
A slightly sweet yet fresh flavour in a small pumpkin serving as a pre-dessert as well as a palette cleanser
Poached Pears, Liquorice, Sweet Cheese, Mint and Hazelnut
One of the freshest and lightest desserts I have ever concluded a dish with, this was simply beautiful hues of greens and whites. Pears poached to just the right amount, with a slight liquorice flavour accompanied by a Quenelle of sweet creamy cheese and a dusting of freeze dried mint providing a familiar cooling taste.
Nespresso coffee and Jung Tea Served with sweets
We had our sweets wrapped in a cute box to enjoy later and to extend the beautiful experience we had at John’s House.
I was absolutely blown away by my first visit to John’s House. Local, seasonally sourced ingredients, not to mention the farm to table approach and sustainable organic produce was always going to make John’s House a winner for me. It didn’t disappoint one single bit as the creativity, bright presentation of the dishes and attention to detail was impeccable. The service and atmosphere made this a beautiful way to spend my birthday by sampling the delightful winter taster menu.
139-141 Loughborough Rad
Loughborough LE12 7AR
Tel. 01509 415569
All bookings and enquiries can be made via John’s House website
We received two menus signed by John in the post following our visit. A lovely momento of our experience