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Duffield, Derbyshire
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A Nine Course Tasting Menu At Fairways At Chevin Golf Club, Duffield


Published On Saturday 25 May 2024 by Sticky Beak
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Tasting menus tend to be fairly elaborate; after all, it’s a chance for a venue to put its best-foot-forward and showcase what it can do, isn’t it? At these events, owners/managers can go to town and create a specific ambience if they fancy, or tweak their existing space to create a ‘vibe’, and Chefs can let their creative juices flow, using in-season/local/unusual ingredients in their dishes. Having, essentially, a smorgasbord for dinner, The Man and I always love a tasting evening, so we were thrilled when Tom and Hollie from Fairways at Chevin Golf Club extended an invite to us for their May event.



Although we’ve had Sunday Roasts and Afternoon Teas here before, it’s been a couple of years since we last went, so we were really looking forward to catching up with this dynamic duo and seeing how Tom has developed in particular. If you cast your eyes back over the reviews, you’ll gather that Tom is a culinary talent, especially when it comes to sweet treats!



In the late spring evening, the green was heaving with golf enthusiasts…gate-crashed by several ducks and some cheeky Magpies. As His Nibs and I took our seats at our table, we took a moment to appreciate the planters and their colourful flowers on the outside terrace; the 3-strong team of volunteers (golf club members) certainly do a great job of looking after them, and Hollie and her team do an equally fabulous job with the interior.



Skipping an amuse-bouche, Tom took us straight into our first course: Lobster. The Lobster tail had been poached, so that its flesh remained tender-yet-meaty, with a delicate fragrant flavour. The seafood was served with a super-fine Tempura Courgette (whose flower had been carefully filled with mixed Crabmeat Mousse), a spear of Asparagus and Lobster Bisque. A charred Lemon half released its sharp liquid when pressed, and this cut through the creamy elements really nicely. Everything married together perfectly and our palates thrummed in happiness.



All the red meats in the following courses came in two forms, the first of which was the Beef. His Nibs was blown away by the depth of flavour that the 12-hour slow braised Beef Croquette had, and its shreds contrasted sharply with the thick, crunchy outer. I’d busied myself with the slice of BBQ Fillet, marvelling at its tenderness; it literally came apart in ribbons with the merest pressure from my knife. A pretty blush pink could be seen in the centre of the slice, shading out into a rich brown at the edge. The contrast between the soft, confit Hasselback Potato and the Tenderstem Broccoli occupied the senses and, along with the tasty Peppercorn sauce, made this a superb dish.



Having grown up in Lincolnshire, ‘Chine’ was a thing (look it up) and the Pork Tenderloin wrapped around Sage Chimichurri reminded me of this! The herbs certainly pinged against the meats’ mild taste, and the balance between sweet and savoury in the Maple-cured Streaky Bacon that cocooned the Pork was wonderful. Both of us loved the Sticky Pork Cheek with its marvellously viscous outer and the surprising sweetness of the flesh; partnered with possibly the universe’s most intense Parsnip Purée and tangy Cider jus, this was gorgeous!



Providing relief from the previous meat courses, we were served seared King Scallop with pressed Octopus, a Chorizo and Black Pudding crumb topped Fondant Potato, griddled Baby Sweetcorn and a sumptuous Corn Velouté. This was a comparatively ‘light’ course and one that our tummies were grateful for. Tom had fashioned a delicate, decorative tuille with Squid Ink, and its dramatic shade really popped against the pearly body of the Scallop. This course was skilfully subtle, but not lacking in the taste stakes at all.



Lulling us into a false sense of comfort, Tom brought us back into reality with the rich earthiness of Venison: pan-seared Loin and a Shallot Tarte Tatin with braised Neck meat. These delights were served with a Thyme-pimped Mushroom Duxelles and a Baby Leek that was poached to perfection. In a recent review I threatened that if His Nibs ever started eating Mushrooms it would be d.i.v.o.r.c.e, well guess what? Numpty chops ate the duxelles! I told him I’d only need 10 minutes to have his stuff in bin bags and then he’d be sofa-surfing at Chef Tom’s!!! I was fuming, totally raging! Obviously, I’m joking – I love the bones of my Man Bird…but seriously, now absolutely nothing is sacred. If I had one comment, it would be that I personally like my Bambi to be a bit rarer than was served.



Our next course was simply described as ‘Paella’. This was a deconstructed Paella, with a timbale of Tomato-rich, perfectly al-dente Rice surrounded by a juicy Butterflied Prawn, plumptious butter-poached Mussels, a mini Fishcake and a Squid Ink disc that tasted mesmerisingly of the sea. The fishcake epitomised the saying ‘small-but-mighty’; honestly, it was sublime. His Nibs even ate the Mussels, grinning brazenly at me as he did so!



The final savoury course was comprised of a French-trimmed cutlet of Derbyshire Lamb with a mixed herb crumb outer, Confit Carrot, mini Shepherd’s Pie, Crushed Peas and Broad Beans, served with a Mint Jus. A bold pink centre was sealed in by a dark edge and there was not a single trace of blood on either of our plates; clearly, the meat had been suitably rested. The vegetables added a magnificently sweet layer to this dish, swept along by the bright notes of the minted jus. Delicious though the cutlet had been, it was the Shepherd’s Pie that won star of the plate for me; impossibly intense and meaty, I could’ve eaten this all night.



Introducing the sweet courses was a White Chocolate and Lime Mousse, Lime Caviar, White Chocolate Cremeux and Mixed Berry Sorbet. As so often in the past, I had assumed that this mousse would be in the shape of a lime but, no, it was in a square and had a red coloured outer! No matter, it was decadently silky and rich; the zip and zing came via the tiny ‘Caviar’ pearls. I bit into one of the dinky spheres and my face immediately scrunched up at the citrus sharpness; partnered with the sweet mousse, this was a tantalising combination. What a bloody genius idea, Tom; these pearls were stunning, and they encouraged the Mixed Berry Sorbet to run riot in the mouth, too. Reining things back in was the velvety, creamy White Chocolate Cremeux that was dotted around the platter. A very clever dessert: indulgent but not sickly.



Last, but not least, was the Dark Chocolate Cremeux with Strawberry Compote and dehydrated Strawberries. Yet again, Chef foxed me! This treat WAS shaped as a Strawberry, its crimson shell studded with Blue Poppy Seed ‘pips’ – very pretty to look at. The outer inner layer (if you know what I mean?!) was a sumptuous mousse, and in the very centre was a delicious Strawberry Compote that dazzled the taste buds. Bringing a deeper layer to the dessert were dots of Tom’s Cremeux, and these lit up our brains’ pleasure centres as we spooned them into our mouths. Fresh Strawberries had had some of their water content removed, which concentrated their sugars and flavours so that they could stand up against the bolder elements.



It was a superb evening, and throughout it, Hollie and her team had constantly been checking that guests were enjoying the food and experience. Several tables had also gone for the optional wine flight and, for an extra £20 pp, they got 100ml of a wine that was chosen to compliment the particular dish it was served with. Local taxi firms were certainly going to be busy that night! Food-wise, the cost of the 9 course Tasing Menu was £75pp and it was certainly good value given the quality and quantity of food we’d had. 



There are plans to do more of these evenings, though there will be a bit of a hiatus for summer, so look out for details on the Facebook Page: Fairways at Chevin Golf Club. The website is www.chevingolf.co.uk if you want to pay that a visit to check opening times etc. and, of course, you can always give them a buzz on 01332 841864. There are plans to introduce a Bottomless Brunch (oooooh, yes please!!) soon, so look out for that. Hot Wings happily given to this fab Duffield venue… and remember, you don’t have to be a member of the golf club to dine at Fairways.


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