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Review: The Purple Carrot at Lewtrenchard Manor

PUBLISHED: 09:31 06 August 2014

The exotic spice bar separates the kitchen from the Purple Carrot private dining room but you are welcome and almost expected to come and hang out here whilst the chefs cook your dinner

The exotic spice bar separates the kitchen from the Purple Carrot private dining room but you are welcome and almost expected to come and hang out here whilst the chefs cook your dinner

CopyrightMikeKinsey01822890273

The thoroughly modern interactive dining room at Devon’s thoroughly ancient Lewtrenchard Manor is one of the county’s best-kept secrets. Not any more, says SUSAN CLARK, who’s rubbish at keeping a foodie secret

The eight course tasting menu included softly poached duck eggThe eight course tasting menu included softly poached duck egg

I know, I know. If we tell everyone we’ll never get a table when we want one. But I am absolutely rubbish at keeping the good things to myself and always have been.

I’ve already told my doctor, my dentist and my dog-sitter to celebrate their various birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates at The Purple Carrot whose name, other than a reference to the colour of the very first carrots, doesn’t give much away.

But that’s what I loved about dining here, I really didn’t know what to expect.

The invitation was to attend for a private dining experience and to bring a couple of friends. They dropped out at the last minute which really was their loss because this was my best dining experience of 2014.

The Purple Carrot interactive dining experience takes private dining & chef's table to a new levelThe Purple Carrot interactive dining experience takes private dining & chef's table to a new level

The idea is that when you book, you can discuss a bespoke tasting menu with head chef, Matthew Peyrer and his team and then when you turn up, you are free to hang across the pass (the place where the plated up dishes get their final trimmings before being served) and interact, throughout your meal, with the chefs who are cooking it. And when you are actually eating your food, you can still keep an eye on what’s cooking thanks to a bank of wall-mounted TV screens that capture all the action in the kitchen as you dine.

I’ll admit I thought it sounded a bit gimmicky but I was wrong. It was fantastic to be so involved in the preparation of each dish even before it reaches the table and without actually having to cook it myself. And unlike Masterchef and those other foodie programmes where you sit through all the preparations and then watch someone else sample the food, this time you get to taste yourself what all the fuss has been about.

They say pictures speak louder than words so above is a picture of the pass and this is where you can hang out. The Purple Carrot experience really is like no other. It costs £79 per person for the seven course Chef’s Tasting menu (which can be tailored to your foodie preferences) and in addition you can opt for matched flights of wine with each course (at a supplementary cost of £35 for five matched flights).

So no, it’s not cheap but if you are celebrating a big birthday or a special anniversary I can promise you will leave the table feeling thoroughly spoiled.

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This article was first published in the food and drink-themed Devon Life Summer Special in August 2014. Make sure you never miss an issue of Devon Life by taking a subscription. Click here for our latest great offers.

I dined here just with my husband and we had one of our best shared meals ever.

For more information visit lewtrenchard.co.uk or call 01566 783222

Our Menu

We requested a strictly vegetarian menu and Matthew and his team produced the best veggie meal I have had in Devon

Lewtrenchard Artichoke, Mushroom Tortellini

New Season English Asparagus, Poached Duck Egg, Herb Hollandaise

Truffle Risotto, Fine Bean Salad, Parmesan Crisp

Potato & Garden Herb Gnocchi, Sauteed Morel Mushrooms, Thyme Foam

Spiced Cabbage Dolma, Braised Quinoa, Curry Emulsion

Milk Sorbet, Tarragon Dust

Mango Parfait, Pineapple, Coconut Sorbet

Coffee & Petit Fours

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