checking in to the grade ll listed lympstone manor
Lympstone Manor only opened in April but it’s already got quite the reputation as well as a Michelin star. That’s no surprise though given that Michael Caines is the brains behind the project, previously of Gidleigh Park where his restaurant had 2 stars so he’s well versed in the operations of a luxury hotel.
Set in a beautiful grade II listed country house on a hill that looks out to the Exe Estuary the hotel has just 21 rooms all named after the birds that are found in the area. We went down for a Saturday night and were treated to glorious sunny skies and temperatures that resembled early September rather than October. Perfect then for making the most of the hotel’s complimentary Pashley bikes and the nearby cycle paths to Exmouth and the picture perfect villages of Lympstone and Topsham.
After a day cycling there’s nothing better than jumping into a bath – well luckily, our room, The Gannett, had not one, but two! Located on the ground floor of the property the room had it’s own little terrace with outdoor marble bath, gas fire, candles and sofa. Meanwhile inside was pretty spacious with huge bed, roll top bath, walk-in shower, complimentary G&T stand, male & female toiletries, hair straighteners, and a big flat screen hooked up with Apple TV.
Aside from the luxurious rooms and beautiful surroundings, the restaurant is obviously the main draw at Lympstone Manor. There’s a variety of tasting menus and a la carte on offer and we decided to go for the Estuary menu which is focused entirely on fish. It’s classic, refined cooking and its no wonder that the restaurant received a star so quickly.
We started with a crab raviolo, served in a lemongrass and ginger sauce that had us scraping every last drop out of the bowl. A single braised scallop was next, perfectly cooked and accompanied by a smooth vanilla and parsnip puree and pieces of crispy fresh apple.
There was an Asian influence to the next course, a fillet of red mullet with a sort of Thai red curry paste that gave it a nice kick, balanced out by fennel salad. Braised Turbot from nearby Brixham came with wild mushroom, whilst the final savoury course of the night might have been our favourite, roasted sea bass served with langoustine and a bouillabaisse sauce.
Being in an old house there’s lots of cosy rooms in Lympstone manor and after our main dessert – a beautiful prune and Armagnac soufflé – we retired to the lounge to collapse into big comfy chairs and finish off the meal with petits fours and tea.
Lympstone Manor is less than a year old but its already running like a well established classic. There’s much more planned too, including the planting of a vineyard from which Michael and his team will be producing their own wines – we were told not to expect the first bottle for a few years but its an exciting prospect and all the excuse we need to come back again.
Lympstone Manor, Courtlands Lane, Exmouth EX8 3NZ