For a comparatively small place, Burton Latimer seems to boast a huge number of restaurants, including Italian, Chinese and Indian eateries.
And on Tuesday night, my husband and I decided to pay our first visit to The Palmichael, a cosy Italian restaurant I had heard good things about.
The restaurant, with its sitting room-style bar entrance, has a homely feel to it and when we entered we were welcomed by a friendly waitress who directed us to the bar where we ordered a couple of colas and took a seat on one of the nearby sofas to read the menus.
The restaurant and bar area are understated in decor and little tea lights pepper the tables and hanging decorations, giving a romantic feel to the place.
I was extremely impressed with the variety of food on offer, with its array of starters, pastas, risottos and meat dishes. As we were visiting on a Tuesday, we had the option of selecting from the weekday menu (Monday to Thursday), which offers two courses for £11.95 and puddings for £2.95.
We shunned the good value of this offer though as the a la carte menu was so tempting.
We made our choices and were ushered through to the restaurant. There we ordered a glass of wine each and enjoyed some delicious olives placed on the table. The waitress also came to offer us some warm bread, which we ate with an olive oil and balsamic dip. I thought this extra food was a nice touch.
One of my favourite starters in an Italian restaurant is mozzarella, which I like to eat cold with tomato, olive oil and basil.
I was intrigued by the warm version on offer: Fried mozzarella in herb breadcrumbs with warm vine tomato sauce, balsamic dressing and basil pesto (£6.25). Payat and I each ordered a plate but the size of the portion was so generous, we could happily have shared.
The dish itself was well cooked and tasty – you can’t really go wrong with that traditional combination of flavours – with a lot of tomato sauce. I think serving this warm food on a bed of lettuce was a mistake as this quickly wilts, but I did enjoy the dish.
Next came my main dish, tortellini filled with ricotta and asparagus, with a mascarpone and tomato cream sauce and asparagus tips (£11.95). Payat chose the good, old-fashioned lasagne. Both portions were again very hearty, and Payat enjoyed his meaty slab of lasagne (£10.95).
My tortellini was obviously freshly made, folded into large pockets; completely different to those tiny bullet-like varieties you can buy in a supermarket. I’m fond of asparagus and was pleased that the flavour dominated the plate rather than being overwhelmed by fellow ingredients.
Payat and I decided to share a pudding and we opted for an almond and amaretto creme brulee with meringue ice cream. The dessert was the highlight, it was absolutely delicious. The brulee was perfectly done and had a wonderful creamy texture, which went well with the subtle crunchiness of the meringue; I was sorry I hadn’t ordered my own.
The Palmichael is a gem of a restaurant and well worth a trip to Burton Latimer.