Bites: Dentist's delight
Where to find desserts that are top of the chocs
Saturday 23 November 2002
The Wellesley, Bindon Country House Hotel, Langford Budville, near Wellington, Somerset (01823 400070)
A Gothic country house from central casting – an ideal location for an Agatha Christie. From portraits in the dining room the Duke of Wellington eyes up the £39 dinner. After the pre-dessert (champagne sorbet and apple jelly) and before the coffee and petits fours, there's a victorious assiette of chocolate: chocolate and orange parfait, white chocolate sorbet, dark chocolate fondant and a milkier mousse.
Sally Edwards Café, The Crescent, Taunton, Somerset (01823 326793)
A new café in Taunton from a chef known locally, especially for her cakes – fish cakes as well as tea-time ones. Lunches (and occasional dinners for regulars) are refreshingly good, with the likes of twice-baked goat's cheese soufflé and excellent antipasti selections. Cakes include a wheat-free chocolate espresso cake with a crème fraîche. And one of four desserts (£4 each) is always as intensely chocolatey as the chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream.
The Nettlebed, The White Hart Inn, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire (01491 641245)
Sombre, self-consciously modern, aubergine-painted dining-room in a mullion-windowed inn that has been gutted and given an incongruous makeover. Good-quality ingredients are cooked with precision but it doesn't quite reach the expectations set by the price – except for the chocolate plate (£7.50; after mains of £22-£24; three-course dinner is £25) with a white chocolate mousse, bitter chocolate sorbet and hot chocolate fondant.
Three Crowns Inn, Ullingswick, Herefordshire (01432 820279)
Chef and owner Brent Castle has cracked the secret of the River Café's chocolate Nemesis (theirs is cooked too hot and too quickly, he says). His version, with espresso sauce, scales the heights. One of his four puds is always chocolate – he loves it dark and bitter. All cost £4, on a short, keenly priced menu. Alternatives to chocolate might be a pithiviers or a tart. Nominally a pub, but dining on lovely, earthy dishes understandably dominates.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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