The Glamourpuss and myself first visited Aboyne House a year ago for the relaunch of the formal restaurant side of the business, changing its name from Fish and Peri.
On the opening night we were very impressed at the attention to detail that Chef Kevin Gibbons and Manager Sharon Epps put into the style and presentation of the food at their restaurant. However we felt that anyone could make a one off special night, but could they sustain it?
The answer is YES they can. Having eaten at the restaurant on numerous occasions over the past year, we have never been disappointed and it is obvious that local people have given the business a massive vote of support too, recently benefiting from a new bar area to relax and enjoy an aperitif or two!
We arrived last Saturday and were pleased to see a wide ranging menu and a very diverse specials board, all highlighting the fact that Aboyne House tries to source many of its ingredients locally. After enjoying the delicious tapenade and bread sticks appetiser, we chose for our first course lollipops of Native Shell Baked Scallops wrapped in pancetta with an accompanying fruit salad which contained a combination of strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit and cucumber, which acidity worked superbly well with the salty pancetta, along with Scotched Quails Eggs, which we were again taken to another dimension with the spiced salsa with a chilli and citrus dressing. Both dishes were seasoned to perfection. When a simple salsa and fruit salad can ignite your taste buds that much you know you are dealing with an exciting and visionary chef who understands the art of flavouring and good seasoning. Kevin is not afraid to experiment and knows how to turn a good dish into a superb one! We then waited eagerly for what was to follow. We should point out that the restaurant has a superb wine list and on this occasion we chose a bottle of Chilean ‘Peregrino’ Sauvignon Blanc, which was crisp and fruity and light, proving a superb wine to have alongside these summer dishes. The main course was just as jaw dropping when, our charming waitress for the evening, presented ‘Fruit De Mer’ of scallops, king prawns, mussels & crab meat tossed in fresh spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce with garlic bread that had the Glamourpuss salivating.
My choice was the ‘Surf and Turf’, featuring a beautiful succulent fillet steak, local seared scallops, king prawns and huge mussels! All presented on a simple slate with the added touch of the seafood served in a glass pot in a creamy white wine sauce.
Again, style and presentation was spot on for all dishes and really did take the food to a level that you would not expect from a small provincial restaurant which caters for around 60 people.
With an open service hatch showing off the kitchen staff hard at work adding to the ambiance of the room. For dessert we chose two restaurant classics, a lemon curd cheesecake and Tia Maria crème brulee. The cheesecake was everything you would want, which although sweet and light retained a tartness that left you feeling that you had just experienced another culinary treat. Crème Brulee is a traditional favourite of mine and surprise, surprise, Kevin delivered another mouth watering dish with a superbly caramelised top that was crunchy and sweet, which always leaves me wanting more.
New Romney should be feeling very smug indeed at having Aboyne House on its High Street, as it means that you can experience a high-end quality eatery at Marsh prices!
If you have not visited Aboyne House yet and have often passed it thinking, ‘I should give it a try’ then book a table and do so… you will not regret it! It is like meeting someone new and finding out that you have a friend for life!
The décor is fashionably chic with lots of nice subtle touches, right down the cotton napkins! Sharon has an expert eye for detail and has created a professional and knowledgeable front of house service, proving that although it was full on the night we dined, we did not have to wait long for service. All the staff were relaxed and very polite, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere.
It is hard to find fault with any part of the restaurant, and suggest that perhaps they start marketing their salsa dressing (in which case I will put my order in now!).
We have marked Aboyne House as follows.
Value for money *****
Would we go again? Definitely.
For more information go to the Aboyne House website: www.aboynehouse.co.uk