Our Rutland retreat
The nights are drawing in, there’s a freshness in the air and the ground is starting to turn the most wonderful shades of red, orange and yellow. Autumn, in my eyes, is one of the best times to get outside, so we jumped at the chance to escape to the countryside. We were invited to the Marquess of Exeter, a rustic country pub with rooms, in Lyddington, Rutland – England’s smallest county.
We’ve never been to Rutland or any of the surrounding area, so we’re excited to check it out. It was only a three-hour drive from our home on the sunny South Coast and we arrived with enough time for a stroll around Lyddington, a pretty little village with well-kept gardens.
Cosy pub with rooms
We retreated back to our room which was located in a quiet building behind the restaurant. Our room was huge with not one but two chaise longue! The radiators were on just enough for that all-important cosy feeling. We retreated to the pub in front of the restaurant while we waited for our table booking. It was bustling with families and friends, as we would expect for a Saturday evening.
I could go on describing our stay and our pints in the pub but the real reason I’m telling you about the Marquess of Exeter is because of the food. A recent addition to the team is Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded chef, Krishnapal Negi. Alongside your usual pub flare, you can choose from an impressive menu of modern Indian cuisine, inspired by Krishnapal’s Himalayan childhood food memories.
I love curry (even for breakfast!) and have spent a good amount of time in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka so I have tried my fair share. I could have ordered the whole menu but we started with chicken 65 and paneer pakora. Both were very well-cooked and incredibly tasty. I particularly liked the chicken 65 as it had a little bit of a kick – but not too much for those who don’t like spice.
Next up were our mains and again, we shared. You may know (or not know) that I mainly eat vegetarian food with some exceptions, ‘flexitarian’ I call myself. This was one exception as I simply had to try the butter chicken after enjoying it for the first time recently at a dinner party. This one didn’t disappoint and was incredibly smooth and creamy. I often find that creamier curries have less flavour than spicy curries but on this occasion, it was not the case.
We enjoyed the panner tikka masala as much as the butter chicken. It had an incredible depth of flavour and enough sauce to cover the rice – a big thumbs up for me. Before I arrived I studied the menu, as I always do, and one thing that instantly caught my eye was the truffle nann. I love truffle, just as much as I love Indian food, so combining the two sounded like a match made in heaven. It was, and the bread was beautifully cooked and devoured in minutes. Every curry comes with pilau rice and a nann which I think is exceptional value. The portions were slightly smaller than your typical curry house which is great, I just about had room for dessert! I can’t remember a time when I’ve eaten an overly large curry and haven’t regretted it, can you?
Now on to the dessert menu which includes some all-time favourites. We shared the sticky toffee pudding and the cheesecake of the day which was berry. Both desserts were well-presented and looked colourful on the plate. They were both delicious but if I had to choose, the sticky toffee pudding gets my vote – highly recommended. All this was washed down with a decent bottle of Shiraz. We were really impressed with the food and service and we’d certainly return.
The next morning, we had a full English breakfast in the restaurant. Mine came with the best scrambled eggs I’ve had in a long time – apart from my own! After another coffee in the room, we took a walk around picturesque Rutland Water before making out way back home.
We had a lovely stay at the Marquess of Exeter and it was nice to explore a new part of the country. The food and service were great and the surrounding area was incredibly pretty. There’s nothing quite like a cosy weekend away in the countryside, especially in autumn.