The Cavendish Hotel has been a family favourite of ours for many many years and its standards have never dropped. It’s always something to look forward to when we go to The Cavendish and our most recent trip was no exception.
There has been an Inn of some form on the spot for centuries and it became part of the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire’s estate around 1830 and renamed The Cavendish in 1975. Set within the Chatsworth estate, the views of the Derbyshire countryside are beautiful and so peaceful, creating a superb location for anyone looking for a relaxing meal or a luxurious weekend away.
The Cavendish is a restaurant as well as a hotel and it is open to non-residents. The main dining room, The Gallery, tends to be very busy, so a reservation is advisable. There is however also the Garden Room – a conservatory style dining area, which offers gorgeous views as well as a menu of seasonal dishes. We tend to eat in The Gallery as it is usually an occasion when we visit the hotel. It’s a wonderful room, not too big or small and offers a top quality setting, to enjoy some of the finest food I have eaten in any restaurant, highlighted by its consistent accolade of two AA Rosettes for food every year since 2005. As with many other top restaurants, there is also the option of eating at a table in the kitchen, as head chef Mike Thompson and his team prepare food for the restaurants.
The menus are created using fresh ingredients, many locally sourced, to create imaginative, delicious food that rivals the best London restaurants. Our recent meal was no exception. I enjoyed a starter called Heritage Tomatoes, which was a light, delicious and beautifully presented dish including a clear tomato gazpachio, tapenade and mozzarella tart and basil ice cream! My main course of cornfed chicken with chicken mousse, garlic fondant potato and roasted salsify was just as wonderful. I then chose the Apple Trifle with Horlicks mousse and cinnamon doughnuts for dessert – a twist on a traditional classic, the combination of apple, cinnamon and surprisingly, horlicks was gorgeous, without being too heavy to end the meal. It is also the little extra touches at The Cavendish that stand out, for example, its petit fours with tea and coffee are always a delight. I do still miss the canapés that used to be served as you relaxed in the lounge area before dinner and noticed that there were no specials in addition to the menu this time, but these are minor points when the food is this good.
Crucially too, as its food is of a standard found in many highly rated London restaurants, The Cavendish really is very good value for money, costing around £45 a head for three courses. As well as offering an exceptional dining experience, it is also a wonderful location to simply spend a relaxing weekend, for people of any age. The rooms have all been recently refurbished and continue to offer a superb setting, perfect for any occasion, whether you wish to explore the surrounding Peak District, visit Chatsworth House or simply relax within the hotel’s sitting room or outside in good weather. For those staying at the hotel, I will however warn you that the gorgeous teddy bear in your room (see him on the bed below?), which you can purchase from reception to take home, is something that may tempt you during your stay (especially if you are staying with children or the young at heart)!
The other key to The Cavendish is its staff. Some have been at the hotel for many years, while others continue to join the team. They are all always professional, while being incredibly welcoming, friendly and helpful. This is not always the case in hotels and restaurants and they are a special part of The Cavendish and it’s always lovely to see long-serving staff each time we visit.
Whether you live in Derbyshire or the surrounding area, or are simply looking for a relaxing weekend away and want to feel well looked after and enjoy some of the finest food, wine and surroundings you’ll find anywhere, I cannot recommend The Cavendish highly enough. It remains a gem in the north of England and I love to return there as often as I can!
For further details, visit The Cavendish’s website: http://www.cavendish-hotel.net
(Other than my photos of the meal, all photos are courtesy of The Cavendish’s website)