Michael Caines made his name at Gidleigh Park, cooking at a two Michelin star standard for an incredible eighteen years. But when he left to open Lympstone Manor, just south of Exeter and overlooking the Exe Estuary, it was clear that the chef had much more to offer.
Originally a private residence used to host weddings and events, Michael has refurbished Lympstone Manor from the ground up, getting involved with every aspect of the hotel. The grade-II listed site is home to twenty-one bedrooms surrounded by breathtaking countryside, with no expense spared – a complimentary British gin tray, luxurious beds built to the perfect height, stunning interiors and incredible bathtubs. Each room is named after the birds that make the nearby wetlands their home, with original artworks paying tribute to the natural surroundings.
The hotel’s restaurant, however, is the main draw for visitors to Lympstone. With sixty covers across three stunning dining rooms, Michael has created a temple to fine dining that’s the perfect environment for serving his inimitable cuisine. There are three dining rooms – Powderham, Mamhead and Berry Head – each with their own unique style. Powderham is all about comfort and luxury; Mamhead is ideal for private events surrounded by elegant artwork and Berry Head is bathed in natural light with an airy, open feel.
The food on offer is a result of Michael’s life’s work in the kitchen, making the most of Devon’s incredible produce and the chef’s unmatched technical skill. Diners can choose between à la carte, lunch and tasting menus, including a menu that specifically represents the nearby estuary, featuring lemon sole, turbot, sea bass and scallops. Those choosing from the à la carte menu have the choice of dishes such as ravioli of lobster with cabbage and girolle mushrooms, Dartmoor lamb with boulangère potato, confit shoulder, pea purée and tapenade jus or chocolate orange confit mousse with orange confit sorbet, but dishes will change regularly with the seasons.
The bespoke bar – hewn from copper – sits in the middle of the lounge area, offering cocktails and glasses of Michael’s own bespoke Champagne. The wine list is twenty-one pages long, with bottles from all over the world and a good selection available by the glass, and there is a sizeable collection of spirits, soft drinks and non-alcoholic cocktails to browse through.