Yesterday I had the pleasure of going along with my parents on a visit to Compton Verney, a Georgian mansion in Warwickshire. Most importantly the trip gave me the opportunity to indulge in my fantasy of being Elizabeth Bennet. Admittedly it was sadly lacking in attractive men wading out of lakes with wet shirts. However, these things cease to matter when there is the first bit of sunshine you have seen in a long long time.
'They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!'
In the last twenty years the house has undergone conversion into an art gallery, which 'houses six permanent collections, focusing on areas currently under-represented in British museums and galleries.'
The current main exhibition is titled 'Bellini, Botticelli, Titian… 500 years of Italian Art' and is running from 23 March 2013 to 23 June 2013.
Alongside and excellent gift shop, there is also a Cafe and Coffee Bar , which we have visited many times. Before tackling some serious art, we decided to have lunch in the Cafe, which currently has an Italian themed menu to compliment the main exhibition.
To start, we decided to have something to share, and went for 'mixed olives, pepper dews with Olive oil and balsamic vinegar, served with a selection of breads,' £.3.75. I also had a large cappuccino, £2.50.
The olives were delicious, though the amount of bread was not enough really to share between three. Though admittedly I imagine this is supposed to be a starter for one.
My attempt at some sort of artistic shot...
For my main, my mother and I decided on Padella Nasello, 'pan-fried hake with leeks, onions and new potatoes served with a lemon and chive nut butter,' £9.80.
Having never had hake before, I was pleasantly surprised! It was extremely light and moist, though slightly lacking in flavour. I suspect some sort of pesto dressing on the fish might help to bring this dish alive. The vegetables were lovely and packed in a bit more flavour. Everything was extremely fresh.
My father opted for Chicken cacciatora with pappardelle pasta, ‘chicken cooked with tomatoes, olives, oregano, thyme and garlic,’£9.50, which he highly recommended.
Pudding, as usual, was definately the highlight of the lunch. My father and I both chose 'Warm panettone bread and butter pudding with orange custard,' £5.50.
The pudding that particular day was actually being served with hot cross buns instead of panettone, not that I minded! I'm always a sucker for seasonally themed food... The 'bread' part of things was actually suprisingly light but still filling, this complimented the equally light and refreshing orange custard. All in all, a lovely flavoursome twist on the usual bread and butter arrangement. I will be making a version myself in the near future.
My mother decided to go with something a bit more adventureous, 'Passionfruit crostata tart with orange syrup' £4.50. This was extremely fruity, though the portion size was slightly on the small side I felt.
Overall, I highly recommend Compton Verney as a general day out with culture and good food, the Cafe is definitely worth I visit alone. We have been visitng for many years and my parents now have an annual membership which can be purchased from £26 for the Collections, grounds & exhibition(s.)