Orestone Manor, nowadays a luxury hotel and restaurant, has a rich history being once home to Sir John Callcott Horsley in the early 1800’s. Sir Horsley, famed for designing the first Christmas Card was a notable artist of the time and his portrait of brother-in-law Isambard Kingdom Brunel can still be seen in the National Portrait Gallery, which was painted no less than right on the Orestone Manor lawn.
This hidden gem of a hotel and restaurant has been lovingly restored in the past 5 years by Neil and Catherine D’Allen who are two trained chefs. It is very much a family-run business at Orestone and enjoys an enviable reputation for its fine food and romantic getaways by the sea. We very much looked forward to our visit.
Orestone sits overlooking the pretty village of Maidencombe on the English Riviera, three miles east of Torquay and. We had called ahead, twice, to inform the staff we were running late and they could not have been more accommodating and receptive. A good start!
Greeted with wide smiles we were ushered through to the lounge where my girlfriend and I had the chance to relax, peruse the menus and enjoy a tasty aperitif. The waiter selected a cracking white wine after enquiring as to our taste and he did not disappoint.
The food here boasts ample fresh local and seasonal produce from the coast and rolling hills of Devon round about. South Devon Beef, Brixham Day Boat Fish, rope-grown mussels and hand-dived scallops amongst other treats all feature. The hotels organic vegetable garden supplies much of the greens too! Good Stuff.
Choosing the Brixham Crab Martini (£10.50) followed by the Pork Belly, Dauphinoise Potatoes and Roasted Veg (£16.95) we settled in, enjoyed our wine until shown through to the dining room. Colonial style décor flows throughout the hotel and the lounge and dining room were no exception. Crisp White linen adorned our table for two enjoying ample space in luxurious surroundings.
Starters arrived promptly and my Brixham Crab was soon melting in the mouth accompanied by a little Mango Ice, Avocado and subtle flavor’s of the sea. Unusual, interesting and after consideration, very tasty!
Pork belly cooked to perfection followed. Salty, Crispy crackling sat on slowly cooked pork. I love Pork Belly and Orestone’s was some of the best I’d had in ages. Creamy potatoes and roasted veg completed the dish nicely. The thing I love about eating out most are the little touches that the attention to detail a good chef brings to the table. My plate of food had that in spades.
An Artisan cheese board was enjoyed for dessert and once again recommended by our waiter. Local West Country fair with homemade chutneys and a perfect end to a very nice evening despite the journey up.
As for the service. It was warm and very un-hurried throughout. Our waiter clearly knew his onions and we were grateful for his input on our selection of wines and cheese. Good staff are hard to find & Orestone certainly have them!
I have to say I was severely tempted to stay the night as our visit was an absolute pleasure and a little port with our cheese selections would have been a treat, but for the drive home!
There are 14 individually furnished en suite rooms at the Hotel, 10 with sea views over Lyme Bay and three have private outdoor hot tubs. As mentioned, Orestone Manor is family owned and run – something you can tell immediately as you arrive from the warm welcome and attentive service.
All that is left to be said is that we very much look forward to our next visit. We shall book a room with a view and hot tub to boot. Bravo!
To contact Orstone Manor please find the details and a link to their web site below.
Rock House Lane
Tel: 01803 897511