Successfully surviving the transition from a much cherished family home to a popular and respected place to stay with full facilities that include an AA Rosette restaurant, Redcoats Farmhouse Hotel has established itself in the hospitality scene in and around Hitchin. Its proximity to the A1(M), a mere five minutes way, makes it an ideal staging post twenty minutes from the M25 and therefore close enough to London for convenience.
The quality of hospitality at this 3 AA star hotel derives straight from the family tradition and is to be found in a host of expressions, not least the 12 double or twin-bedded rooms and one single, all en-suite, with each room individually designed and comfortably furnished. Each room has direct dial telephone, wi-fi internet access and colour television with remote control. Room service and a laundry facility are all part of the consideration given to the comfort of guests at Redcoats.
At the core of this homely farmhouse hotel is a restaurant that seeks to provide the best for a mobile clientele with an à la carte, and a weekday and Sunday lunch menu as the main staples. From the à la carte typical starters could include homemade chicken liver and brandy pâté, pan seared scallops served on an asparagus and herb risotto with watercress sauce, or smoked haddock, parmesan cheese and fresh asparagus with penne pasta.
Amongst main courses look out for Scottish fillet steak and honey glazed Gressingham duck breast on confit of duck leg served with a pineapple, cinnamon and star anise sauce. One of the great classic dishes of all time is a grilled fresh lemon sole fillet served with spinach and cheese sauce. Vegetarians are well cared for, perhaps with Portobello mushrooms stuffed with brie, spinach and pine nuts, topped with caramelised red onions.
The Praline cheesecake with toffee sauce and Chantilly cream or the Drambuie crème brûlée with homemade shortbread could be equally compelling for many, and as befits a farmhouse there is a sturdy and interesting cheese platter. The dress code is smart casual; and jeans, t-shirts and trainers are not an option.
In addition to their normal a la carte, a 2 or 3 course light supper menu for parties up to six operates on Monday - Friday from 6.30 - 9.00pm, and is available for parties up to six. Start with duck liver and orange pate with melba toast before moving on to steak and kidney pie with homemade short crust pastry before finishing with, say, chocolate, black cherry and kirsch trifle or a fresh fruit pavlova with vanilla and strawberry frozen yoghurts. Larger groups are requested to order in advance. Private rooms may be available.
A special menu offers a choice of three dishes for each course starting with, say, half a dozen fresh oysters, and a main course of fillet of Finnebrogue venison seared and served pink on haggis with a game sauce.
Redcoats is blessed with a substantial cellar, both in space and quality, a superb selection that frankly is worth making a visit for in its own right. A wide range of wines by the glass or half bottle can vary, but is always to be relied upon.
Do click on their Website
for further information and a rundown on that formidable wine list.