Tel: 0114 287 2309
Fax: 0114 287 3228
Restaurant Zagato opens 12 - 2pm for lunch and 7pm - last orders 9.30pm for dinner.
16 individually designed rooms from £139 per room inc breakfast
A location, one minute from junction 31 of the M1 seems an unlikely setting for a relaxing get-away hotel. Yet, Tomahawk Hotels, owners of Aston Hall near Sheffield have pulled it off, and in style. Set in 55 acres of woodland, the lovingly restored 18th century hall is a classy marriage of period and modern. Sleek furniture nestles alongside traditional wood panelling and high ceilinged rooms are dressed in Farrow and Ball with shocks of colour from large modern paintings.
Currently there are 16 bedrooms but building is underway to create many more, testament to the success of the hotel despite the fact it has only been open for a couple of years.
Restaurant Zagato (think Aston Martin) has already put itself on the south Yorkshire culinary map promising modern British food with - those dreaded words – a twist. Yet, a glance at today’s menu tradition favoured over eclecticism.
The starter arrived looking comfortable with its clean, sleek appearance that reflected its surroundings. Robust wild mushrooms inside an open pastry shell peeped out from a blanket of warm, lustrous hollandaise. Once tasted with the soft egg yolk and savoury tang of the jus, the whole merged into a textbook interplay of crisp and soft textures and flavours. Seasoning was slightly lacking, but let’s not inflate a tiny error into an international incident.
A piece of sea bass arrived for main course wobbling precariously on a rubbly pile of fat mussels and smoky bacon. Its crisp, wrinkled skin covered flakes of fresh fish and a soft fondant potato created the perfect foil to soak up the savoury juices of the velouté. The whole dish was pretty much above reproach.
Unsure of what to serve as dessert to impress, then serve them all was the thinking of chef James Farrow.; 5 miniature desserts which looked like small portions until I tasted the big flavours. First I was zapped by chocolate, then tingled by citrus. I couldn’t keep my spoon from the dome of boozy ice cream and pillows of soft, fruity mousse slipped softly down my throat. It was just the way to end a meal.
Absorbing as the food was, it’s lofty status rose further by the wines alongside, carefully and meticulously chosen by Alan Whitehead of House of Townend and General Manager at Aston, Craig Squelch. An enchanting, rare sparkling Riesling with the canapés, a fresh rosé that worked well with the tart, a minerally, full-bodied Sancerre with the fish and seductively sweet Muscat for dessert were excellent choices all-round.
The food at Aston food has a way of taking you places without getting lost, and if you should stray a little there are plenty of smiling, willing staff to help you find your way back.