The Olive Tree at the Queensberry Hotel
“Accomplished cooking in chic, boutique Georgian hotel” - AA Inspector
Our Inspector's View
Owners Laurence and Helen Beere have transformed their magnificent Georgian townhouse – built for the 8th Marquess of Queensbury in 1771, incidentally – into a top-ranking boutique hotel, driven by a passion for hospitality and a keen eye for interior aesthetics. Down in the basement rooms, but none the worse for that, The Olive Tree restaurant bathes in a light, minimalist look that’s a fitting stage for Chris Cleghorn’s dynamic contemporary cooking. After honing his craft in some top-flight kitchens (stints chez James Sommerin, Michael Caines and Heston Blumenthal to name but three), his eclectic approach and sharp technical skills are showcased here via five- and seven-course seasonal tasting menus, including vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free variations, and an admirably flexible approach allows you to cherry-pick a starter, main course and dessert if you’re not up for the full-on tasting experience. Whichever route you take, the modern British dishes are all built on the finest West Country produce delivered in intuitive flavour combinations. Finely tuned starters might see raw scallops pointed up with horseradish, pink grapefruit and dill, or tagliatelle fragrant with Périgord truffle, 36-month-aged parmesan and lardo. The meat department comes up with ideas such as fallow deer matched with barbecued cauliflower, golden raisins, sprouts and bitter chocolate, while other creations could be robustly treated fish, perhaps brill poached on the bone with turnip, hispi cabbage, shrimp and salted lemon. If you’re giving meat a swerve, intelligently composed dishes such as beetroot with Perl Las blue cheese, pecan and salted lemon, or macaroni with asparagus, cheddar, hen of the woods mushrooms and hazelnuts are a lesson in texture and well-matched flavours. Scintillating desserts bring a final flourish of tastes and textures – dark chocolate mousse, say, with yogurt sorbet and olive, or garriguette strawberry with mascarpone, yuzu and vanilla meringue. The wine list offers an eclectic international selection that bears the owners’ hands-on stamp.
Awards, Accolades & welcome Schemes
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 55
- Private dining available
- Steps for wheelchair: 5
- Assist dogs welcome
- Days Closed: Monday
- Lunch served from: 12.30
- Lunch served until: 13.30
- Dinner served from: 6.30
- Dinner served until: 9
- Wines under £30: 5
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 31
- Cuisine style: Modern British
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the Area
About The area
Somerset means ‘summer pastures’ – appropriate given that so much of this county remains rural and unspoiled. Ever popular areas to visit are the limestone and red sandstone Mendip Hills rising to over 1,000 feet, and by complete contrast, to the south and southwest, the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels. Descend to the Somerset Levels, an evocative lowland landscape that was the setting for the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. In the depths of winter this is a desolate place and famously prone to extensive flooding. There is also a palpable sense of the distant past among these fields and scattered communities. It is claimed that Alfred the Great retreated here after his defeat by the Danes.
Away from the flat country are the Quantocks, once the haunt of poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. The Quantocks are noted for their gentle slopes, heather-covered moorland expanses and red deer. From the summit, the Bristol Channel is visible where it meets the Severn Estuary. So much of this hilly landscape has a timeless quality about it and large areas have hardly changed since Coleridge and Wordsworth’s day.
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