Review: Hotel Du Vin Chirstmas Menu

Hotel Du Vin is a luxury hotel and bistro in the centre of the Exeter city, where it's historic walled gardens and striking architecture make for the perfect setting for any occasion, grand or small. It also boasts a full spa and pool.

This gloriously grand building used to hold the west of England eye infirmary, and I was a regular visitor as a child with eye issues. There is even still a nod to this inside the hotel, with an old sign still hanging in the hallway.

Within the hotel is it's popular Bistro which offers and elegant and informal setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have always had my eye on visiting Hotel Du Vin as I had heard great things about it, as both a hotel and the bistro.

We were invited to sample their 2 course Christmas menu, and couldn't wait to have our first visit there. The Bistro itself has high ceilings and beautiful lighting throughout, which creates a gorgeous atmosphere. The kitchen is large and open, so you can see the chefs preparing your meal. I really love this, as the food geek in me loves to see where everything comes from. 

It was a nice quiet evening, and all the staff were extremely friendly and polite. The Christmas menu offers either 2 or 3 courses of traditional Christmas items with a Hotel Du Vin twist. 

My boyfriend started with the Duck liver parfait, which was served with plum and figgy chutney and brioche. It was beautifully presented and he said it was deliciously rich and creamy. The chutney had the perfect amount of sweetness to balance all the flavours perfectly. 

I chose Christmas cured smoked salmon with cranberry toast, truffle crème fraîche. I don't normally choose salmon if it is available on the menu in the rest of the year, but there is something about it that I find Christmassy, so wanted to give it a go. The favours of the salmon were wonderful, and the crème fraîche had such a delicate hint of truffle. A squeeze of lemon brought all of the flavours to life, and I really enjoyed the whole dish.

The main event was toasted free range turkey ballotine with all the traditional trimmings, including bread sauce, pig in blanket and cranberry sauce. We ordered some extra mashed potato and roast potatoes, and the rest of the veg was as served. 

The gravy was deliciously rich, and the turkey so succulent and flavoursome. There was a great variety of vegetables, and the perfect portion size. This really was a perfect Christmas dinner out for me. You often find that Christmas set menus are mass produced, lack flavour and care, and contain generic items. This menu was fresh, delicious, and each item and a luxurious Hotel Du Vin twist.

We had a really lovely evening, and would love to visit here again to try their other menus, including their afternoon teas. 

Food ***** Service ***** Atmosphere *****