FROM pansies to parsley, roses to rosemary, the summer menu at the award-winning Queens Arms in Corton Denham, near Wincanton, is blooming with fresh flavours and floral flourishes from the pub’s kitchen garden.
New head chef, Steven Mesher, is working closely with the gardening team, visiting the plot on a weekly basis with owners, Jeanette and Gordon Reid, so that the kitchen can be led by the land.
With a bumper crop of edible flowers, handpicked petals are bringing a wave of colour, texture and delicate tasting notes to the pass. Dishes including rump of lamb with fondant potato and rainbow chard as well as seared scallops with brawn, chorizo and sea vegetables, are adorned with these freshly cut flowers, from the peppery orange petals of nasturtiums to purple violas, with their lettuce-like flavour profile.
With the majority of the dining pub’s fruit and vegetables coming from its kitchen garden, at Corton Denham House, the plot’s influence has grown into every corner of the menu.
Examples are the garden strawberry mess with basil meringue –an original Somerset taste of summer – or the freshly picked mint behind the bar, ready to be brewed in herbal tea or mixed into a cocktail with Black Cow Vodka, ginger beer and lime, for a Dorset Donkey with a kick.