Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lunch At Castle Hill Inn

 Castle Hill Inn
It was a sunny, cool weekend day when we recently headed to Newport, Rhode Island to tour and enjoy lunch at Castle Hill Inn.  A beautiful mansion on a cliff overlooking the entrance to Narragansett Bay, we were seated at the windows for gorgeous views of the water and boats and ships sailing by.  The Inn remains the very first Relais and Chateaux property in Newport.

We began with drinks.  My Blood Orange Bellini (Prosecco, Peachtree and Blood Orange) hit the spot after the 90 minute drive from Boston.  Dean went with the Stormy Cider:  Gosling Black Rum, Fresh Cider and Ginger Beer. The front of the Inn is terraced with a large manicured lawn that hosts many weddings and events in the Summer months.

For my appetizer I chose the Duck Confit Ravioli:  Sweet Potatoes, Pears, Tallegio Mornay Sauce and Root Vegetable Hay.  It was a warm and very satisfying, delicious taste of Fall bounty.

Dean went with the Lobster Corn Chowder with generous chunks of fresh lobster and a hearty piece of fresh corn bread.

Chef Karsten Hart surprised us with a special treat of this Pork Belly and Caviar, a shining jewel on a plate and every bit as rich in flavor as it looks.  Such delightful surprises are the unexpected joys of dining at at Inn with the highest level of quality.

In a rare choice, we both selected the same entrée:   Pan Seared Georges Bank Scallops.  Served in a Baked Potato Pureée with Braised Kale, Asian Pear, Gooseberry and a Bacon Emulsion.  It was layered with flavors sweet and savory, textures soft and crunchy and those perfectly seared scallops.

The translucent scallop meat tasted as if it had been lovingly scooped out of the ocean that very morning and prepared with just enough of a delicate crunch to enhance the creamy softness at the center, perfectly cooked.

Next was dessert.  This is the Pumpkin Cake with Cider-Butterscotch Glaze, Pecan Nougatine and Cinnamon Ice Cream.

I went with the Fried Apple Pie, a tartlet shaped piece of heaven with Bourbon caramel, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream and Brown Butter Crumb.  Buttery rich but not cloyingly sweet, it was a delightful twist on a New England favorite.

Cappuccino rounded out the meal, served with sticks of rock candy to add sweetness, ending a perfectly satisfying, relaxing few hours of afternoon dining with a view.

The Inn has four dining rooms and, as mentioned, hosts many functions.  There are 9 rooms in the original mansion and several cottages with water views.  The luxurious New England feel throughout is palpable and the extraordinary attention to detail is apparent everywhere, from the way everything is presented to the impeccable service from the moment we entered the door.

Newport is a fabulous place to visit all year long and is hosting many holiday-themed events and gatherings through the Winter.  We'd totally recommend a visit to Castle Hill Inn for lunch or dinner, even an overnight stay as a great getaway from the urban mix.  In our next post we'll spend more time in Newport and at Castle Hill, exploring the breathtaking mansions (now a World Heritage site) where we strolled and leisurely enjoyed spending time chatting with a surprising number of international visitors enjoying the amazing architecture and views, shopping and more.

Castle Hill Inn
500 Ocean Drive
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.849.3800

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