Summer is well and truly here, and we are celebrating all that it brings with our fresh and seasonal Summer Garden Tasting Menu.

Our eight-course tasting experience marries the best of the local Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire produce with freshly-picked flowers, herbs and vegetables grown in our kitchen garden, right here at Healing Manor Hotel. We work with the best Lincolnshire growers, makers, producers, farmers and fish merchants to make this a truly seasonal, field to fork and sea to plate experience.

Dining from our Summer Garden Tasting Menu is like taking a walk through our garden, with each course matching a classic summer ingredient with an edible flower or herb, each selected for its unique taste, texture and flavour.

To find out more about the menu and its inspiration, we caught up with executive chef Steven Bennett, aka The Lincolnshire Chef.

Course 1 | Monk Fish, lemon, cucumber, lemon geranium, wild chervil

Served first to whet your appetite is our monk fish dish, with lemon, cucumber, lemon geranium and wild chervil. Mildly sweet with a firm texture, monk fish is currently in season and is presented here as a lightly-battered scampi. For extra lightness and freshness, we’ve added lemon and home-grown geranium to the batter. Both the geranium flower and herb is used, its lemony flavour complements the fish so well. Another garden element is wild chervil; with a similar taste to parsley, its flavour balances the acidity of the lemon.

Course 2 | Goats Cheese Cheesecake, walnut, beetroot, chive, borage

Our goats cheese cheesecake is a lighter take on the classic savoury dish, perfect for the warmer months. Its oat biscuit base is created from pastry and whipped butter for an open, light texture, and is topped with a goats cheese and whipped cream filling. The plate is dressed with candied walnuts and a walnut ketchup, beetroot salsa and a beetroot carpaccio, adding an earthy yet slightly acidic element. From our garden are chives, selected for their fresh, oniony scent and flavour, and delicate borage flowers; with a cucumber-like taste, these add freshness to the dish to balance out the acidity of the goats cheese.

Course 3 | Scallops, black pudding, cauliflower, hazelnut, nasturtium

The scallops we use for this dish are hand-dived, meaning there is less impact on the ocean floor. Delicate and sweet, we’ve paired these with black pudding, our take on the classic surf and turf. Accompanying the fish and meat are cauliflower purée and carpaccio for earthiness, as well as apple purée and sticks. For seasoning, we’ve used nasturtium flowers grown in our garden. Peppery in taste, we love them as much as the butterflies do.

Course 4 | Heritage Tomatoes, mozzarella, oregano, cornflowers

A true sign of summer, tomatoes are the star ingredient of course four, with their textures, tastes and scents used in multiple ways. Our tomatoes are traditional English varieties in red, green, yellow and orange, and we serve them as our take of an Italian burrata, with sherry vinegar and buffalo mozzarella. With the dish are tomato consommé and pickled fennel, with its intense aniseed flavour, sitting on a spiralised green gel. The final elements are tapenade and sundried tomatoes, both rich and dense in flavour. From our garden are oregano, a classic accompaniment to tomatoes and pretty cornflowers, whose soft, neutral flavour balances out the rest of the dish.

Course 5 | Scotch Egg, mustard seeds, garden vegetable piccalilli, sage, viola

A firm favourite in the Pig & Whistle Kitchen, our Scotch Egg is a posh take on the bar snack. We’ve got a creative take on the classic, using a local Scamen’s Egg layered with Lincolnshire pork sausage. Served alongside are a piccalilli gel, full of the flavours of orange and pickled garden vegetables including celery and shallots. The Scotch Egg is served sitting on a bacon jam with a dressing of sage; yellow for its mustard-like flavour, peppery purple and a delicate, neutral green variety. Finally, viola flowers add a touch of bitterness to the sweetness of the dish.

Course 6 | Lamb, lettuce, peas, windowsill pea shoots, marigolds

Lamb is synonymous with summer and we’ve selected the sweet, tender loin for course six. After searing the meat, we’ve added a light, flaky pastry element, pulled lamb shoulder, scorched lettuce, feta and tomatoes. The feta and tomatoes add acidity to the dish which contrasts superbly with the the sweetness and delicacy of our windowsill pea shoots. We’ve taken left-over peas, condensed them and planted them in pots of soil. Left in the warmth and sunshine of our windowsills, the result is our exquisite pea shoots. For a touch of saltiness, the dish is dressed with freshly-picked, yellow marigolds.

Course 7 | Eton Mess, strawberries, dianthus, fennel leaf

The first of our dessert courses, our layered Eton Mess is a summer classic. Dehydrated Swiss meringue has been blow-torched to create a crispier finish, similar to a pavlova. The meringue is layered with a fresh strawberry mousse, and a fresh and light pistachio and white chocolate crème diplomat. As well as fresh strawberries and pistachios, the dish is finished with a clotted cream ice cream. Our kitchen garden elements are dianthus, selected for its clove-like flavour and scent, and fennel leaf, whose aniseed flavour balances the other elements.

Course 8 | Topic, chocolate, mint, pelargonium

The final dish of your summer garden tasting experience is our take on a Topic bar. Our head chef loves to create desserts inspired by old-school chocolate bars, and this Topic bar is a decadent, chocolatey treat. The dish is created from nougat, chopped hazelnuts and a caramel filling, topped with a tempered chocolate. For added luxury, the dish is served with a chocolate espresso sauce and a coffee ice-cream. To bring all of the chocolate and coffee elements together, our home-grown chocolate mint is the perfect final touch.

In addition to sampling the exquisite pairing of ingredients, edible flowers and herbs, you can complement your meal with our exclusive drinks flight. Each course has been expertly matched to a cocktail, beer or wine, ranging from delicate and subtle to stronger and punchier. Our goats’ cheese cheesecake with walnut, beetroot, chive and borage is served with the light and zesty Zinfandel Blush, Angels Flight whilst the flavours of our classic Scotch Egg with mustard seeds, garden vegetable piccalilli, sage and viola stand up well to Docks Beers’ Hard Graft.

Our kitchen garden is expertly-tended by Linda Hay, who we spoke to to find out more about how she plans, tends and nurtures the garden. Planning for the summer garden tasting menu started months ago, when they reviewed what had grown well and what would give a plentiful crop for use in the kitchen this summer.

How did you become involved with the gardens at Healing Manor Hotel?

I was born and have spent almost all of my life living in Healing – so when Charlotte and Steve took over the reins at Healing Manor I couldn’t resist the temptation. I first became involved with the gardening at Healing Manor in 2018 when I asked Charlotte and Steve if I could do some weeding as it was all looking very neglected.
It’s such a privilege working in such beautiful surroundings. Even on cold wet days, it feels good.

What do you get out of gardening here?

It’s definitely a labour of love and I have had to learn to prioritise , realise my limitations and accept that I can only make a small dent in maintaining such expansive grounds. Fortunately the tree and shrub planting from when it was a family home make for stunning landscaping. The atmosphere is very calm and tranquil , all of the staff are very friendly and I enjoy nothing more than chatting with residents about plants and gardening and explaining what I’m trying to achieve in the courtyard gardens for the kitchen.

What is currently growing in the kitchen garden for use in the kitchens?

At the moment there is quite a lot of colour in the courtyard. I’m trying to grow as many edible flowers as possible: we have violas, lavender, nasturtium, cornflower, dianthus, lemon geranium and pelagonium – ‘angel eyes’ – to name but a few. Herbs include chives, parsley, oregano, fennel, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, tarragon and borage. Each year I like to try a couple more to give the kitchen variety and myself a challenge.

The menu this year has mainly evolved around what is available in the gardens and is in season. Steve and I had a discussion earlier on this year as to what he wanted and what I felt had grown well last year and would give a plentiful crop. It’s a massive learning curve.

What tips do you have for people interested in growing their own herbs and edible flowers?

Growing herbs and edible flowers is so rewarding and very easy. Mint is really easy – I have it growing in my pond at home – but it’s very invasive and really need to be kept in a container. Nasturtium are also easy to grow and very versatile as the leaves are delicious with a peppery flavour – a great accompaniment to a salad and the flowers which are edible make a vivid garnish. The only drawback is the cabbage white butterfly that loves to lay its eggs on the leaves. Before you know it, the caterpillars hatch and quickly demolish the plant. This year we’ve made a wooden cage covered in butterfly netting to keep them off – and so far so good.

Our Summer Garden Tasting Menu is available every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm to 8pm in the Restaurant. Our Tasting Menu is also available gluten-free and we have a vegetarian option, too. Once you’re seated, the table is yours for the night. To read the full menu, and book your Tasting Menu experience, visit here.