Lincolnshire Pride

Dining Out at Grain Store, Doddington Hall

A top-notch dining experience from breakfast to lunch and right into the evening. This month we’re enjoying the absolutely wonderful Grain Store Café, Restaurant and Bar, the newest addition to Lincoln’s Doddington Hall & Gardens

Remember, back in mid-May, when the clouds and rain finally cleared off and we enjoyed a spectacular weekend of sunshine and blue skies? Well, it was on that Friday afternoon we were due to photograph a selection of dishes at Doddington Hall’s Grain Store.

Lincoln’s Grade I listed, late-16th century, prodigy house and its 1,900 acre country estate look pretty good at any time of year. In autumn for example, there’s plenty of scope for walks and a country clothing store stocking leading names like Barbour and Schöffel. 

In winter time there are frosty lawns, Christmas trees and decorations in the Bauble Barn. Spring brings beautiful bluebells and blossom with new life in the garden and the reopening of the hall itself. 

And then… there’s summer. Summer at Doddington Hall means live opera and theatre on the lawn, Sculpture at Doddington plus the opportunity to enjoy summer tree walks, evening sculpture tours and floral retreats.

This year, though, there’s an additional incentive to visit the estate, as Doddington Hall’s Grain Store Café, Restaurant and Bar celebrates its six month anniversary with summer menus and opportunities to enjoy great dining and some glorious sunshine, just as we did during our visit.

Doddington Hall opened its farm shop and café in 2007. It’s renowned for championing the very best seasonal produce and offering award-winning dining. The recent addition of the Grain Store complements the range of options available on the estate extending into excellent evening dining.

As its name suggests the restaurant was created on the site of the estate’s old grain store during its arable farming days. Today, the Wilder Doddington project has seen arable farming cease with a mission of letting nature take over. A driving force of the project is the herd of rare breed and pasture-fed Lincoln Red cattle; at low stocking rates they help create new habitats for wildlife, and support carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation.

In addition to Lincoln Red beef, Hambleton Farms (situated in the estate’s farm shop) also supplies the Grain Store with locally sourced meat such as lamb and pork.

A productive kitchen garden, too, allows the estate to produce its own vegetables, herbs and salads, including seasonal produce like rhubarb, new potatoes and even the cornflowers, violas and nasturtiums which are used to add a pretty finishing touch to puddings. Other suppliers include Grain of Truth Bakery, and fresh fish is supplied each day from Grimsby via local suppliers.

Eight chefs work with Head Chef Chris Drury to produce a constantly-evolving range of dishes across a breakfast menu served from 8.30am-11am, then a brunch menu served from 11.30am-noon. Lunch is served from noon until 3.30pm. À la carte evening dining is available on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm-9pm and Sunday lunch is served in the restaurant from noon til 4pm. Booking is essential for restaurant dining.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, there’s a selection of nibbles, plus a choice of five starters and five main courses, plus a brace of grill options utilising Doddington’s 28-day aged Lincoln Red beef. 

Accompaniments to the two steaks include beef dripping and peppercorn sauce, foraged wild garlic butter, as well as triple-cooked chips. Just that description alone tells you all you need to know about how seriously the restaurant takes its steaks, and the flagship main course proving popular with diners is Lincoln Red beef shin with olive oil mash served with kitchen garden gremolata.

It’s wise to leave room for dessert, too, with four options during our visit including an interpretation of Eton Mess using kitchen garden rhubarb or a glazed croissant pain au chocolat and butter pudding with whisky muscovado clotted cream.

Alternatively, a very good cheese board includes Lincolnshire Smoked Poacher and Dambuster, as well as Colston Basset from yonside of the A1 just over the border into Nottinghamshire.

Main course options include helpful wine suggestions courtesy of Manager Giovanni De Rosa whose experience on the Lincoln dining out scene has included working at The Bentley Hotel, The Old Bakery under Ivano de Serio and at The Bronze Pig. 

Whilst Chris has been a part of Doddington Hall for over nine years, Giovanni arrived in November last year, prior to the Grain Store’s opening. He oversees a restaurant with a smart look and feel thanks to its rustic tables, polished concrete floors and expansive areas of glazing all of which create a modern place for dining but also one in keeping with the nature of Doddington Hall as an established country estate. The bird motifs on the glazing, for example, are species of birds that are already benefitting from the wilding, and can be seen in summer flying near the Grain Store.

A sunny balcony and a terrace for dining, the open-plan layout and a swish emerald recycled glass bar top also help to create a dining environment that’s commensurate with Chris’s evening menu.

Doddington’s Grain Store is a stunning place both architecturally and in the presentation of its dishes but its beauty is by no means superficial. You’ll enjoy a warm welcome from the team and brilliant dishes, produced from the best ingredients that the estate itself, and Lincolnshire as a whole, can offer.

Grain Store

À la carte menu, served Friday and Saturday evenings

Marinated olives with chilli & pepper, £4.50.
Grain of Truth bread and smoked sea salt butter, £4.
Grilled asparagus, smoked aioli, £5.

Potted local venison, gentleman’s relish, breakfast radishes & beef dripping sourdough, £9.
Cured, cold-smoked sea trout, forced rhubarb umeboshi and ponzu, brown butter mayonnaise, kitchen garden mibuna, £10.
Lincolnshire asparagus, burrata, wild garlic pesto, kitchen garden mibuna & hazelnut, £9.

Main Courses
Pan-fried hake, palourde clams, samphire, pickled fennel, £20.
Breast of Boston lamb, wild garlic gnocchi, Lincolnshire asparagus, heritage carrots, mint dressing, £24.
Braised shin of Doddington Herd beef, olive oil mash, baby turnips, kitchen garden herb gremolata, £18.
Doddington Herd Steak, £32/10oz Ribeye, or £28/10oz Sirloin, with triple-cooked chips, sauce, homemade sea salt butter.

Pineapple upside-down cake, spiced caramel & clotted cream, £8.
Brown butter ganache, olive oil ice cream and cocoa tuile, £8.
Kitchen Garden rhubarb Eton mess cheesecake, £8.
Glazed croissant, pain au chocolat and butter pudding, whisky muscovado clotted cream, £8.

NB: Sample menu and featured dishes, subject to availability and change.

Grain Store at Doddington Hall

The Pitch: “The Grain Store is the ideal location to relax and refuel. Delicious seasonal menus showcase our pasture-fed Lincoln Red beef, game and kitchen garden produce along with the finest locally sourced and British ingredients.”

Café & Bar Opening Times: Mon-Sat 8.30am-5pm, Sun 8.30am-4pm. Restaurant & Bar: Open for à la carte Fri-Sat, 6-9pm, Sunday Lunch 12-4pm. NB: Booking essential for Restaurant.

Doddington Hall & Gardens, Doddington, Lincoln, LN6 4RU. Call 01522 243189 or see