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Meet the talented head chef from Knoll House Hotel

PUBLISHED: 12:03 07 June 2018

Knoll House Hotel

Knoll House Hotel

Matt Jessop

The bistro at Knoll House is open daily providing sensational views across Studland Bay as well as a head chef who is passionate about sourcing local produce for his Anglo-French inspired menu

Head Chef, Marek SittaHead Chef, Marek Sitta

Situated a few minutes walk from Studland Bay, Knoll House Hotel was once the summer retreat for the Bankes family of Kingston Lacy. In 1931 it became a family hotel offering tennis courts, a swimming pool and beautiful landscaped gardens adjacent to the golden sandy beach. Last year the hotel welcomed new owners, and now its bistro and restaurant are headed up by Czech-born chef, Marek Sitta who enjoys exploring Dorset’s award-winning larder of food and drink on his menus.

Who inspired you to be a chef?

From the age of 10 I helped my granny make Sunday lunch for the family. She was an amazing cook and teacher, she created the most original and delicious recipes using leftovers from the pantry. My grandfather always said I’d be a chef when I grew up and here I am!

How would you describe the style of food at Knoll House?

It’s Anglo-French in style. The hotel is a traditional venue with fabulous views over Studland Bay so we like to reflect this within our menu. So you will find French classics like tuna niçoise salad as well as a slow-roast shin of beef.

Slow-roast shin of beef with horseradish mashSlow-roast shin of beef with horseradish mash

What are your most popular dishes at the moment?

The succulent Knoll House prawn and crayfish cocktail is always popular, as is the dessert table where guests help themselves to sweets from creme brûlée to cheesecake. Our bistro offers a range of lunch options including gourmet burgers, sandwiches and salads. Our coastal location means that people can pop in for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea whilst walking the South West Coast Path. We’re dog-friendly too.

What is your favourite signature dish to cook?

Slow-cooked lamb shank. It’s a dish I make for my family at home so I’ve really refined it. The meat should simply fall of the bone if cooked to perfection.

Your decadent afternoon teas are also rather popular

Indeed they are! You can choose from a classic Cream Tea menu, add finger sandwiches for a traditional option or push the boat out with a glass of bubbly! All our scones and cakes are freshly baked and homemade. We can also cater for special occasions teas such as baby showers and birthday tea parties.

One of the cheesecake desserts at Knoll HouseOne of the cheesecake desserts at Knoll House

You’re very keen on sourcing your ingredients locally

Very much so. We are passionate about supporting the local economy and so we source as locally as possible to keep the community thriving. We even sell jars of chutney and homemade jam in our bistro made by Swanage-based Lily’s Produce.

If you had to choose, what would be your favourite meal?

It would have to be the Czech Republic national dish, roast pork with sauerkraut and homemade dumplings, shared with my family and my beloved granny if she were still here.

More details knollhouse.co.uk or call 01929 450450

Knoll House Sample Menu

Starters

• Leek & Dorset Blue tart with chive cream fraiche

• Heritage tomatoes, bocconcini, olive tapenade, herb crostini

Mains

• Dorset Crab & prawn linguine, fennel, white wine and chilli sauce

• Butternut squash risotto with Dorset Blue & sage

• Slow-roast shin of beef with horseradish mash, tender stem broccoli, carrot puree and red wine jus

Desserts

• Sticky toffee pudding, honey & ginger ice cream

• Strawberry cheesecake, balsamic, strawberry & mint

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