THE Hidden Chef in Trowbridge has been on my ‘hit list’ of places to go ever since I wrote an article about its head chef and owner Dean Toon back in June.

He was furloughed from his job as executive chef at the Blunsdon House Hotel in Swindon during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

After providing meals at home for village residents in Holt, he was asked what his plans were for the future.

Nine villagers clubbed together to raise more than £27,000 to help Mr Toon fulfil his dream of managing his own restaurant.

He says: “When restaurants closed their doors in March 2020, I had to think creatively about how I was going to stay doing what I loved.

“Here at The Hidden Chef Brasserie we are all about providing incredible food, made from the finest local ingredients.”

Reviews left on the TripAdvisor rave about Mr Toon’s cuisine; he uses fresh ingredients to create really tasty, handcrafted dishes - served straight from the kitchen.

The menu changes regularly according to seasonal availability and includes locally reared meats, the region’s finest vegetables, local cheeses and more, all matched with an exquisitely curated wine list.

The Hidden Chef offers Trowbridge and the surrounding area classic, traditional haute cuisine in a relaxed, informal setting, as I found when I visited last Saturday.

My wife Feona chose the crab starter from the menu, which comprised black ravioli, potato consommé, tapioca and salty fingers (£9.50), while I went for the orzoto, comprising pearl barley, shallots, wild mushrooms, smoked truffle and parsley (£8.75).

I have to say they were among the tastiest starters my wife and I have ever had, succulent and beautifully presented in round bowls on plates.

Moving on to the main courses, I chose the sea bass (£23.50), while Fee selected the Wiltshire pork (£24.50). Her dish came with a pork loin, crispy belly, a potato and black pudding terrine, with roast apple and juniper, while mine consisted of a pave of sea bass with clams, fennel, haricot beans, sea lettuce and leeks. Again, both dishes were superb, beautifully presented and tasted as delicious as they looked.

To finish, Fee opted for a lemon meringue pie with elderflower sorbet (£7.95), while I plumped for the mango and passionfruit cheesecake, with spiced pineapple compote and a lovely coconut sorbet (£8.50).

For drinks, Fee asked for a non-alcoholic Peroni Libera beer (£3.50), while I had a Peroni (£4.50), plus a jug of iced water to share during the meal.

Our total bill came to £90.70 and I rounded the total up to £100 to give the staff a tip.

The brasserie in St George's Works off Silver Street is small but has a relaxed and intimate atmosphere with seating for up to 18 diners. The two staff on duty on Saturday evening provided an excellent, friendly and accommodating service.

The Hidden Chef deserves to gain a wider reputation for its food. It’s truly a hidden gem for the time being but I suspect that it won’t be for long.

John Baker