The manor is very much out of the way and when you leave the M11 it's still a fair way. The grounds of the manor are beautiful, a mix of manicured and wild, the building is very old and needs a bit of TLC but the internal decoration is impeccable, if you like the old manor type as in Agatha Christie's novels.
The staff was very welcoming and immediately put us at ease by directing us to a lounge for drinks whilst we waited for our allotted time. Amuse bouche and menus were provided so that we could choose the food before going into the restaurant. Nice selection of cocktails.
The restaurant itself is well appointed and well kept and we were pleased to see that there was actually a good atmosphere in that people were very convivial and you didn't feel that you could hear everyone else's conversation or cutlery banging on plates in absolute silence. So that contributed greatly to the experience. I reckon though we must have been the only ones under the age of 395. People in there looked so old ...you can see it's a manor in the country. We're not used to that in London.
Bread and butter were swiftly brought to the table. Nice selection and, even more marvellous, they replenish your stock ad infinitam. You won't see that anywhere else. In other Michelin restaurants, they replenish once then the plate gets whisked away.
Starters were nice. I have the crab, great. However the disappointment was the main dish. This was rabbit, which normally has a very distinct flavour. This one however was cooked sous-vide first and (1) I didn't actually recognise it was rabbit with this slightly gelatinous texture and (2) it had absolutely no taste. The gels and various mousses made up for it but it was all a bit strange. Turbot and lobster was great however with a lovely bisque and great pasta.
The desserts (soufflé with gooseberry compote and clotted cream ice cream) was divine and the Coriander and Coconut Parfait bergamot sorbet, coconut macaroon and coriander cress was unusual but great and interesting to eat.
So all in all a very positive experience if it wasn't for that weird rabbit. A great experience if you choose your dishes well.
Raspberries and English Sparkling Wine lemon verbena posset, Ridgeview jelly and fresh raspberries
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