Set amidst 300 acres of countryside, it's always so delightful to be reminded of a world outside the urban jungle (if you brought in the sound of waves sloshing against pebbles and a dinghy or two bobbing around, I'd positively feel like I was back home!). The Mansion far surpasses the newer West Wing, so you'll be pleased to hear that Colettes is attached to this, the nicest part of an otherwise very large hotel. Among the beautiful grounds, the Walled Garden is without a doubt, my favourite enclave of the estate and is coincidentally where the ultra clever Head Chef, Russell Bateman, has set up a working kitchen garden, growing fresh produce for his innovative and cosmopolitan menu.
There are two tasting menus on offer at Colettes, set at £75pp for 6-courses or £85pp for 8-courses (£125pp and £152pp respectively with wine pairing). I had a slightly different version as part of a larger group, but was lucky enough to sample the Chicken from the 6-course menu - A.M.A.Z.I.N.G is all that needs to be said, except that our humble feathered friend needs to be brought back to our plates with far more frequency, using the same care and consideration...it was perfect to look at and a taste sensation to eat. I shouldn't stop at the main course though, because the various canapés were thoughtful, light and delicious too - I tasted a pea mousse that was bright in colour and like a dissolving cloud in my mouth! The nicest surprise of the night for me though, as a carnivorous meat lover, was the vegetarian starter: Carrot features in the 8-course menu and was both texturally perfect and full of flavour, creativity and precision. As an event manager by day, I incessantly struggle to cater well for vegetarians, so am irrationally enamoured by any chef who can bring my senses to life by a humble carrot (one of my least favourite vegetables by the way!).
Do not come here and expect a cost effective evening, but if you want a divine treat and culinary adventure on a luxury country estate and spa, this is a rather solid option.
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