The paté, the lamb and the pea puree starter on this lunch occasion were very nice but unfortunately back to the old style of expensive freshness providing the reason to be charged such a charge for the experience which was not really returned on the level that the menu prices were. Perfectly pleasant food on this occasion but it was only just that with the added negative of being too expensive for what it was.
Food Grade: 78%
The biggest fear before going on such an occasion was the service being too formal. This however, was actually kicked right in to touch as the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming and genuine at every stage. The meal itself was a set Christmas menu but with elements of real brilliance that I genuinely thought was better food than the degustation menu experienced earlier in the year. The salmon blini starter was wonderfully light and creamy; the true ‘Normande’ was beautifully fresh as an apple sorbet with freeze dried apple slice; the turkey was actually moist unlike how turkeys can very often be and the bread sauce with bacon bits and small amounts of cheese was a stroke of genius as well as the cheese with blob of truffle honey on the top being a delight.
The menu demonstrated simple flavours that would agree with virtually anyone and was beautifully done. The mini ice creams (had in the bar with after the meal with early evening liqueurs) were a lovely way to finish and this really was a superb meal. In terms of finding somewhere to have a unique Christmas Day away, it really was pure gold as an experience and one that will be very hard to match.
The food served here is elegant and definitely among the freshest I have come across with its plethora of vegetable selections, which Raymond Blanc uses, from his many surrounding gardens for all his dishes along with beautifully succulent fish. The meats are equally delightful but my only criticism with the food for this first visit was that for all its obvious style and impressive creations, the flavours were just pleasant rather than outstanding. The dishes themselves were luxurious and highly pleasing on the eye though. Overall, this is a gem of a place in general and I will never have an issue going here on any occasion, but it would be probably more for the occasion rather than to go for just the food itself – the latter here serves more as the bonus factor.