A few weeks ago, I was taken by himself to one of my favourite restaurants, Le Manoir auxQuat’Saisons, a beautiful manor house set in the
Oxfordshire countryside. This is Raymond Blanc’s wonderful two Michelin star restaurant and hotel. I have eaten there several times and it never fails to impress. We have been there for retirement dinners as well as for the Ladies who Lunch. Once upon a time Raymond Blanc teamed up with the Royal Horticultural Society to have a lunch and view the organic gardens. It was very reasonably priced and a group of 12 of us went on a beautiful summers day, we had cocktails outside, a wonderful lunch and then tea and coffee was taken outside. I remember they, served some fantastic petits-fours, I bit into one and gasped and promptly ordered and extra 11 so that we could all enjoy the one that I had just bitten into( almost orgasmic). Strangely enough, Raymonds eldest son, Oliver, ( Olly) was in the same French class, as my eldest daughter!, when it came to “remplir les blancs” ( fill in the blanks), the teacher always thought he was being a great wit by saying “Remplir les Ollies”, Very funny Not!!
So on our recent visit, it was for lunch and again the sun shone, and again we sat outside for cocktails, before adjourning for lunch.
To start with we had a soupe à l’ail followed by either Riz de Veau ( delicious) or the oeuf de poule with asparagus, again, no faults there.
For my main course I chose the Filet of Cornish Turbot and himself the Rognons de Veau. When I saw the menu, I knew straight away that is what he would choos, it is so rare to find Veal Kidneys on a menu. All were absolutely delicious.
We skipped dessert but then a plate of goodies arrived,
Yes it was my birthday and so thank you very much!. Again we went outside for our coffee and a wander around the beautiful gardens.
There were several children in the restaurant and I was interested to see the following note on the menu page. Well done Raymond!
Another note on the Menu, there is no service charge at the Manoir, this is very interesting as there seems to be a trend in the Uk ( maybe London) of Minimum spend. I read recently of one hotel bar charging £75 for 2 glasses of water, because it was past 6 pm and the minimum spend kicked in. Well done again Raymond, go for it and set the trend!
A few years ago, himself decided that I needed to learn to cook, so he sent me to the Manoir for a class. It was great fun, not sure how much I learnt, but it was fun and I would encourage anyone to go for the day. Here you will learn that not all professional kitchens are a hotbed of shouting and swearing! At Le Manoir it is an Oasis of calm.
Next time, we go to Belgium, the home of French Fries!