So seem to have been out a lot recently, feast or famine or so it seems.This week saw us having lunch with Ray White, well actually at Raymond Blancs famous Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, in Great Milton Oxfordshire. Dinner at Stoke Park Cub, a girls lunch at the Swallow Street rooms ( part of Bentleys restaurant) in Swallow Street London, a very late Good Friday Lunch with the willowy brunette, lunch with friends in Sloane Square and Sunday Lunch with son and wife in Fulmer
Needless to say Le Manoir topped the list both for food and service, not to mention the location. This world-famous restaurant and hotel is now part of the Belmond group of hotels ( formerly Orient Express group). I love Le Manoir, ever since we returned to the UK, it has never failed. The service is exemplary , food delicious, they encourage children to come, as well as encourage photographs to be taken. Raymond’s eldest Son, Olivier (Olly), happened to be in the same french class at school as my eldest daughter. The french master always took great delight in the filling in of the blancs in a french test by saying Remplir les Ollys! Very odd, but something that has always stuck in my mind.
We went with friends and their friends, the sun shone and the gardens as well as the food was perfect ( apart form the constant arrival of guests, Via Helicopter!
The next visit was to The Swallow Street rooms, for a birthday girls lunch. This was wonderfully organised by the lovely Antonia for her Mum, and it turned out to be a complete surprise with girl friends descending from Belgium and far-flung places.
As Cate, the Mum, is from Wales originally, Antonia took the opportunity in her dad’s absence to have Lamb as the main course.
The Swallow Street rooms are a private dining room which seats 24 or so below Bentley’s. The room is made to look like a smart library with sage green Panelling and mirrors. Bentleys is the place to go for Oysters and people watching as it would seem that a lot of M.P.s go there as well!
Onto Stoke Park Country Club, for dinner with the older male members, a once a year event, which I have the impression is just an excuse to raise money for their drinking fund! However it is usually a very nice evening in good company. For dinner this year, the starter was poached salmon, which tested very nice, but to my mind it was a pity that they did not remove the skin, crispy skin is great but sloppy skin, on poached fish, Uh No No!, For the main course it was Pork Cutlet with Ham and Swiss cheese, again I feel that the execution was not the best, it looked very dry and burnt at the edges. If this was me cooking it, I would make a pocket in the pork, fill it with goats cheese and wrap in Parma ham. Fortunately, I chose the alternative choice which although a bit skimpy was a far better dish, Salad with King Prawns. Dessert for those who have a penchant for Puds, AN apple crumble with Blackberries.
Onto Saturday Lunch. we went to Colbert on Sloane Square to have lunch with friends from the Cotswolds. Colbert is part of the group of London Restaurants run By Corbyn and King. Fortunately it is Jeremy King and Chris Corbyn ( and not Jeremy Corbyn, otherwise we might indeed be a bit concerned.)
Apart from Colbert, they also own The Wolseley ( my favourite) The Delaunay, on Aldwych, Fischers in Marylebone, Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly, The Beaumont a hotel in Mayfair, which won best hotel 2016, and within the hotel the American Bar and the Colony Club grill. There was one other, on Lower Regent Street, but they changed their format, and it just didn’t work, it is no more. So all of the above have a similar theme, a grand European Brasserie type restaurant. Fischers, is based on an Austrian Theme, Brasserei Zédel, very much a french brasserie with a Prix Fix very good value menu.
Maybe I have just eaten out too many times in the recent past, plus himself is learning to cook, as I was left disappointed with my lunch. My starter salad was beetroot and goats cheese which i really liked, but when I see dressed crab on the menu, i expect os see A Dressed crab, not a tiny pile of crab on a plate for £17.00 and himself chose the Feuilletés Anchois as a starter, and expected the very least a small pastry case filled with Anchovies, but think again, it was just like Cheese Straws with a smidgen of Anchovy. I have to say that the Filet Americain however was good, or so he said. Our waiter was on the other hand surly, too quick to remove plates and generally did not seem to love his job. So not good marks I am afraid, they must do better.
Sunday Lunch on the other hand was for the most part what the Doctor ordered. We had, ham Hock Fritters and heritage tomato salad, followed by, Sausages and Mash, Smoked haddock fish cake with a poached egg, beer battered haddock and chips followed by a crumble and Ice cream. This was in The Black Horse, in Fulmer, a small very pretty village in Buckinghamshire, worth a visit, they have rooms lots of outside tables, parking and seem to serve food at least on a Sunday, pretty much all day.
And finally, it being Sunday, breakfast was cooked. A His and Hers.
His was Sautéed mushrooms on Toasted Sourdough Bread with Soft Poached Eggs, Rocket, Tomatoes, Chimichurri sauce and a Mexican spicy salsa.
Hers a bowl of Berries!