An invitation to eat at Raymond Blanc’s ‘Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison’ is not one to be taken lightly, and most definitely not one for refusing. So when my mother told me that on her list of ‘things to do’ she still had to eat at Le Manoir, I obliged and very quickly. I made the booking some 3 months ahead and was mentally counting down the days.
I’ve always been a great fan of Raymond Blanc’s cooking and the philosophy behind his food. I was I confess, curious to know if indeed his cooking and passion for seasonal organic produce was going to be as good as it came across in his cookery programmes.
The hotel ‘Belmond, Le Manoir aux quat’Saison’ is situated in Great Milton, Oxfordshire and surrounded by lawns, flower beds, orchards and of course, the vegetable and herb garden, which supplies the kitchen with its fresh organic produce. It is idyllic, beautiful, typically English, peaceful and very welcoming- in fact, it is perfect.
We were lucky enough to arrive on an English summer’s day, sunny but not too hot, menus, aperitifs and beautiful canapés were served al-fresco on the lawn, till we were called to go indoors to our table.
We were advised that there is approx. a 20 minute wait between courses, details of our dishes were put on our table as a ‘take-away’ menu. This, they advised, is so that customers don’t have to have long introductory speeches by their waiters every time a dish is served-unless of course they want to, in which case all they have to do is ask.
For the next 2.5 hours we sat captivated as each dish arrived at our table, each a work of art
We both ordered the same dessert
Followed by coffee and petit fours in the garden
Did it meet my expectations? Well, it was beautifully served, in perfect surroundings, by fantastic staff and most importantly- it was in fact the best food I have ever had, one to remember.
( Oh and one more thing, which I loved- there is no mobile phone reception in the restaurant!)