December’s featured restaurant was The Vineyard Hotel, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8JU
Award: 3 AA Rosettes
Visit: 30 December 2019 – 2 January 2020.
We visit the Vineyard on a regular basis, and always for New Year. This was Executive Chef Tom Scade’s first New Year’s celebration party since he joined the Vineyard from the Ritz hotel in London where he was sous chef to John Williams MBE. Tom’s food is classical, maybe “minimalistic”, light but packed with flavour. It’s very different to the type of food served by his predecessors at the Vineyard.
Please refer to my previous reviews:
The first evening we chose from the a la carte menu with an excellent wine pairing devised by Head Sommelier Romain Bourger. Romain was awarded UK Sommelier of the Year 2019. Tom’s food was superb. Each course was well cooked and beautifully presented. The main course halibut was exceptional – cooked perfectly and served with juicy mussels, leaks and cauliflower. The service in the bar and restaurant are still of a very high standard.
My only minor reservation is with the bread and butter selection. It’s been very basic for the past few years and needs to be improved.
The second evening was the New Year’s Eve celebration. Again, the food and wines were excellent. My favourite course was the venison Wellington that was accompanied by the stunning Peter Michael Winery, Les Pavots, Bordeaux blend, 2012. There were at least 100 guests at the party, and we were extremely impressed by the super-high-quality food, wines and service.
The final evening, on New Year’s Day, we revisited the main restaurant and chose from the a la carte menu again. Instead of a wine pairing, I chose a very unusual biodynamic Californian Chenin Blanc that worked very well with the courses we had selected. The superb Lo-Fi, Chenin Blanc (Jurassic Park Vineyards), 2014 from Santa Ynez Valley, smelled of old socks but had a wonderful taste of lemon, apple and crushed almonds. The standout dish was the Cornish Cod main course which was cooked perfectly.
Once again, our New Year’s visit to the Vineyard was a great success. The food and wine were as exceptional as ever. I have high hopes for Michelin honours in the next announcements in late 2020. I highly recommend a visit!