Awards: 1 Michelin Stars for The Dining Room Restaurant, Michelin Green Star

Visit: New Year 2022

Price: ***

Website: https://www.whatleymanor.com/

The Review:

Whatley Manor is a 19th century Cotswolds manor house with 23 rooms, two restaurants, 12 acres of gardens and a superb spa.  Originally a private estate and hunting lodge, it first became a hotel in 1987, but had a full restoration and relaunch in 2003 by its current owners, Alix and Christian Landolt.  We last visited in March, so if you want more details and pictures, please see my previous review.

Stuart Clarke Restaurant ReviewWe stayed for three nights over New Year’s Eve.  The package included a tasting menu on our first evening, in the 1-Michelin Starred Dining Room showcasing Head Chef Ricki Weston’s culinary creations, a New Year’s Eve black-tie Gala Dinner served in The Dining Room, and New Year’s Day dinner served in Grey’s restaurant.  Breakfasts and lunches were also served, so this was a very full, foodie itinerary!

On our first evening, the 6-course tasting menu started with two amuse bouche served in the bar, and another two served in the restaurant.  The first course was raw scallop with crème fraiche and trout roe.  This was followed by a very good Jacobs ladder with smoked eel and a refreshing consommé that you drank after eating the meat.  Then there was perfectly cooked wild sea bass served on a hollandaise sauce, with grape and gooseberry.  The main course was Chateaubriand served with caramelised quince and parsnip.  The first dessert was 75% chocolate, with blackberry and yoghurt.  This was followed by a dessert of plum, custard and apple blossom served with a vinaigrette.

For New Year’s Eve, we enjoyed a 5-course Gala Dinner that included matching wines.  The meal started with a selection of very good amuse bouche.  The first course was a venison tartare served with a mushroom ketchup, sourdough croutons, and nasturtium, matched with a 2019 Adoria, Pinot Noir, from Lower Silesia, Poland.  The next course was aged beetroot, served with goat curd, winter truffle, and caramelised walnut, matched with a 2019 Gusbourne rose sparkling wine, from Kent, England.  This was the first time I have eaten aged beetroot, and I must admit I found the texture and taste challenging.  The cod and black garlic ravioli was served with citrus cream and crispy potato, matched with a 2018 La Grange Tiphaine, Chenin Blanc “Les Epinays”, from Montlouis-Sur-Loire, France.  This was excellent.  The main course was a rolled and truffled Wiltshire chicken, served with black pudding, date and crispy kale, matched with a 2015 Chateau d’Auzanet, “Melle Sophie” Cuvee Immersion, from Bordeaux, France.  Another superb dish.  Dessert was a chocolate marquise, with aerated chocolate, orange sorbet, and lemon balm, matched with a naturally sweet red dessert wine N.V. Fiumicicoli, Muscateddu, from Corsica, France.  This was an excellent celebration dinner with a range of wines that all worked extremely well with the food.  We followed the meal with champagne and live music in the lounge, and fireworks at midnight to celebrate the New Year.

Our final dinner, on New Year’s Day, was in Grey’s restaurant.  The choice from the a la carte menu included four starters, four main courses and three desserts or cheese.  We tried the starter of pressed rabbit and black pudding with pickled shallot, pistachio and date puree, which was full of flavour.  Our other starter was a scallop ravioli, served with olive oil and almond blanquette, confit lemon and crispy potato, that was excellent.  For main courses, we had the Wiltshire gold turkey, with poultry mousse, chicken fat gnocchi, and Brussels sprouts, and a very good Gigha halibut, served with a mussel cream sauce, sea vegetables, parsnip, and chervil.  A perfect meal to conclude New Year’s Day.

This was easily the best New Year’s package we have ever experienced.  Whatley Manor has everything you would expect from a 5-star country manor hotel, with superb Michelin star food, beautiful rooms and lounges, and a first-class spa.  The itinerary for this New Year package was perfect.  However, for me, it was the extraordinary level of service from all the staff, in the hotel, spa and in the restaurants, and their total commitment to making our stay pleasurable, that will be my main memory.

The Menus:

The Food:

 

The Restaurant:

Entrance to the manor:

The manor courtyard:

Main entrance to the hotel:

One of the oak panelled lounges with a roaring log fire:

The bar:

The main lounge:

Live music from Zoe Swartz Jazz & Blues Quintet in the main lounge on New Year’s Eve:

The giant Christmas tree:

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