In a nutshell: Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant/hotel in Oxford
Cuisine: Modern French
Anniversaries and Birthdays are often the days we look for a special place, it has to be perfect from food to service to make this day worthwhile and memorable. I was lucky to have found Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and now it’s the first place I think off when people ask me where to go for their special days (if money is no issue). It’s about 1 hour away from south west London, tasting menu takes about 3 hours to finish which means you’ll spend a whole afternoon here. Even better if you can stay the night, the hotel has beautiful rooms and great breakfast.
The hotel / restaurant
This is one of those peaceful places that you just want to stay forever. Especially on a summer day, read a book outside in the sun, have some gorgeous tea and cakes. That is, after sampling some of the best food UK has to offer at the 2 star Michelin restaurant. Not to mention how romantic this place can be, I’d definitely get married here if money is no issue!
It’s a very expensive restaurant. I’ve been about 3 - 4 times and nearly always spent over £150pp. The 7 course lunch tasting menu was priced at £125pp so when we included some good wines from their extensive list, it’s normally £200pp. That places it firmly in the special occasion category, though definitely worth every penny, especially for the excellent service.
I tend to go for the tasting menu here which has been consistently amazing, dish to dish without fail. They tend to have a strong focus on vegetables, which gives a much lighter, fresher and more refined flavour compared to traditional French cuisine. For example, on my last visit (Sep 2013), the fried egg was rightfully gooey but I was more attracted to the bed of spinach, emerald green and so rich in its own flavours. The rump of lamb was beautifully cooked and again a lighter flavour was gained by adding the beetroot gratin which made it into a very garden, summer dish. The cheese plate was equally fresh with fragrant honey, perfumery peaches and mild goats’ cheese, playfully touched by the cumin. Desserts were light, not too sweet and both equally delicious.
Food Photos - Sep 2013
Fresh tomato gazpacho, olive and basil
Confit of salt cod, squid, red peppers
Soft-fried hen’s egg, watercress, Jabugo ham, hazelnut
Roast rump of lamb, beetroot gratin and garden vegetables
Somerset goats’ milk Cardo cheese, peach, cumin and celery
Apricot almondine, caramel croustillant, almond milk creme glacee
Manjari chocolate and raspberry crumble
Food Photos - Aug 2011
Farmed “Loch Duart” salmon, Waterperry apple and lemon verbena
Confit of Landais duck liver, spiced cherries, almonds and mango chutney
Ravioli of wild Devonshire pot-caught crab, artichokes, lemongrass bisque
Cornish sea bass fillet, seared hand-dived scallop, smokey mash, star anise jus
Roasted loin of rose veal, Scottish girlies, cauliflower, herb puree, toasted hazelnut
Raspberry and strawberry soup with fresh mint and basil
Greengage almondine, caramel croustillant and almond milk ice cream
Great Milton, Oxford