You may have guessed my now that I love my food, you could even argue that I am every so slightly obsessed in fact. No weekend would be complete without being able to indulge in my favourite pastime.
You can imagine our excitement when we learned that Pennyhill Hotel and Spa has two award-winning restaurants under one roof. If you haven't read my earlier post about the wonderful hotel and spa then you can find it here.
Choice however sometimes is not always a good thing especially not for someone so indecisive. We opt to try the Latymer, Pennyhill’s premier fine dining restaurant run by Michael Wignall.
For someone who is a food enthusiast and enjoys nothing more than tucking into some fine grub, I had very high expectations especially given the restaurants has recently retained its two Michelin stars.
The restaurant itself has been designed to draw from its countryside location with vibrant green upholstery, orange pillows and glass screens offering dinners a more intimate dining experience.
We are warmly greeted and seated in the corner of the restaurant where we have wonderful views of both the goings on in the restaurant and the outside landscaped lawns.
The restaurant has a wide variety of menus on offer with the choice of à la carte, a seven course tasting menu (£72) or a ten course tasting menu (£92). We both choose the ten course tasting menu which has a good mixture of fish, meat and vegetable. Four of the ten courses being desserts is my idea of heaven. The menu is seasonal so are updated regularly.
The menu of ten offers two things that I am ever so slightly dreading, there is nothing worse in a restaurant, especially one awarded two Michelin stars, in taking a mouthful of food and having the desperate urge to spit it out. Luckily, this wasn’t the case.
I personally am looking forward to the Smoked eel and feuille de brick cigar, poached chicken and curry potatoes, spiced aubergine, yogurt and coriander. Also the slow cooked Lancashire suckling piglet, roasted veal sweetbread, Jerusalem artichoke pureé and crisp swede in pork crackling.
At the Latymer, considerable thought has gone into pairing wines with the menu and the food being served. If you are unsure of what wine to pick you are in good hands with the knowledgeable sommelier.
We start our meal with some homemade bread that has been lovingly baked onsite. We try hard not to eat it all giving us the best chance of eating all ten courses.
I need to state upfront here that whatever I write within this review simply cannot do justice to the technical skill that Michael has, his food is seriously carefully crafted and the presentation is beautiful.
The first taster is seared tuna, cannelloni with ponzu, broccoli salad, soy emulsion, nunu with kecap manis and miso couscous.
The soy emulsion offers the tuna a rich, meaty flavour, with the ponzu offering a citrus tartness which is delicious.
The smoked eel and feuille de brick cigar, poached chicken was for me the most amazing of all Michael’s offerings.
The pastry on feuille de brick cigar and creamed smoked eel is simply divine. Within the dish I cannot see in sight or taste any curried spiced potatoes or spiced aubergine. I think it has been omitted but the dish is still perfect anyway.
I personally love pork so the Lanacshire suckling piglet despite high expectations was a real disappoint. I simply felt that it didn’t bring anything to the otherwise fantastic menu. The Jerusalem artichoke puree visually reminded me of beef dripping and for that reason put me off.
Blue, Roquefort and Goats cheese begins the desserts which I find a little odd and would have preferred to have had them at the end to complete the meal. The hazelnut powder however is a wonderful addition.
The highlight of the whole meal for me and my partner had to be the desserts. The exotic mango egg which bursts on eating, with coconut and cinnamon “pain perdu” was both visually pleasing and tasted divine. I would have happily had seconds and possibly even thirds.
Service throughout the meal was impeccable, attentive without being intrusive. We will most definitely be back to sample lunch.
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*Photography's with kind permission of Pennyhill Park, an Exclusive Hotel