25% OFF NEW SEASON MENU AT STOKE PLACE
MHAIRI MACFARLANE has a fine time finding out why Seasons at Stoke Place is causing such a stir
ON a chilly winter evening we made our way up the drive of Stoke Place to be greeted with a warm welcome by staff at this charming boutique hotel.
Having heard about the new Seasons restaurant, which opened last year, my husband and I were keen to try it out and find out what all the fuss was about. I must confess, sometimes I find fine dining to be all presentation and lacking in substance – which for someone with a healthy appetite can be disappointing. However, I need not have worried as our meal at Seasons was presented in an exceptional style, but also bursting with flavours and textures – and plenty filling too!
The menu is the creation of talented executive chef James Duggan and – as the restaurant name suggests – is seasonal and uses carefully sourced produce.
The ground-floor restaurant has a light and modern decor and overlooks the stunning gardens. There is an extension wine menu – all 32 pages of it – but our attentive waiter helped us to circumnavigate that by making some recommendations.
After a tasty amusebouche to whet the appetite, I plumped for ash Orkney scallop for my starter which arrived on ceremony presented in a scallop shell balanced on a bed of seasalt.
The presentation was delightful and the fish was melt in the mouth, with the Gentleman’s Relish not overpowering the delicate flavour.
Forever the meat lover, my husband had the Cornish Lamb Dumpling which was substantial, tasty and satisfying all in equal measure.
For the main I had the beer glazed roast Cotswold chicken with Mayan gold barley casserole and salt baked turnip. The chicken was flavoursome and the turnip and casserole warming. My husband had the heritage beef fillet with triple cooked chips – all lined up in an orderly fashion – and accompanied by onion rings, tomato and a classic Béarnaise sauce.
The beef was also cooked perfectly and very, very tender.
Finally for my favourite course – dessert. Spoilt for choice I opted for the banoffee, with granola, meringue and liquorice, and my husband the Rebellion Ale chocolate pudding with salted carame burnt milk ice cream. Now if, like me, you are a fan o banoffee pie, you must banish all previous ones from your mind as this dessert is nothing like the gloopy, lumpy experience we are familiar with. Once again, the presentation was delightful – a little toffee taste with a very light toasted meringue on top, complimented by ice cream, banana jus and a delicious. The Rebellion Ale Chocolate Pudding oozed with chocolate sauce which melted in with the caramel ice cream.
All the dishes on the menu looked like real winter warmers and food that would stick to your ribs – which is much needed in this relentless cold weather. And I will be interested to see how the menu changes with the seasons at Seasons.
At £45 for two courses and £55 for three courses choosing from this menu, I would expect stunning presentation, quality produce and exceptional flavours, which it was – a truly special, fine dining experience.
TASTY: ash Orkney scallop starter. Inset left, Heritage beef fillet with triple cooked chips