Great Fos­ters, the per­fect re­treat for a chilly au­tum­nal evening...

Reporter sam­ples a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at the lux­u­ri­ous Great Fos­ters ho­tel in Egham

Staines Informer - - TRAVEL -

SET among 50 acres of stun­ning gar­dens and park­land, ex­pec­ta­tions ran high when we ar­rived at the stately Great Fos­ters ho­tel in Egham on a crisp au­tum­nal evening.

Snug­gled in our scarves, my mum and I walked up the long gravel drive to a heavy oak door of the lit-up Grade One listed build­ing.

As we en­tered the im­pres­sive, his­toric ho­tel, built as a royal hunt­ing lodge in 1550, we were guided to the in­ti­mate and deca­dent Tu­dor Room by a well-groomed and friendly mem­ber of staff.

The beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated din­ing room with its pol­ished dark wood, strik­ing fire­place and mag­nif­i­cent mir­ror has a sense of ex­clu­siv­ity about it, the be­witch­ing di­a­mond win­dows and glow­ing can­dle­sticks cre­at­ing a me­dieval back­drop against the mod­ern menu that lay be­fore us.



crock­ery, solid sil­ver cut­lery and dainty wine glasses com­pleted our ta­ble for two, draped in thick white linen.

The set

a-la-carte menu en­cased in a bronze bound book, boasted a list of ex­cit­ing and cre­ative dishes.

The waitress ex­plained any in­gre­di­ents we were un­fa­mil­iar with and the som­me­lier sug­gested the per­fect wines to ac­com­mo­date each course.

As we were both driv­ing we only sam­pled the restau­rant’s Flight of Wines ad­di­tion, where the som­me­lier se­lects a dif­fer­ent glass of wine to com­ple­ment each course of your meal.

The som­me­lier who had been in the wine industry for 30 years, was knowl­edge­able and en­thu­si­as­tic, in­tro­duc­ing us to some marvelous wines to com­ple­ment each dish.

We started our sev­en­courses with a bowl of warm, com­fort­ing loaves and a range of spreads and nut but­ters which were in­cred­i­bly mor­eish.

Next came a con­tem­po­rary slate of canapes. Each meltin-the-mid­dle bite was not only al­lur­ing and pretty to look at but com­bined artis­tic flavours, in­clud­ing beet­root mac­aron.

We did not feel rushed, nor were we hang­ing around for each course. The pace was set for us to ap­pre­ci­ate the culi­nary de­lights crafted by head chef Dou­glas Bal­ish.

The kitchen gar­den plays a ma­jor part in pro­vid­ing fresh, or­ganic in­gre­di­ents and this was demon­strated in our prestarter dish ‘El­e­ments Of Our Gar­den’.

A silky quenelle of beet­root sor­bet rested on a crunchy ar­ti­choke soil.

My starter con­sisted of a large pearly white scal­lop, crisp on the edge and soft in the cen­tre with a wakame, ja­mon and ponzu gar­nish.

The so­phis­ti­cated dish was el­e­gant, yet the dis­tinc­tive flavours of the sea packed a punch and the crisp­ness of the trim­mings com­ple­mented the smooth shell­fish.

Thought went into the com­po­nents of each dish and the way it was pre­sented.

Be­fore our main ar­rived we were treated to Lan­gous­tine Tea. The del­i­cate shell­fish looked a pic­ture, sit­ting in a bowl of bold red liq­uid with float­ing edi­ble flow­ers.

It was dainty yet re­mark­ably flavour­some and rich.

Next up and the star of the show, was Scot­tish loin of veni­son with mashed potato, fig and co­coa. This was a hearty meal for chilly au­tumn evening,

a with­out leav­ing you feel­ing un­com­fort­ably full.

A taste of some­thing sweet fol­lowed with an ap­ple and vanilla con­coc­tion.

It was a phe­nom­e­nal take on clas­sic flavour com­bi­na­tions and with my eyes closed it tasted like my mum’s very own clas­sic ap­ple pie and cus­tard.

To com­plete our feast, I in­dulged in a deca­dent choco­late dessert – choco­late shards rest­ing on three dark choco­late mouse quenelles sprin­kled with sugar nuggets, dot­ted with a fruity sauce and ac­com­pa­nied with a re­fresh­ing vanilla cream.

Dou­glas and his team demon­strate their pas­sion for sim­ple cook­ery with in­tense flavours.

With an at­ten­tive yet un­ob­tru­sive ser­vice, the ro­man­tic and en­chant­ing restau­rant is the per­fect place to ex­pe­ri­ence sea­sonal food at its best.

The Great Fos­ters ho­tel in Egham has just been awarded the cov­eted AA four red stars.

The Tu­dor Room – home of fine din­ing at The Great Fos­ters.

View to a thrill: You can live like roy­alty for a while...

The Great Fos­ters ho­tel in Egham.

Just one of the seven cour­ses served.

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