The thought of splashing £200 plus on dinner for two might make you wince, but every penny is well accounted for in the uber luxe Lucknam Park experience, assures Kathryn Lewis.
Being accepted into the Michelin firmament requires perseverance, immense skill and a helluva lot of hard work. But it’s all too easy to forget the dedication needed to keep that star buffed to perfection once the accolade has been awarded.
It’s something that chef Hywel Jones knows only too well, having retained the honour at this Wiltshire manor house and restaurant for over a decade.
VISIT for what may be the best meal you’ll eat this year. Each course from the confident kitchen team is a carefully choreographed capoeira of flavours, textures and technical expertise.
Hywel demonstrates his virtuosity through beautifully crafted classics such as crème brûlée and roast scallops, as well as via fresh inventiveness in the likes of salted grapes.
Alongside a regularly changing à la carte offering is Jones’ signature menu which includes a braised fillet of lightly bronzed turbot with buttered crab and hand-rolled macaroni. It’s been on the bill since Jones moved to Lucknam from Notting Hill’s Pharmacy Restaurant in 2004.
Another standout dish is a sensational wheel of pot roasted Roundway Hill pork with creamy panfried duck liver, crunchy caramelised apple and baby leeks. This johnny-come- lately has spent just six years dazzling diners.
DON’T VISIT for mere “dinner”. With an amuse bouche, pre-dessert and other between-course boons, the seasonal and signature tasting menus elevate three courses to an unforgettable dining experience.
WE LIKED the exceptional service. From the chauffeur who fetched our car, to the clued-up waiting staff, to the doorman with A* knowledge of the country house’s history, everyone executed their role with precision and aplomb. Tip: make good use of the fabulous sommelier to get the most from your wine pairings and the 20 page drinks list.
INSIDER’S TIP Arrive early to take a stroll around the grounds before toasting the evening ahead with a glass of champagne in one of the portrait-lavished lounges.
What we ate (6 course tasting menu)
Loch Duart salmon, Porthilly oyster, cucumber relish, sea vegetables
Roast Scottish diver scallop, salted grapes, brown shrimp butter
Braised fillet of turbot, hand-rolled macaroni, buttered crab and iceberg, winter truffle butter
Pot roast Roundway Hill pork, caramelised apple, roast duck liver, baby leeks, sauce aux epices
Selection of British and continental cheese, homemade crackers
Madagascan vanilla crème brûlée, Wye Valley rhubarb, ginger doughnut
6 course tasting menu £110