The Grove Hotel in Watford is a real favourite for both mine and Mr S’s family. It’s in very easy reach of our respective parents’ homes and is often the hotel of choice for a family Sunday lunch or a relaxed dinner. I’ve blogged about The Grove before as Mr S and I attended a wonderful wedding there in summer last year.
Now Mr S and I were making the short trip to Watford for a night’s stay and to sample the five course tasting menu at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Colette’s. Last time we’d stayed in the West Wing, which boasts rooms that are sleek and minimalistic, this time we were in the Mansion house which has fabulous contemporary features.
A stunningly modern light fitting.
With luxurious Espa toiletries.
One my favourite aspects of The Grove are the super-stylish and elegant public rooms.
From the beautiful sweeping foyer…
To the more intimate lounges where we stopped for an aperitif before dinner.
We then headed into Colette’s with excited anticipation of our meal to come!
Russell Bateman has been head chef at Colette’s for five years and in 2014 he was crowned National Chef of the year by the Craft Guild of Chefs. The panel of judges that voted for him included more than 40 top British chefs such Clare Smyth, Jason Atherton and Marcus Wareing. I was excited, with five courses and matching wines, I knew we would have a meal that would sing to us. Actually at Colette’s you can choose between five or eight courses, known as the Sonnet or the Symphony. There is a also an entirely vegetarian menu.
The chicken liver mousse surprised me, as I went to cut into it with a fork the outer shell broke, it was actually frozen and was a bit like chicken liver ice cream. It sounds odd but it worked beautifully.
The first wine was a deliciously chocolatey Pinot Noir…
…accompanied by some fabulous fresh bread with the choice of oil and butter.
The delicious lightness of the meat contrasted beautifully with the earthy truffle. The quality of both the fine ingredients was highly evident.
Mr S loved the wine particularly and got his nose right in there for a sniff.
Our cod was beautifully cooked and perfectly seasoned. A phrase which sounds quite cliche but, I actually kept repeating to Mr S how fantastic the seasoning was, it really was that good! I loved the accompanying Cornish Crab scrapes and with the creamy potato, it was a beautiful blend of textures. The wine was an Argentinian Chardonnay that cut through the meatiness of the fish perfectly.
Now, I wasn’t expecting to like the duck as it was paired with Yorkshire rhubarb and Gingerbread, which sounded a little sickly but actually the pairing worked incredibly well and certainly wasn’t overly sweet and it was balanced out by the bitter chicory.
The generous serving of petite fours included camomile honeycomb in dark chocolate (my favourite and a bit like a crunchie bar!), grapefruit pepper madeleines, fennel fudge and ginger white chocolate. All of which were very interesting and exciting combinations. I was very happy, however, that it was one of those times when I could just roll up stairs to bed and fall asleep after such a satisfying meal.
The next morning, breakfast is served buffet-style in the Glasshouse restaurant which has every single breakfast option possible including a cold counter of museli, fruit and yogurt, a hot buffet which is replenished regularly and a continental island with pastries, cereals and bread. I was excited to see a sushi counter, and Mr S was excited to have four different types of sausage!
One of my favourite things about The Grove are the gorgeously manicured grounds…near by the hotel there are plenty of areas to sit out for tea or a crisp glass of wine and admire the beautiful artwork that surrounds the manor house, otherwise a stroll among the fabulous parkland is perfect for a summer’s day. But sadly it was freezing cold and raining so I couldn’t show you the ground at their best.
….and we all left the restaurant, a rather happy set of Spoons!
Colette’s at The Grove Hotel
Our Gourmet Getaway Package was complimentary