Country manor hotel outside Cheltenham serving carefully designed, Michelin starred dishes with some varied results
This was my first visit to Lords of the Manor Hotel which seemingly serves as an elegant weekend escape location quite well with a miniature front drive for cars as my first surprise. Once again, and annoyingly, commitments prevented me from coming to a new venue during the day and seeing in full daylight however, the food was what I was coming for obviously. The headline for this visit is that it was minimalist but skilled in design with some very nice moments but lacking in explosions for me.
The canapés at the bar were definitely on the plus side with a delightful duck liver parfait snack coated with melted and hardened sugar and a shot of warm goat’s cheese foam. Jerusalem artichoke veloute with hazelnut oil on top was moderate in flavour but the pomme soufflé with powdered onion salt was a superbly delicate little thing to have with the opening. However, it was the smoked salt butter for the onion bread that actually stole the show causing a need for reinforcements of this rather quickly.
The foie gras with liquorice was a pleasant change from the norm with the lightest and frankly loveliest brioche I have had in quite a while and this dish simmered at pleasant. The arrival of such a plump langoustine was a very welcome sight but unfortunately I had a couple of issues with this dish in that the amount of apple granita, as lovely as it was with the truffled crisps, were simply too much in quantity and punch and essentially drowned the langoustine from any real recognition. More of the langoustine and less of the supporting sharps and savouries (which actually went very well together) I thought for this one. Not a train wreck but I was getting through this one as best as possible.
Thankfully all was saved with the veal, its perfectly cooked potato, superb celeriac purée and parsley oil, shallots and glazed snails. I still find the latter a little rubbery in texture whatever they are glazed in and however well done but the flavour was actually pleasant on these and the dish as a whole was extremely good altogether. It was just a shame the size, possibly even for a tasting menu was such that it was all hoovered in roughly 3 minutes.
On to desserts and the cranberry and star anise ‘foam-shake’ was actually a brilliant combination for a cleanser and I hadn’t had before, with the star anise really livening up the cranberry. Pre-dessert of cardamom panna cotta was an ice combo, but it took a while to get through all of the sharp, tropical fruit before getting the cooling panna cotta and so I found a bit too much of the topping compared with the main base to properly enjoy. I haven’t had banana soufflé before and this, with the banana sorbet put a stamp of quality on the end of the meal.
A hotel like this with Michelin starred food was always going to have some pleasing petit fours so these were enjoyed over coffee (relatively good). This finished off a meal that was minimalist in style, with excellent technical skill and presentation and generally pleasing dishes but ultimately minimalist in quantity and quite expensive compared to most tasting menus. I think lunch here would be much in line with (subjectively) most people’s comfort zone for the formality and associated price tag. However, if you are as obsessed with visit-worthy food as much as myself and don’t care about the bill, although you could do a lot better at Michelin starred level, you can also do worse – no fireworks but a comforting show here.
Food Grade: 76%
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