Saturday, 23 October 2010

Blanc-ity Blanc: A taste of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saison

Sometimes my job takes me to some pretty nice places. I'm not going to go on about it, so I'll just leave you with the photos of a trip to heaven and back, to Raymond Blanc's famous Le Manoir. If I die this is where I want to go... As we swept through the gate in my old Clio, me a bit hungover clutching an empty coffee cup and ham and cheese panini wrapper from the service station (it revived me), everything else melted away. It was like we were entering a different world where everything moved just a little more leisurely, everyone was just a little more polite and everything was just a little more perfect. The grass, the house, the staff; all had that soft, understated yet exclusive cashmere finish. And as soon as I stepped blinking out of the car (mid-tweeting), was greeted, handed over my car keys and whisked straight to our room (that's right no check-in) it was like I was being wrapped up in the softest, warmest, most fragrant cashmere blanket. And I never wanted to come out of this cocoon.

A sweet introduction....

And to kick off the main event: Garden beetroot terrine, dill cream and horseradish sauce (served with Pouilly-Fuisse Clos Varambon 2007 Chateau des Rontets) Fresh, light and palette clensing to set the scene.

Risotto of wild mushrooms, mascarpone, truffle cream. I must be dreaming, Rich, flavours on amplified, smooth, this is what heaven tastes like...

Braised fillet of wild gill-netted brill, cornish assured oyster, cucumber and wasabi beurre blanc (served with Riesling 2008 Domaine Trimbach). A hint of Asia wooshed through this dish with the wasabi bringing out the fresh flavours.

Roasted breast and confit of Goosnargh duck, turnip gratin, yuzu curd; jasmine tea and ginger sauce - continuing the Asian theme. Although I have to admit that I had trouble concentrating on this dish as the man himself had joined our journo table for a chat and was sitting right next to me. Oh why, oh why had I not cribbed up on his biography first... maybe I would have asked some sensible questions then.

Coeur de Guanaja chocolate gelee, star anis and pear sorbet. I have to admit I wasn't the hugest fan of this it tasted like watered down chocolate and the flavour of the sorbet was just lost in the wash-out. Sorry Raym..

But the dessert wine (Muscat de Lunel 2007 Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Clos Bellevue) and make you melt petit fours more than made up for it. As well as grilling the editor of Restaurant magazine on his favourite restaurants... it was (unsurprisingly after their top 100 restaurants were announced) The Ledbury. Another reason to get myself there. So I went to bed to dream of food.

Althought there was still room the next morning for more. Oh it was a breakfast-buffet lovers dream. Cheese... Meats... Breads... Fruits... all of about ten varieties with little chalked on mini slate pieces name tags. I could have stayed all morning.

But there was just enough time to walk off breakfast and the food in the almost as famous gardens. My favourite: the Japanese tea garden.

And one hell of a vegetable patch...

Goodbye Le Manoir... Goodbye Raym. Thanks for the taste of the good life.

No comments:

Post a Comment