LIZ Collins and her family take in the delights of the Manor Restaurant at Waddesdon.
On a chilly, but bracingly clear Saturday afternoon three of us had a treat. It was at the Manor Restaurant at Waddesdon Manor where we were seated by attentive staff in a corner at a round table with views to the outside from the warmth of the inside.
Tables are laid simply - no tablecloths - but befitting the surroundings which were the original kitchens and servants’ hall of the manor where polished copper pans and French range cookers take pride of place.
I chose the lamb for main course at £16.50. It was succulent and a little pink; a mouth-wateringly tender piece of meat which had been braised for seven hours before being served with pommes mousseline, peas and beans with mint, and a rich Rothschild jus. Very satisfying it was too, the vegetables making an interesting combination and vehicle for the traditional mint. There could have been more of them, but the taste was fresh.
My husband Mike chose the fillet of sea bass (£14) with aubergine caviar, ratatouille sauce and crushed new potatoes and judging by the silence which fell for several minutes it was a success. The fish was labelled good with just the right amount of vegetables and variety of tastes. He’d chosen a glass of Aussieres Blanc Pays d’Oc (£6 a glass) to accompany.
My son Graeme and I had chosen a Cabernet/Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina called Amancaya (£7 a glass). It was not the first time I’d tried this juicy cherry, plum, chocolate and vanilla rich wine and it went exceedingly well with my lamb while Graeme’s choice of confit leg and rare roast breast of Aylesbury duckling, he said, may have benefited from a less deeply layered wine.
He considered the duck the best he’d tasted. Tasting a mouthful we all judged it rewarding and good value, well above the standard you might expect for the price of £16.50.
Moving on to the puddings I chose the rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice-cream (£6). It was served with a paper-thin sliver of both rhubarb and apple for decoration. This was an immediate hit.
My son chose the apricot and pistachio tart with pistachio ice cream (£6) and said it was not a combination he’d tried before and that the tastes went well together.
Across the table Mike had chosen the cheeseboard instead of pudding. At £8.50 it came with a selection of toasts, crunchy brown and hazelnut among them which was good with one of his favourites - the creamy Oxford Blue - Isis made from unpasteurised cow’s milk and rolled in honey mead; Brillat Savarin - a gold medal winner at the world cheese awards - and Lincolnshire Poacher a well-rounded cheddar-type cheese.
We had had a warm and fulfilling lunch in a restaurant where an interesting visit to this stately home can be topped with a fine meal.