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Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter - or somewhere else?

My partner celebrates a significant birthday later in the year. It is already being hinted that a suitable celebration would be posh(ish) country house hotel with good grub.

I have hinted back that Le Manoir and Sharrow Bay would fit the bill but these hints have been spurned on the basis that "we've been there and I want somewhere new".

If not Lords of the Manor, then where?

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  1. We're trying Tyydan Llan later this year, which looks gorgeous. What about Limewood in the New Forest - Angela Hartnett has taken over the restaurant and promised to be there a few days a week (in yesterday's Sunday Times).

    1. My best friend went to Lords of the Manor recently Harters and was quite underwhelmed, and his breadth of restaurant experience is considerably narrower than yours.

      What about the Vineyard at Stockcross? I saw a deal the other week on Mr and Mrs Smith I think on 2 for 1 nights at Gidleigh Park as well.

      1. Galton Blackiston's Moreton Hall in Norfolk always seems appealing, but I have no idea what his menu is like. At the right time of year, that's a very pretty area to roam around (not to mention the crabs).

        I also like the idea of Gidleigh Park, although I missed the chance to stay there years ago when I knew the previous owners. That was before it had such a famous chef!

        1 Reply
        1. re: zuriga1

          Much as Gidleigh appeals, it's just too big a schlep from "oop north". Not that I've met him, as such,but I have nodded a "hello" to Caines when going for dinner at Manchester Abode,

        2. Maybe Mr. Underhill's in Ludlow? I question whether it really deserves that Michelin star, maybe a bit lacking in excitement, but the food is nonetheless quite tasty (no choices, everyone gets the same dishes). The best thing is that while in Ludlow, you can also have lunch at La Becasse, which is worth a trip in itself.

          7 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            That's a lovely idea - we bought my in-laws a trip to Mr Underhill's and they loved it.

            I thought about Sat Bains as well but it sounds as though Harters is looking for a grander country hotel rather than a restaurant with rooms.

            Whatley Manor?

            1. re: ManInTransit

              Absolutely, MiT. Mrs H is insistent on posh hotel and not restaurant with rooms.

              We keep toying with a trip to Ludlow for the food festival but havnt been for 5 years or so. Had lunch at Becasse a couple of years back on the way home from Abergavenny - beats me how they lost their star.

              1. re: Harters

                Is Swinside Lodge still good? Clive Imber is a bit of a hero of mine.

              2. re: ManInTransit

                I was going to suggest Whatley Manor too. Very beautiful, especially in spring/summer, and also has a spa for another birthday treat if Mrs H is that way inclined.

                1. re: gembellina

                  It should be nice for the cost of a night's stay. Just a regular room - without dinner - is over £300 and a deluxe room is over £500.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Wow! No wonder we just went for lunch!

                    1. re: gembellina

                      I know what you mean. I once had lunch at the Villa D'Este at Lake Como and we could just about afford a salad. :-)

            2. I know you've been to Northcote Manor a few times, but have you ever had an evening meal and stayed over night? The rooms are lovely, they do a five course no-choice meal and, as you know, the food is always spot on. The breakfast is pretty damn good too.

              Or, what about the Barnsley House Hotel in the Cotswolds? I have only ever stayed and eaten at the pub over the road, which is run by the same couple. They started off with just the pub, and then bought Barnsley House. From their website, it looks like they've got one or two other places now. It's been a few years since I've been, but the food at the Village Pub was always excellent and the village of Barnsley is really pretty - it's a good location for exploring the area too.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Theresa

                Unfortunately Northcote holds a bad memory on this occasion. We had booked the overnighter, three years ago last summer, and it was during the evening that herself fell ill (something she is still being treated for). We've only been for lunch since then.

                1. re: Harters

                  Oh dear - sounds nasty, and I can understand why you may not want to stay over again.

              2. Coincidentally, I'm heading to Lords of the Manor on Tuesday for the first time. For similar reasons. It is our 5th wedding anniversary and Mrs. vacapinta was charmed by the look of it when we stopped there briefly once and she's excited by the menu. I'll try and report back.

                I've also heard mixed reviews but I've seen no recent reviews by anyone I trust. So, why not try it? It's the chowhound way I think to go and form our opinions first-hand.

                2 Replies
                1. re: r.vacapinta

                  "It's the chowhound way I think to go and form our opinions first-hand"

                  Perhaps why I'd never describe myself as a Chowhound. I much prefer for others to be the pathfinders before I go and try. Even when it was the new Italian place which opened in our village.

                  Your report back will be appreciated.

                  1. re: Harters

                    So, yes, we were there Tuesday and we both loved it. It wasn't perfect but it had more hits than misses.

                    I have to say the meal was very relaxing. You start in the lounge with canapes - small crackers with goat cheese and truffles. While you order a drink, they also bring the menu and the wine list. Afterwards, you are taken into the dining room to start your meal.

                    My wife wasn't up to the tasting menu so we both ordered a la carte. I got scallops (Isle of Skye, marmalade) and Beef (Smoked, Dry-Aged with Braised Rib, Onion Gel). She got Foie Gras (Ballotine) and Rabbit (wrapped in Parma ham, pistachios).

                    We both made a mistake with our starters. My scallops were a bit dry and its past scallop season. Her foie gras wasn't as rich as you would hope/expect it to be. Its a lazy choice but she loves her foie gras.

                    The mains more than made up for it. My beef was juicy, tender, perfectly cooked. The sauces were subtle and perfectly complementary. She adored her rabbit. It was clearly slow-cooked until it was fall-apart tender.

                    The desserts were complex and satisfying as well. Very un-traditional. More of a mix of flavors. Hers was Yorkshire rhubarb, egg custard tart, cinammon panna cotta and bayleaf sorbet.

                    Finally we took our coffee and petit-fours back in the lounge. This is nice as it creates the feeling that you can remain there the whole evening if you like.

                    The evening came to 7 courses (canapes, appetizer, first course, Main, pre-dessert, Dessert, Coffee and petit-fours) and thats because we skipped the cheese course! We enjoyed and would definitely go back. Their strength is clearly their locally sourced ingredients as they proudly list their suppliers on the menu. Since the foie was from France and the Scallops were from Skye, I think the secret to the menu would be to stay more local and focus on game/meats/cheeses/poultry. A good mix of the traditional and the creative here. We'll definitely return.