Winning formula for Silverstone success

Whittlebury Hall

WHITTLEBURY Hall Hotel and Spa in Northamptonshire has long been a popular retreat for those in search of rest and recuperation.

It is also the perfect base from which to enjoy the British Grand Prix at neighbouring Silverstone race track.

And it’s this iconic link to F1 racing commentator Murray Walker that gives Murrays – Whittlebury’s fine dining restaurant – its name.

The two AA Rosette restaurant offers an intimate and relaxing atmosphere, the perfect setting in which to appreciate this modern British menu.

It is the creation of award-winning chef Harvey Lockwood who has returned to Whittlebury Hall, serving both an a la carte and six-course tasting menu designed to showcase the finest local and British ingredients.

The imaginative dishes that Harvey presents have classical and international influences and the Murrays menu changes regularly, providing guests with the opportunity to taste the latest blends of flavours and ingredients to make your visit truly memorable.

Opting for the a la carte options, we were first treated to a tasty amuse bouche to whet the appetite for what’s to come.

And what’s to come certainly did not disappoint.

It was a difficult decision. But Ham, Egg and Chip (smoked ham hock, duck egg and golden raisin) sounded deliciously intriguing. A cordon bleu version of ham, egg and chips, this dish arrived at our table looking too good to eat – and yet too irresistible not to! One of my highlights and a great way to get the culinary experience properly under way.

My husband’s Wood Pigeon with baby artichoke, shallot and watercress was also devoured and enjoyed.

Main courses include Line Caught Wild Sea Trout (with violet potato, purple sprouting, calms and beurre noisette) and Black Faced Thame Spring Lamb (with jersey royal potato, garlic, asparagus and sweetbread), pictured left. Our choices of British Reared Duck (with parsley, baby leek, fre de brick and orange) and Bedfordshire Beef Fillet (with horseradish, young carrots, oxtail and pier blue) were both cooked to perfection and mouthwatering.

My dessert, Carrot Cake, is not done full justice by its name. Served with Canadian maple and cream cheese, this was like no other carrot cake I have ever tasted before. Absolutely divine.

Other tempting options include Cappuccino Soufflé and Chocolate and Orange. But my husband was too enticed by the British Cheese Board – one of the most ample I’ve ever encountered.

These courses were then followed by some unusual, but tasty, petit fours, to accompany our coffee. (Additional charge)

Average price for starters is £10, mains £25 and desserts £10, an acceptable price point for this quality of food.

There is also a six-course taster menu option available for £65 per person (including coffee and petit fours.)

What a lovely welcome!

And the setting and service are exemplary. If you have a special celebration coming up or just want to be treated like VIPs, this is the place to come. Where else would you find a personalised name plate welcoming you?

My only gripe is that we were asked to pre-order all our courses from the menu before even being seated. This is highly unusual at a restaurant of this calibre in my experience. How do we know what will suit our palate for dessert before we’ve even had our starter?

All in all though, thoroughly recommended.

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