Restaurant Review: Seasons at Stoke Place

Sampling contemporary British cuisine in the opulent surroundings of Stoke Place country house in Buckinghamshire

After turning off the main road from Gerrards Cross into the impressive grounds of Stoke Place, we were warmly greeted by the receptionist, who took us upstairs to Seasons restaurant. Being the first to be seated in the large, homely dining room was not a problem, as the waiters were welcoming and showed us to a lovely table by the window looking out at the twinkling lights of the fabulous Stoke Place grounds – definitely one to request when booking for a date. Soon the restaurant began to fill up, enhancing the pleasant atmosphere.

The menu, based on modern British cuisine, was varied and would suit most tastes. We both decided on the a la carte menu, but could have happily chosen the tasting menu instead.

The wine selection was extensive, and the non-alcoholic choice included a strawberry cocktail – very sweet, but a good alternative to wine or beer. We were given an unexpected but welcome amuse-bouche of whitebait, a delicious introduction to what was to follow.

For our starters we opted for the celeriac soup, which was velvety smooth, and the “chicken and egg” with yolk puree, which was done to perfection and superbly presented.

The waiting staff paid particular attention to our needs, ensuring that we were well looked after but without hurrying us along. The breaks between the courses gave us a chance to appreciate the ambience of the evening.

The main courses consisted of deliciously tender fillet steak served with onion rings, stuffed tomato and chips, and a buttery soft chicken served with barley casserole. Both were presented and cooked beautifully; each mouthful of delicate, subtle flavours was an absolute delight.

It was hard to choose from the tempting list of desserts, but we decided on the chocolate pudding with burnt milk ice cream. The ice cream’s name didn’t reflect the taste – it was nothing like burnt milk – but it had a creamy, unique flavour that complemented the richness of the meltingly smooth chocolate pudding. Our other choice, a lighter option which was not on the menu but was recommended by the waiter, was a small selection of refreshing and absolutely delicious ice creams – an amazing way to almost end the meal.

I say “almost end” because we concluded the meal with tea and coffee, accompanied by beautiful homemade chocolates.

This was first-class, elegant food served in a formal but warm and relaxed setting with an intimate feel.

Seasons would like to offer all guests who quote “Soulmates” one of their new signature cocktails on arrival. The Howard’s Muddle is named in honour of Field Marshal Sir George Howard, whose family owned Stoke Place for 200 years. The cocktail is made of his favourite drink, gin, infused with elderflower, freshly squeezed lime juice and mint leaves, shaken and strained over crushed ice and served with a dash of soda.

www.stokeplace.co.uk/seasons-at-stoke-place

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