Monday, 22 February 2010

The Restaurant at Chilworth Manor Hotel

Good news! After 5 years and 10 days of dating, Ian proposed! So, now we are planning a wedding, and as the wedding breakfast is the most important bit (to Ian at least, I'm pretty excited about the dress), we decided to try out the food at one of our possible venues.  

Chilworth Manor is quite close to home for us, and they're the only venue we've seen so far that advertise more than a 3 course wedding breakfast, so they're high up on our list at the moment.  As usual, my mum tagged along (she's spoilt!) and we all had a very nice meal.  

We were served an amuse bouche of cream of vegetable soup in a tiny tiny soup bowl.  Unfortunately, Ian isn't keen on vegetables and my mum wont eat cream but I thought it was yummy and I helped eat Mum's.  Ian suffered through it because he was starving.

For starters, I went for the haggis with caramelised shallots on a swede and sweet potato rosti with a whisky sauce.  It was presented really well, and I really enjoyed it all - I don't think it was entirely traditional haggis (didn't seem to be in a skin, think it was just the inside bit) but tasty nevertheless.  Mum and Ian went for the smoked ham hock rillette with a pineapple and cracked black pepper salsa.  The salsa went nicely with the ham rillette although it had onion in it so Ian didn't take it, but my mum cleaned her plate so I think she enjoyed it.  

I ordered the roasted guinea fowl supreme, mainly because it came with braised red cabbage (which I could eat all day everyday!).  It came with fondant potato, which is never as good as it sounds, but this was the best I've had so far (I'd still rather have a different type of potato though).  The guinea fowl was cooked really nicely, it wasn't at all dry and it went beautifully with the cabbage - big thumbs up from me.  Mum and Ian continued to copy each other and both went for the braised shoulder of lamb, Mum sticking with the lyonnaise potatoes, and Ian substituting them for buttered new potatoes (to avoid the onion).  The lamb was melt in your mouth good, and Mum said the lyonnaise potatoes were really tasty (they disappeared before I could steal some).  Ian ordered a side of chips, which arrived, looking like a jenga tower (although quite a small one).  They were cooked nicely but Ian said he would have preferred a few more of them.  

For dessert, Ian chose to copy me this time, selecting the marbled chocolate tartlet with pomegranate milkshake & sweet orange sorbet.  The tart was very rich, I struggled to finish it, but it was very good - Ian didn't suffer the same problem.  I think my favourite part of the dessert was the sorbet, it really was sweet and tangy and had a really strong fresh orange flavour.  Both Ian and I decided that the pomegranate milkshake (served in a shotglass with a tiny straw) was a bit of a gimmick and didn't really fit with the dish, but we drank it anyway.  Mum ordered the baked figs with pannetone and cinnamon ice cream.  I didn't try the ice cream as cinnamon isn't really my thing but the fig was a pleasant surprise - much nicer than it looked.  Mum said the pannetone was very sweet - not sure if it was too sweet or not, she did mention it being very sweet several times though.  

Overall, the food was excellent, the service friendly and prompt, and the location charming.  A good time was had by all, and Chilworth Manor remains on our list of possible venues.

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