Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Manor, Weston on the Green

Location: Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire OX25 3QL, UK

OK folks, I've got an exciting one for you here. Recently I was invited to a group menu tasting at The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green, in the form of a pre-Christmas lunch. No, that's not the exciting bit. Could the exciting bit be that their new Executive Chef has worked under numerous well-known Michelin star chefs? Yes, YES IT IS!!

If you've lived in the area for a while, you may be familiar with The Manor - maybe you've driven past it, or been to a wedding here - most likely though you haven't been simply for food. You see, The Manor has never been much of a food venue, having recently undergone somewhat of a makeover though, be prepared to look again...

Initial impressions, working my way up the tree-lined drive, were that not much had changed; the vast building had always been grand and imposing, with it's sandy coloured walls and great wooden door. On entering The Manor's large reception hall, the first thing you're greeted by is a stone fireplace and huge wooden mantel (a new addition), along with some comfy looking sofas - for such a stately setting you couldn't feel more at home.

Clockwise from top left: Entrance Hall, Bertie's Bar, Canapés, Glögg. 

Having met my fellow diners in the gentleman's-club-style 'Bertie's Bar', Hotel Manager, Christian Kaberg, ushered in some beautiful canapés and warming Glögg (Scandinavian mulled wine, with almonds & raisins) to get the occasion started. As first impressions go, they were doing mighty fine.

To the groups delight, our private dining table was festively set with red and gold crackers, party poppers and a stunning flora and fauna inspired centrepiece of leaves, berries and pheasant feathers. Being mid October, this has to be the earliest Christmas lunch I'd ever had - thankfully for us though, this was never going to be any ordinary family feast.

Chestnut Velouté with Confit Duck

Our meal began with a warm and wintry chestnut velouté, theatrically poured around gorgeous little globes of confit duck, which had been bread-crumbed and deep fried.... mmmmmm, a very good start!

For our second course, we were presented with a visually stunning dish of locally sourced partridge (from quite literally down the road, in Wendlebury), served on a vibrant swirl of beetroot mayonnaise, along with heritage beetroot, micro parsley and a red wine jus. Pretty as a picture, it felt almost wrong to dig in - though that never does stop me. This was a fabulous plate of food, prepared with skill and care; from the French trimmed and cured meat, to the delicate presentation and well-matched flavours.

Locally Sourced Partridge

Scottish Scallop Ceviche

The fabulousness didn't stop there... pretty little scatterings of Scottish scallop ceviche appeared next, accompanied by brunoise shallots, apple puree, apple discs, lemon segments, almonds, caviar and breakfast radish. Possibly a little tart for my taste, but another visually magnificent dish.

Our main was perfectly pink Scottish venison loin, pan roasted and presented with poached plums, roast baby gem, swede puree and juniper jus, all topped off with truffle, freshly shaved at the table. Of all the dishes, THIS was my favourite - stunningly cooked, fantastic quality meat, perfectly-paired vegetables, sexy, glossy, rich sauce and decadent truffle... I want this again, right now, pretty please?!

Scottish Venison Loin

Pre-dessert: Passion Fruit Curd, Vanilla Crumble, Mango Rice and Lime Granita

Now, if I have to choose between starter and pudding, I'd usually opt for the starter, however... on this occasion, not only did I get a starter AND a dessert... I got TWO desserts! Holy crap, these guys know how to woo a girl. Our two-course pudding feast commenced with a delightful little glass of passion fruit curd, vanilla crumble, mango rice and lime granita - smooth in places, crunchy in others, sweet, sharp and refreshing... this ticked many of my 'end of meal' boxes. 

But the meal wasn't over yet.

The conclusion to our fabulous meal was a finale of chocolate cream, red wine and port marinated figs, buttermilk puree and vanilla ice cream. Sexy, sweet and silky, what more could a girl ask for. 

Dessert: Chocolate Cream Marinated Figs, Buttermilk Puree and Vanilla Ice Cream

Crackers pulled and numerous dishes sampled, I was very sad to leave. Full but not fatigued, I could go on tasting this food day after day.

So yes, I'll be back, and so should you!

The four course Winter lunch menu is from £45 per person and includes dishes like Terrine of Game with Foie Gras, Prunes & Truffle; Slow-cooked 48hr Pork Belly with Fennel & Pease Pudding; Ginger Panacotta with Pear & Oats. For group bookings the six course menu is from £78 per person. Afternoon Tea and Tasting Menus are also available.


Having worked for the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Marcus Wareing, Michel Roux Snr and Raymond Blanc, recently appointed Executive Chef, Larry Jayasekara, has one hell of a pedigree. With experience in one, two and three Michelin starred restaurants, Larry is one hell of an exciting addition to the Oxfordshire food scene... Judging by my first taste of his food, it won't be long before Larry earns The Manor some recognition of it's own!

I dined as a guest of The Manor, to sample their upcoming Winter menu

The Manor
OX25 3QL
Twitter: @themanorweston

Facebook: @The-Manor-at-Weston-on-the-Green
Phone: 01869 350621

The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green on Urbanspoon

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