First impressions count and Raymond Blanc’s fine-tuned take on country-house luxe is suitably seductive from the moment the gorgeous gardens and manor house hove into view – it’s a silkily orchestrated vision of pure escapism buoyed by near-faultless cooking founded on classic French technique. Much depends on the ravishing organic gardens, so it’s no surprise that the food is all about seasonality and what Blanc calls ‘sustainable harmony’. A terrine of baby beetroot, burrata and horseradish sorbet is as simple as it gets; elsewhere there’s luxury in the shape of plancha-seared Scottish lobster with red pepper and cardamom or superb Cornish brill with oyster, scallop, cucumber and wasabi. Roasted fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef comes with pearl barley, girolles and red wine jus, while inventive desserts bring proceedings to a thrilling finish. Of course, you will pay handsomely for the velvety escape of a lifetime, but Le Manoir remains the “perfect luxury restaurant” and the ultimate dream ticket for out-of-town indulgence.