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|Address:||Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE|
|Tel:||01344 876 600|
|Price: £83.00||Wine: £45.00||Champagne: £65.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 7-10am Sat-Sun 8-10.30am Mon-Sun 12N-2pm (Sat-Sun -2.30pm) 6.30-9.30pm|
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Oh so very Ascot – a bit too much style minus substance perhaps? Refreshingly it was not. John Campbell’s Dining Room exudes sophistication as does the remainder of the building and I am sure the food there will too (we were well acquainted with his culinary style at the Vineyard). The separate Barn eatery is rustic yet refined all at the same time and the surrounding structures are handsome too and of the same brick. We used to live a few miles from here and the area has been woefully missing something special in the food line and I believe that at long last it’s arrived…..but it delivers a whole deal more.
When I rang, the restaurant reservation lady was very informative and accommodating as we sought casual early dining and bookings looked full, but she asked me to hold while she rang the chef, whilst I prepared to choose another day, but luck was with us provided we could eat early. From the moment we drove through the gates it was quite evident that all staff we encountered had had first class training. Nothing was lacking and our whole experience was seamless and comfortably paced. The glazed frontage to the Barn overlooks beautiful ‘poloesque’ parkland adding to the appeal of the spacious dining area and first floor bar, whilst the open galley-style kitchen enhances the atmosphere.
On to the menu in the Barn which is ingredients led with a shot of innovation. Oxtail broth was densely flavoured, laced with pearl barley, carrots, leeks, turnips and a “chutney” which had thyme-like pungency that stood up to the broth and chunky oxtail pieces so very well. The white onion soup with cider was just as flavourful served with brioche. We asked about the fish and chips and being advised it was special, I hoped we weren’t being sold something which might disappoint. It exceeded expectations in every way, served with a pot of tartare sauce alongside a pot of textured pea puree. I hate communal S & P bowls – none in sight here, but on our individual serving boards were two little freshly ground mounds to dip into or not; guess what – everything was perfectly seasoned. We could have had potted salmon, a terrine, fishcake with poached egg, sirloin steak, chicken or cottage pie and sides such as pumpkin mash, salads etc., the kind of British food you want to tuck into on informal occasions. There was also a set menu including a glass of champagne for £20. Unsurprisingly, olives, bread and wine were first rate.
This is probably a success story in the making and if they manage to maintain their current standards, they will rival the best places globally, but certainly in the UK. I think they need not worry about Pennyhill Park, the only other serious contender in the area. I read that the owner aimed to make the property home from home and I think that he has achieved that feeling despite the smart flashes and grand touches. Coworth Park was behind schedule, but this is a prime example of why it is wise to be patient, strive to be accurate and get things right. What an introductory dining experience – fab, fab, fab, fab!