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|Address:||Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU|
|Price: £70.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £47.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-2pm 7-10pm|
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Upon arrival at The Vineyard Restaurant & Spa Stockcross, my companion and I were greeted warmly by friendly and enthusiastic reception staff who gave us a short tour of the hotel and personally escorted us to our room. The exterior of the vineyard is grand and impressive, with a beautiful water feature named Fire and Water designed by sculptor William Pye situated at the entrance to the hotel. Come evening time flames alight on the surface of the water sculpture, adding to the enchanting ambience and relaxing energy. Inside the building, it is clear that design is highlyvalued by The Vineyard owner Sir Peter Michael; visibly demonstrated in his personal collection of art work named The Michael Collection . Numerous bottles of wine encased behind interwoven vine ballustrades line the corridors and border the outskirts of the restaurant, remindind guests of the famously extensive wine selection on offer.
Our deluxe suite was very pleasing: spacious, traditional and tastefully decorated. The inclusion of two flat-screened televisions, one in the bedroom and one in the lounge area, eliminated any arguments over the remote control! Other features included a walk-in wardrobe, an over-sized bath with power shower, a bidet and a selection of sweet-smelling Molton Brown bath products presented in attractive glass bottles.
Spa facilities were charming and tranquil. The atmosphere was calm and gave the impression of being somewhere exotic with palm trees and a glass domed roof allowing streams of light to reflect off the surface of the circular pool. A relaxing dip in the jacuzzi and a few rounds in the shallow pool sparked our appetites and anticipation grew for the meal that lay ahead.
Pre-dinner drinks were enjoyed in a small lounge area adjacent to the restaurant. Service was prompt and efficient, with the swift presentation of canape’s and an enticing and varied menu, Once seated, a selection of tantalising breads were offered to us, with options such as sour bread, rosemary and potato bread and country loaf. The waiter seemed very knowledgeable of the menu and answered any questions we had with interest and precision…
The starters and appetizers were a delight. I chose a rich and creamy Pumkin veloute’ encasing smooth Sainte Maure goats cheese to start. My companion enjoyed her pan roasted Scottish scallops, confit leek, seaweed and ginger scented light shellfish broth. The option of Duck liver foies gras, apple and jelly chutney and tasted brioche was also considered. The appetizers that followed consisted of beetroot, avacado, goats cheese and pistachio nut were polished off in an instant.
The Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche describes his menu as a showcase of ” French classical cuisine in a lighter and more modern style”. My dining companion found our choices rather interesting and not quite for our palate.
My companion chose Pan fried Brill with spiced bread crust, baby carrot, citrus scented potato and crab with chicken jus as her main course. Presentation was spot on. My main course of slow cooked rack of Free range Veal, braised shin and sweetbread with swiss chard and smoked mash potato was beautifully presented. The sweetbread though delicious was a bit overwhelming.
For dessert I chose Chocolate Millefeuille with caramal mousse and passion fruit jelly, white chocolate crisp and caramal ice cream. The caramal ice cream was quite possibly the best I have ever tasted; deliciously sweet but at the same time underlyingly salty. My companion chose an elegantly presented cheeseboard with a glass of Argentinian Malbec . Around this time of 8.15 the restaurant began to fill up, but the atmosphere remained calm and serene. The waiting staff were exceptionally pleasant and attentive throughout the entire evening, adding to the overall enjoyable dining experience.
Our meal was chosen from the a’ la carte and was priced at £72 for 3 courses. A seasonal menu costing £49 for 3 courses was also on offer and a £99 9 – course tasting menu with an optional accompanying wine selection, cost an extra £69 or £95 depending on the list . A magnificent assortment of wines are available from the original wine list. Harpers Wine and Spirit Weekly state that “the list is to die for – probably the best list of Californian Wines in Europe”. Needless to say, the only possible issue that could occur in this area is actually deciding on a wine
Our visit to The Vineyard was excellent, the staff were delightful, the luxurious spa facilities and our suite made for a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable stay.
Review by Katherine Yon & Nicholas Yon