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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|
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
I came to this two-star Michelin legend with high hopes of a grand meal, but I left feeling somewhat deflated. John Campbell’s kitchen certainly delivers excellent food, thoughtful dishes and perfect execution throughout, yet there was something lacking. There was no wow-factor. As John Campbell is renowned for his inventive and scientific approach to cooking, I suppose that I was expecting something a bit different.
The dining room looks like an elitist post-colonial hotel from the 1940s, with its grand, curved staircase and central chandelier; somewhere you might find Ian Fleming’s Bond having a gluttonous meal of lobster and caviar. Service is what you would expect from a restaurant of this calibre, but on this particular night the sommelier had left his smile locked away in a dungeon somewhere.
The food itself was perfect but it didn’t push any boundaries, at least not that I could tell. The scallops for my starter were huge and plump, packed with flavour and complimented by a pleasing veloute. My main course of slow-cooked beef was incredibly tender, rich and delightful. One can appreciate all the hard work that is going on behind the scenes in the kitchen to produce dishes of such fine quality and flavour, but portions were small and I was left wanting more.
Perhaps I am being unfair, but as one of the UK’s finest restaurants I guess that I was expecting more sparks from the kitchen. In all it was a most enjoyable meal and I can’t really fault it, other than saying the portions were a tad small and if you are looking for inventive cooking that pushes the boundaries of expectation, you will find it elsewhere. However, if you are looking for solid haute cuisine, executed with finesse, this is somewhere you should visit.