SquareMeal Review of
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
“The perfect combination of technically outstanding food and exemplary hospitality in a delightfully relaxing setting” – no wonder Raymond Blanc’s fine-tuned take on country-house luxe is a dream ticket for out-of-town indulgence and sybaritic pleasures. Set in blissful grounds, this immaculate mansion is famed for its sleekly choreographed service, patrician wines and unfailingly impressive French-inspired cooking. Blanc’s vision of ‘sustainable harmony’ is buoyed by produce from Le Manoir’s showpiece organic gardens, and the result is a raft of refined seasonal dishes infused with the essence of intelligent modern-day cuisine – from an exquisitely pretty crab salad with coconut, kaffir lime sorbet and oyster leaf to the ever-popular risotto of spring vegetables with tomato essence and chervil cream or an assiette of Pyrenean lamb accompanied by white asparagus, broad beans and rosemary jus. This is sensitive, beautifully balanced cooking from a kitchen that knows all about consummate technique. There’s also room for gasp-inducing extras, high-art desserts (pink rhubarb and lemon mousseux with ‘ciflorette’ strawberries, say) and lovingly ripened cheeses from M. Blanc’s home region. Of course, “it costs a fortune” (particularly if you take a serious dip into the magisterial wine list), but when it comes to world-class hospitality, Le Manoir is “worth it every time”.