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A magnet for wine-lovers, the über-luxurious Vineyard hotel, spa and restaurant is aptly named after owner Sir Peter Michael’s Californian winery. Inside, ‘The Judgement of Paris’ (a 1976 tasting that put American wine on the world stage) is referenced in a vast painting in the lobby’s all-glass wine cave and also on the indulgent ‘Judgement’ menu, where dishes such as tartare of Longhorn beef with sorrel granita, lime and pickled shallots or halibut fillet with Brixham crab, samphire and orange bisque are paired with French and US wines from the 3000-bin list. Otherwise, the carte offers similar creations ranging from roast veal sweetbread with chestnut purée and girolle sauce to textures of plum with candied walnuts and liquorice ice cream. Knowledgeable staff give guidance, and the glamorous dining room provides a fitting backdrop to proceedings. Appealingly priced lunch menus keep prices in check; alternatively, blow the budget on one of the luxurious rooms and some Napa Valley fizz in the terrace-side California Bar.
SquareMeal Award - Best UK Restaurant
From: 09 April 2018
To: 31 December 2030
From: 05 April 2018
To: 01 January 2020
Look for the "£" icon when booking (offers only available on certain days/times)
Newbury Station 3km
Newbury Racecourse Station 4km
Deanwood Park Golf Club 570m
Parasampia Golf & Country Club 1km
Mon-Sun 12N-2pm 7-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
The Vineyard at Stockcross
We first dined at the Vineyard in 2009 when it had two Michelin stars. We had a meal marked by inadequate service, an incapable wine waiter and a frankly rude sommelier and sub-standard vanilla-ridden cooking. Normally we would not have returned, but when it justifiably lost the two stars and a new kitchen regime was installed with a new chef who had held a star for some 22 years before being recruited to The Vineyard, we decided to give it another try. Since then we have enjoyed a number of top-quality meals there, with Daniel Galmiche at the helm for whom the sourcing of ingredients, the sympathetic and imaginative combination of these ingredients and their preparation and cooking with flair in the modern Anglo-French style are paramount. For some reason, though, the chef has never again received the due reward his talent deserves. Our party of five had different ideas about what they might permit themselves to eat for lunch, so the good value mix and match menu was the ideal vehicle for everyone to be satisfied. The same went for the three wine pairings at different prices. We were fortunate enough to have the services of three sommeliers to explain the various wine matches, but unfortunately they were not served at table and the name collars we had had on the glasses on previous occasions had not been delivered by the suppliers. However, Romain Bourger, the head sommelier, very kindly obliged with a full breakdown. With the number of dishes consumed a full description of each one would be overdoing it, so perhaps brief mention of the highlights will suffice. The advantage of the menu formula is that if you fancy three of the first courses you can pass on the main course and just take a dessert, or in fact any combination as long as you have a dessert, and it doesn't matter what the rest of your party orders. We particularly appreciated: the sweet onion velouté full of creamy flavour with crunchy caramelised shallot, truffle and red onion; the spectacular plate of super pressed rabbit and parsley terrine, a cute confit carrot, mustard and rye bread toast; the roasted kohlrabi, quinoa, coriander and smoked potato emulsion, which made the rest of us jealous when it was judged the best thing ever by the one person in our party to indulge in this masterpiece; the excellent chicken with its buckwheat sauce and toasted cauliflower; the almost salty marsh lamb with a terrific balance of carrot, mangetout and asparagus; and, finally, the signature dessert of top-quality dark chocolate, trendy salted caramel and outstanding fromage blanc sorbet. Hats off to Daniel Galmiche who keeps on producing the goods.
Food + drink: 1
6 people booked for dinner at 8.30. Some arrived at 8.00, ordered drinks, got them others arrived at 8.15 no one came to take drink orders, and had to request someone at 8.40. Menus did not arrive having again requested them having been told they were all being used. Eventually they arrived and ordered food. Demanded to go to table at 9.15 having consumed another bottle of champagne. No water served at table, in fact no one came to the table. No bread. At 10.20 the first course came, no one cleared. 10.45 the second course.no one cleared. Complained to two managers then 5 mins later table was cleared. Main course arrived at 11.10, desert at 11.30. Food very average, mostly overcooked and unseasoned. Big thing was no management on the floor, no one paying attention, worse service I have had having eaten in most of the top restaurants expensive and very average. Real pity
Food + drink: 4
I love the idea of being able to choose 4 – 5 courses rather than adhering to a tasting menu. We perused the interesting sounding menu over drinks and simple canapé served in the bar, and once we’d chosen our dishes, having explained our favoured wine styles, they then made suggestions. Having understood our preferences very well, our food began to arrive after we were given a liquid amuse bouche of Thai white for me and a red for the other half which suitably woke up our taste buds. Guineafowl terrine with blood orange, crisp chicory leaves and crushed slightly sweet brittle almonds was unexpectedly wonderful. Pork was good and soft sea bass with a cream or emulsion which I think was chestnut and truffle scented was delicious. Rave reviews of the Confit duck breast with butternut squash and wild rice came from the other side of the table whilst I was having my terrine and then I had the duck after my sea bass, whilst the other half had smoked oxtail with fillet of beef. The duck was an outstanding dish, but when I tasted the beef, I wished I had included this somewhere in my choices – next time.
The opening dish of Wild Garlic Veloute was too powerful and I could taste no hint of parmesan. Happily, the Californian Riesling was just what was needed to cut through the pungency of the starter, otherwise I would have struggled to finish it. This was the only negative as the food just got better and better from then on. My US west coast wines were gorgeous. The white was fragrant yet slightly rich tasting which pleased me no end. The Pinot Noir which followed was one of the best from anywhere in the world (in my book) and so I have noted these as it is also possible to source wines from the Vineyard Cellars. With 100 wines on offer by the glass, the sommelier will be able to deliver something to suit if you properly describe what you like.
Service was impeccable and completely unobtrusive. It was refreshing to be asked whether we wanted dishes to be described to us or not. The option to have a reminder should be the diner's option after-all. Easter Monday evening meal really showed the chef's skill to the full making the close of our holiday a bit special. It is a unanimous decision to re-book soon.
Chef Change (Nov 09)
Being a bit of a John Campbell disciple, I was curious to find out how Daniel Galmiche would fit into his shoes. He’d had a month to settle in so lunch was booked. Everything else seemed to be as it was before, décor styles leaving one slightly confused, but somehow mood was good. The new team performed well, and not only they were very accommodating, but the chef was also. A rather precise piece of cooking resulted in ubiquitous belly pork prepped a little differently with delicious accompaniments. An added punch of lime lifted flavours and proved a perfect foil for pork fat. Out of 4 courses, the only let down was the cheese which is rather needless given the fabulous indigenous ones that can easily be sourced. The inherited wine list, weighted towards US west coast on account of the owner having vineyards there, encourages a Californian choice. We asked Sommelier for one in our desired style and he delivered. All cooked courses pleased as a deft effort, I’m guessing heads for one star.
Last night we were in a side room purely for an evening of indulgence with 40 or so others. Each course was matched with Californian wine, some of which I would most certainly not have wanted to miss.
The meal began with a joyously rich and creamy mushroom cup topped with a succulent morel, more powerful than the cauliflower risotto served in a giant glass eye-bath which came next. Sadly, the cauli’ risotto failed to cope with the chunk of acidic jelly on top. Then spiced salmon and lentils, as described by SqM, was so blissful that I wanted to snatch it from the plates of others; the foie gras was highly rateable but each seemed so complete that they could have been two separate courses, especially with a tram-width gap between. I, and others, marvelled at the baby pig terrine which had been artistically crafted and presented in precise fashion with pea shoots and vibrant pickled bits doing an elegant tango on the plate and in the mouth. Toothsome beef cheek was served with mash and trimmings which were all worthy of a notably braised bit of meat. Desserts I found pleasantly fruity in theme but unremarkable as was the cheese – all blue and all foreign. Refined petit-fours helped to perk things up again.
We felt contented enough to be glad we went, but I tend to agree with Jonesey that it’s scarcely avant-garde. As always, service is as one would expect. However, the hotel strives to be a classy joint which somehow can’t quite hack it.
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