SquareMeal Review of
The Dining Room at Whatley Manor
Lavishly turned out as a country-chic hotel, this ivy-clad Wiltshire grandee is now one of the UK’s great escapes – an epicurean package crowned by the immaculately appointed Dining Room. The departure of chef Martin Burge left new boy Niall Keating (ex-Restaurant Sat Bains) with big shoes to fill, but he’s risen to the challenge by beefing up the tasting menu to 12-plus courses and garnering a Michelin star in the process. Global influences abound, although there’s a fondness for Asian twists – as in turbot with pear and yuzukoshō seasoning or a pairing of dried tuna, miso soup and turnip. Such zesty experimentation occasionally teeters off-course, but the gastronomically curious will have a field day and there's much to enjoy – from silken tofu with Exmoor caviar and chicken broth to a dessert involving clementines, black truffle and miso. Simpler pleasures, such as crisp-crusted mini sourdough loaves and post-dessert ‘treats’ also demonstrate a slick kitchen. Equally dynamic wine pairings are a worthwhile investment, while the sight of the chefs out front is a nice touch. For big-event dining in a sumptuous, pastoral setting, Whatley Manor’s still a winner.
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