Reputedly the busiest Michelin stared restaurant in the UK and of course being a keen fan of Raymond Blanc and his TV shows excitement was running high for our dinner and stay at Le Manoir.
Right from the start service was impeccable, a chap came over to our car and relived us of our bags, directing us to reception who he also clearly forewarned as as soon as we entered we were greeted by name. After a quick tour of the house we were taken to our room. We were in the snow queen room, absolutely stunning in design, very spacious and very comfortable. Flowers, chocolate (very yummy Manoir made), fruit (all perfectly ripe) and champagne all there to greet us as part of our overnight package.
Dinner which was preceded by a lovely walk around the garden, essentially an allotment but immaculately kept and full of beautiful bronze sculptures, then aperitifs and canapés on the lawn as we perused the menu.
We opted for the Découverte tasting menu with matching wines. Far too many courses to list, but all came sublimely cooked and all clearly using ingredients from the garden. Despite the ten or so courses the portion sizes were pitched exactly right leaving you full but not stuffed at the end.
Service was once again impeccable, food arrived together and was properly introduced, napkins done properly, on your first visit to the lavatories they showed the way rather than leaving you to search yourself, if food arrived when one of you was not at the table it was served with cloches on and a promise that if it was cold it would be cooked again. All made for a very seamless and fluid service.
If one was to compare it to the Waterside in you would wonder why it only has 2 stars and not 3, as it surpassed it in everyway both the food and the hotel, but albeit at double the cost!
My only critic and maybe why Le Manoir is missing its third star, is that what you pay for is very much what you get, there are no ‘compliments from the chef’ amuse bouches nor any extra petit fours at the end. It has been a long time since I have been at hospital road but it is still a lasting memory that the petit fours never seemed to end, which leaves you feeling you’ve been treated to extra special service, which was may be lacking at Le Manoir.
That is me being super critical though as service, food and the whole experience was second to none.