Located in a historic, Tudor-style mansion in the stunning grounds of Woburn Abbey, Paris House is a Bedfordshire gem with a fascinating back story, an impressive art collection and award-winning food. Originally built in 1878 on the Rue des Nations in Paris, the edifice was dismantled and shipped piece by piece to England by the 9th Duke of Bedford before being rebuilt in its current location, where it was a hospital and a bolt hole for Winston Churchill before becoming a restaurant in 1983.
Paris House changed hands in 2010 and has since been run and owned by executive chef Phil Fanning and his wife. Following a full refurbishment in 2017, the dining room has been restored to its former glory with furnishings that include bespoke handmade wooden tables, turquoise and navy velvet upholstery and contemporary chandeliers.
Fanning’s six and eight-course tasting menus are truly global in inspiration – a succession of thrillingly presented dishes that might include red Thai ceviche with mango and coconut; chargrilled pigeon breast with squash, blackberries and umbles; octopus salad with bouillabaisse consommé; and a caramel s’more all in one sitting.
If you’re a fan of the artistry involved in creating such dishes, you might like to book a seat at the chef’s table where you’ll observe a service in full flow, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the busy professional kitchen.
If time or stamina won’t allow, or for those who prefer to make their own choices, the Sentaku à la carte menu is the way to go. Start with nibbles and starters, perhaps a beef ball and a scallop, before digging into a hearty main – many of which are from the tasting menu – before finishing off with a seasonal dessert or cheese plate. If you can, splash out on the matching wine flights, which are expertly chosen from the venue’s extensive cellar.