The first thing we noticed was that the premises were much more suitable for a fine-dining restaurant than when we last dined at Read’s rather a long time ago. The rooms have a certain restrained elegance, and we took our aperitif in the ante-room which we enjoyed with some decent mixed olive bread and canapés in the form of cheese on toast, olives and an anchovy pastry. We started the tasting menu with parsnip and apple soup, which could have done with some seasoning and perhaps a different type of apple, and this was followed by salmon, endive, seeded rye toast and some tangerine purée which made very little difference to the dish. The bacon-wrapped terrine gave a good taste of chicken though the vinegary white cabbage and the poorly distributed Agen prune added little. The monkfish on parmesan rice was quite acceptable and improved by the accompanying Chardonnay beurre blanc sauce and fennel, and it served as a nice introduction to the main of local lamb, loin and breast (we preferred the latter), and mixed vegetables. The English cheeses, Folkestone goat’s and Colston Bassett the best, which were served with an 80s selection of cream crackers, were succeeded by a very light Grand Marnier soufflé with vanilla ice cream to feed into the top. Very much as had been the case some 20 years ago we were struck by the ho-humness of this experience, which was more brasserie than manoir, and we had the impression of being in a time-warp with the old-fashioned approach - where else these days would you find the complete set of cutlery for the tasting menu set out for each diner at the start of the meal and have the vegetables (including mini corn on the cob?) for the main course individually served in a mini copper pan? Presumably there is a demand for this kind of restaurant in this neck of the woods, but it is not difficult to see why it has not kept its one-star status.