Surrounded by 110 acres of immaculately tended grounds on the Hertfordshire/Essex border, historic Down Hall makes the most of a “really beautiful” rural location – although it’s also within easy reach of Stansted Airport. At the heart of things is the Grill Room – the ideal setting for classy but casual dining in a setting of Italian wood floors and “stunning” red leather seating, with big windows overlooking the green acres. Ingredients from the hotel’s kitchen garden figure prominently on the diverse menu, so expect seasonally inclined dishes ranging from smoked duck with pickled radish, mangetout and salad leaves to slow-cooked hake with sweet potato, fennel, samphire and tempura langoustine. There are high-protein grills too, while classic desserts could feature the likes of dark chocolate marquise or pineapple tarte Tatin with lemon sorbet. Service is “really friendly” and the food is “excellent value” too. A pre- or post-prandial stroll round the estate is recommended.
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