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Sunday, 7 December 2014

50 B4 50-The Latymer

This has been the most surreal week, with belated (and ridiculously generous) Birthday presents all coming together, - A Cookery Course in London, Dinner at The Latymer, Lily Allen in Concert and a much anticipated trip to the The Fat Duck.

Discovering food may be a weird hobby, but it's an enjoyable one. Not sure why I am so lucky, but I am certainly very grateful.

Michael Wignall at The Latymer

Our good friends Dave & Jay, together with their fun wives Sam and Mel, surprised us with an invitation to experience Michael Wignall's two Michelin Starred cooking at The Latymer restaurant within the Pennyhill Park Hotel.

When we booked our taxi, we had no idea that Evel Knievel was now a cab driver! - it was a relief when he pulled into the long drive to this impressive country house hotel set with 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland. Walking inside it takes you into another world of how the other half lives. Personally, I like being in the bottom half, as I don't think dining this way every day would be much fun, but as a one-off experience it is enjoyable to do.

Another very nice surprise came my way when Dave told us all we were having the 10 course taster menu.

The meal started with canapés, bread and the first tuna starter, all of which were extraordinary, and I thought I might possibly be heading towards the best meal I had ever had. However, we then had some courses which the others really liked, but they were simply not my favourite flavours (broccoli, butternut squash - vegetables of the devil!).

The fish and meat courses were all tasty, and it was clear we were eating the finest ingredients. Our accompanying Sancerre was also flowing copiously.

The sweets were a mixture, they were certainly clever and pretty, but not ‘sweet enough’ for me, although again others in our group really liked them. It is a shame to be critical when the hard work that had gone into every plate was so obvious, but personal taste buds rule!

The presentation of all dishes were superbly artistic and the service very good. 

As we dined, chatting and laughing a lot, there were groups of guys around the hotel that looked like they had been in a fight, (and they had) - it was the England Rugby team who had earlier that day beaten Australia 26-17 in a gruelling match at Twickenham.

As we left, the England Rugby team coach blocked our way, and our taxi driver was anxious to get his foot hard down on the accelerator pedal - again! After waiting several minutes the guys decided we should ask the driver if he could move. As we debated who should go, Dave's wife Sam simply got out, charmed the driver and we were on our way.

Often it takes a woman to get things done!  

Tasting Menu - 10 Course

Seared Yellowfin tuna and tartare, kohlrabi, compressed watermelon, dehydrated yoghurt, avocado rocks, maitake

click image to enlarge
Charred sprouting broccoli, parsley root, pumpkin granola, sweet potato, trompettes, brillat savarin

Tea smoked Goosnargh duck, marinated liver, salt baked celeriac, alba truffle, celery

Cornish halibut, roasted scallop, textures of cauliflower, Iberico lardo, scallop and charcoal emulsion

Cassoulet of Clams
Cassoulet of razor clams and cockles, cuttlefish gnocchi and wafer, poached quail egg

click image to enlarge
Belted Galloway fillet, salt and pepper veal sweetbread, juniper scented abalone, oyster root, soy and shitake

Crispy choux pastry, warm mont d’or espuma, cumin and carrot ice cream with munster cheese

Chocolate and Sugar Snap
Steamed chocolate sponge, olive oil and white chocolate, sugar snap peas, freeze dried mandarin

Textures of pumpkin and seeds, chocolate gel, crème fraiche

Liquorice scented salsify, buckwheat puffed and creamed, liquorice meringue, polenta crumb

click image to enlarge
Petit Fours: Bitter Chocolate and Hazelnut, Salted Peanut Truffle, Bounty Cup, Salted Caramel Macaroon, Raisin Fudge, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Bubblegum Marshmallow, Apple Marshmallow, Sour Cola Marshmallow, Sesame and Poppy Seed Tuile, Blackcurrante Pate de Fruit, Pear and Allspice Pate de Fruit, Beetroot and Orange Pate de Fruit.

Michael Wignall at The Latymer | Pennyhill Park Hotel
London Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5EU

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