Coworth Park is a posh hotel set in extensive grounds not far from Ascot. Its flagship restaurant has a Michelin star under head chef Adam Smith. Adam was a Roux scholar and worked at The Ritz before moving here. The dining room is on the ground floor overlooking the gardens, and has widely placed, large tables in an opulently decorated room.
An initial appetiser was a pretty dish of scallop tartare with lemon verbena, and a take on taramasalata using scallop roe instead of the more traditional carp or cod or mullet. (16/20). Caviar tart used oscietra from Kings caviar, mixed with the white meat of Cornish crab, cultured cream and cucumber. There was a generous amount of caviar, so much so that the delicate crab flavour was a little lost (15/20).
Chicken terrine used Cotswold White chicken with truffled Caesar salad, pickled girolles and crisp chicken skin. This was a lovely dish, the chicken having good flavour and the aroma of the truffle nicely elevating the dish, the vinegar of the pickled girolles balancing the dish (18/20). Hen of the wood mushroom came with Baron Bigod cheese, topped with shallots that were fried into a kind of onion bhajia, along with lovage foam. This was excellent, the mushroom having lovely flavour and the lovage, which could easily be too dominant, being well controlled. The crisp onion provided a nice textural contrast (17/20).
Truffle pithivier used black truffle from New South Wales, having a whole truffle at the centre surrounded by layers of duck liver and girolle mushrooms, all coated in puff pastry. On the side was a lightly cooked langoustine, the pithivier resting in an elaborate version of sauce Americaine. The sauce had black truffle simmered in truffle jus, Madeira and Armagnac and then combined with a classic sauce Americaine, which involves chopped onions, tomatoes, brandy, white wine, butter, fish stock and a touch of cayenne pepper. This was a lovely dish to look at and the sauce was suitably rich, the truffle having plenty of earthy aroma; the pastry was the only element that let the side down a little, being a touch on the soggy side of ideal (15/20).
Cornish turbot fillet came from a large 6.5 kg fish, served with broad beans, mussels, girolles and a vin jaune sauce. The broad beans were lovely, having excellent flavour and being lightly cooked, and the fish itself had excellent flavour (16/20). Highland wagyu (from cattle raised in Scotland but having a lot of marbling, in the style of Japanese beef) was served with preserved carrots, kohlrabi, bone marrow and a garnish of nasturtium flowers. On the side were short rib of beef covered with a net of thin potato crisps. The beef was nicely cooked and the short ribs in particular had plenty of flavour. The root vegetables balanced the richness of the beef and its cooking juices (16/20).
English raspberries and yoghurt ice cream came with little chocolate cubes garnished with decorative gold leaf’ a refreshing pre-dessert (15/20). This was followed by a bar of hazelnut praline that was reminiscent of the famous version at Louis XV, here with salted caramel and almond ice cream. (16/20). Coffee was from Difference Coffee, so we had options that included Jamaican Blue Mountain and the lovely Panama Gesha. This came with a tray of good petit fours including pate de fruits and good chocolates. Service was very good throughout. The bill came to £124 per person, the food being £90 of that. A typical cost per person, if you shared a modest bottle of wine, might be around £115. Overall, this was an excellent meal, with appealing dishes that were carefully made, using high grade ingredients.