Coworth Park is a luxury hotel set in very extensive 240-acre (97 hectare) grounds in the countryside near Ascot. There are two restaurants here, a casual one and the flagship fine dining restaurant. The kitchen here is headed by Adam Smith, a Roux Scholar and who was formerly premier sous chef of The Ritz. The grand dining room, with large and well-spaced tables, is on the ground floor looking out over the gardens, and there is some terraced seating for drinks if the weather is fine.
We had the tasting menu tonight at £110, but there is also an a la carte selection. Our meal began with some canapes. There was a pleasant miniature salad of tomato with avocado puree, an Oreo style biscuit made with Parmesan and a cylindrical tuile of smoke salmon, horseradish, chives and caviar. The last of these was best, having a crisp tuile and nicely balanced flavour, but the Oreo needed more Parmesan flavour (15/20). Sourdough bread was made from scratch in the kitchen and had very good texture (16/20).
Langoustine tail was served on a skewer, coated with kimchi powder and with a little Savoy cabbage puree. This was lovely, the langoustine tender and having good natural sweetness, the gentle spice from the kimchi lifting the flavour without overpowering the shellfish (17/20). Caviar tartlet was combined with espellette pepper and yuzu. The Belgian caviar, from the supplier Kings Caviar, was lovely, and the smoky flour of the lardo worked well with the brininess of the roe (16/20). There was also delicate tarte flanbee with truffle and lardo, combining the earthy scent of truffle with the rich flavour of the lardo, along with the contrasting crisp texture of the tart.
Roasted duck liver was next, served with almonds and cherry puree. This was a nicely balanced dish, the acidity of the fruit going some way to balance the richness of the liver (15/20). This was followed by hen of the wood mushrooms with Jersey Royal potato, Tunworth cheese, which is reminiscent of Camembert, and wild garlic flowers. The mushrooms had been braised and then roasted with rosemary, whose flavour came through nicely (16/20).
Cornish turbot was next, a fillet from a large 7.5 kg fish that consequently had plenty of flavour, and in this case was accurately cooked. This came with clams, broccoli and lemon verbena, allowing the turbot flavour to come through without too much distraction (16/20). Stuffed saddle of rabbit also featured bacon, crayfish and broad beans. The rabbit was excellent and went well with the crayfish, whilst the beans had lovely flavour and the hint of bacon added a pleasing extra flavour note (17/20).
Pre-dessert of lemon, yoghurt and meringue was simple but refreshing, the meringue quite delicate and the lemon having the right level of sharpness (15/20). This was followed by a more elaborate and prettily presented raspberry dessert with caramelised puff pastry, along with Tahitian vanilla and lime flavours and raspberry sorbet. The pastry was good and the natural acidity of the raspberry brought balance to the richness (16/20). Coffee was Musetti, but you can’t have everything.
Service was very professional., the staff attentive and capable. The bill came to £146 a head, which is a little more than you would pay if you went a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine, which might come to around £115 per person. Overall this was a very enjoyable meal, the kitchen clearly able to deliver to a consistently high level. It thoroughly deserves its Michelin star.