Lords of the Manor
- When: November 2016
- Michelin Stars: 1
- Male DINK Rating: 13/15
- Female DINK Rating: 13/15
- Total Cost: $245; Food Cost: $95
Lords of the Manor (restaurant) is housed in the hotel of the same name, an upscale establishment in Upper Slaughter in the heart of the picturesque Cotswolds region of England. We made reservations for lunch through OpenTable a few weeks before arriving. Staying in Burton-on-the-Water, Lords of the Manor was a quick 10-minute journey by car that took us through the beautiful, and just as tiny as Upper Slaughter, town of Lower Slaughter. There is a clearly marked car park behind the hotel and restaurant, so arriving and parking was a breeze.
After walking through the well-tended garden to the rear entrance, we made our way to the front reception desk and were quickly greeted and escorted into a lovely sitting room/salon. Here, there were cozy chairs and tables and a bar area, with several champagnes on ice. After briefly settling in and being given the lunch menu and wine list, we were asked if we would like anything to drink; the “house” champagne being recommended. We went with their suggestion, and the champagne – Taittinger – was good. A few minutes later, a few canapés arrived – mushroom risotto, salmon, and beetroot. All were tasty; however, nothing was surprising or excellent. The standout was the beetroot.
The lunch menu was quite small, but offered a lot of variety (see menus at the bottom of this post). Male DINK opted for the Salmon first course and Beef main course, and Female DINK selected the Guinea Fowl first course and Duck main course. Still in the salon, we ordered a half bottle of wine – a 2009 Nuits-Saint-Georges from Domaine Alain Michelot in Burgundy. After finishing the canapés and enjoying our champange for a bit, we were informed that our table in the main dining room was ready. The waiter picked up our not-quite-finished champagne glasses, placed them on a tray, and escorted us to our table down the hall. On the way into the main dining room, there is a pretty wine cellar and tasting/service area.
Our table was in the corner by a window overlooking the gardens. The half bottle of wine we ordered previously was waiting for us at the table. After opening the wine and being served bread, the first course arrived. The Salmon turned out to be a large portion. It was served at the perfect temperature and could not have been seasoned any better. The accompanying greens and cep puree were great, and the caviar butter sauce was rich, but good.
The Guinea Fowl was awesome. It was served as two slices of ballotine, each wrapped in a prosciutto-like ham. Also on the plate were smears of gingerbread and apple sauces, as well as pear jelly cubes and candied hazelnuts. Everything went together extremely well, but each element was good in its own right. The guinea fowl packed a lot of flavor and was simply amazing. I could eat this again and again.
After a decent wait, the main courses arrived and were described by the waiter. The Beef was served on top of a bed of finely chopped (almost like a coleslaw) brussel sprouts, with a smear of artichoke puree and red wine jus. Oddly, the standout for this dish was the brussel sprouts – the preparation and flavor were outstanding. I’m going to have to try this at home! The beef was well-prepared but seemed a bit plain. I would have liked a bit more seasoning. Or, I would have substituted a better cut of beef, even though that might be out of the price point for the lunch menu and portion size.
The Duck was truly wonderful. Female DINK did a better job of ordering than I did! The duck breast was served with a slice of seared duck liver, an onion confit, turnip puree, and two dollops of mashed potatoes (with a few pine nuts sprinkled about). Again, every element was great by itself and then came together nicely. Female DINK orders duck frequently, and she commented that this is probably the best, most tender, and most flavorful duck she has eaten (and I agree with her). The very salty and crispy skin was delicious and complimented the meat. The liver was very rich and intense. The mashed potatoes were buttery and creamy, and the onion confit tasted like a sweet french onion soup. This was a special dish.
After we finished the main course, we were presented with dessert menus. Male DINK ordered Banana and Female DINK ordered Marscapone. Either it was serendipitous timing or the waitstaff is extremely well-trained, but our dessert did not arrive at the table until just after we finished our half bottle of wine. The Banana (for Male DINK who does not normally like banana) was great and a nice calm ending. The chocolate banana mousse was served with caramelized bananas, coconut puree, a tart citrus puree, and lime ice cream.
The Marscapone was served with cherry sauce, cherry sorbet, amaretto biscuits, and almonds. The marscapone itself was light and delicate, the cherry sorbet was packed with cherry flavor, and the amaretto biscuits added a tasty crunch. Being full from the meal and ready to continue sightseeing, we asked for the bill and were informed that we should pay at reception.
Final thoughts: Lords of the Manor greatly exceeded our expectations. As we frequently do while dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant, we began comparing our current meal to past experiences at comparable establishments. Given the setting, service level, and food, we believe Lords of the Manor is at the very top end of one star restaurants, and we would not be surprised if it were to be awarded two stars in the future. This was a wonderful lunch, and the menu is a bargain for the caliber of food. We highly recommend it, and we hope to return for the more extensive dinner tasting menu.
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