As one of very few restaurants in the UK to hold five AA rosettes, The Latymer in Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa has a lot to live up to. With a self-proclaimed desire to become the ‘ultimate British five-star food destination’, the hotel it’s situated in certainly fits the bill in terms.
The vastly impressive, ivy-covered edifice looms out of lush gardens, features its own golf course and offers the options of tennis, five-star spa breaks and chauffeurs to Ascot. Outdoor pools and a Jacuzzi, plush rooms and options for special events and corporate entertainment mark Pennyhill Park as a prestige destination. Tailor-made breaks – with golf, dinner and champagne at a special price – make it more accessible than you might expect.
The restaurant follows suit – its subtly sumptuous decor, subtly top-flight and attentive service, and a smart atmosphere give some idea of what to expect (the bar attached is altogether more informal, although the selection of drinks on offer is enviably high-end). And the food also fits the bill perfectly. The emphasis here is on smart combinations of ingredients which bear their top-quality cultivation and provenance with pride. Presentation is dazzling and central elements of the dishes are augmented with a multitude of carefully thought-out accompaniments. The ambitions here are high – and the Latymer succeeds in delivering.
As an example, marinated Cornish mackerel might arrive with slow cooked octopus, gazpachio, pressed grilled cucumber, fennel fern and olive; or Portland crab could come with poached Colchester oyster, sustainable caviar, braised leeks, crab consomme, borage flowers and verbena jelly. Mains follow a similar pattern – a jigsaw of fine flavours expertly slotted together – and familiar techniques are turned on their head by the introduction of novel component parts. Take plaice served with cassoulet of soya beans and clams, or red mullet with curry anchovy chips; innovative and multi-faceted dishes with standards set high.
There’s a vegetarian tasting menu available, and a primarily European (and lengthy) wine list which draws attention to terroir and seasonality as well as food matching.
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