We tumbled out of our cab like thirsty gazelles, doe-eyed and excited to be leaving London for the day. We were having lunch at Coworth Park with one of our favourite people in the world – that fabulous Sophia, accompanied by her Mum, Polly, the English rose who has transplanted herself to the desert sands of Doha.
We get to see them whenever we sneak over to their corner of the Middle East, or more often when they comes home to see their family. They kindly makestime to see us, her internet family, and each time we seem to visit somewhere even more beautiful (our cosy day at Calcot Manor in Gloucestershire, sipping wine overlooking the river bend in Windsor, brunch at the Ivy, or our first lunch at Kettners).
I’ve also attempted and failed to stalk them in Gatwick airport, and managed to get myself invited for a few days in Doha – that’s how lovely they are.
Once the rounds of excited hugs were done, we all skipped into the beautiful dining space, where our table awaited our eager appetites.
One of the bastions of the Dorchester Collection, Coworth Hotel is a country retreat surrounded by 240 acres of picturesque parkland studded with wildflowers, an equestrian centre, polo fields, kids’ club and plenty of outdoor pursuits – but we were there for one reason, and one reason only this time.
Oh, and champagne may have been involved…
We had a table booked in the titular restaurant, which has been proudly awarded the Michelin star of excellence for Chef Adam Smith’s menu. The relaxed elegance of Restaurant Coworth Park really showcases a modern outlook on classic British dishes, with stunning views both inside and out. We were entranced by the beautiful bronze garland of oak leaves crowning the main dining room.
We began by breaking the freshly baked bread and slathering it with the customised butter. Then, a selection of canapes appeared; seared salmon skewers topped with avocado and a tasty mandarin gel, Coworth Park ‘Oreos’ with taramasalata and a foam of heirloom tomato and goats curd. They all disappeared at the speed of light, which attests to how delicate and delicious they all were – a play on the chef”s talent.
Then came our starters. Polly and I adored the marinated scallop served on glazed pork belly with apple and cabbage – it was a perfect dance of texture and counterpointing flavour. Angie enjoyed her cured salmon with rye and a daub of oyster, and down the table Sima and Binny loved their egg yolk dish served picturesquely inside a pickled onion, crowned with truffle and mushroom.
As a main, I adored my choice of beautifully cooked and prepared salt aged Waterford beef with cep puree, oxtail and dripping. It was rich in flavour, perfectly proportioned and had the rest of the table green with envy.
Polly loved her herb crusted lamb with courgette, sweetbread and truffle, whilst Binny and Sima ordered the globe artichoke with courgette flower and smoked aubergine which sound so delicious that Angie ordered another portion for the table which was eagerly tucked into…
…and Angie immensely enjoyed her braised halibut with artichoke, smoked tomato and lemon.
Full as eggs (a particularly charming phrase I’ve learnt from my Mister), we decided to share a dessert and the cheese platter. Umming and aaaahing over the sweet options, eventually we enjoyed a gorgeous strawberry and vanilla tart alongside the gorgeous selections of fromage that had been selected for us.
Spotting that we all had cameras, a surprise platter filled with chocolate treats appeared which was was a lovely, lovely bonus.
Well and truly sated, we chatted for what seemed an hour more before we clambered outside to take full advantage of the blue skies – and order another round or two of cocktails before we sadly split up again.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Just 45 minutes from London, on a 240-acre estate on the edge of Windsor Great Park, the sprawling white Georgian manor house was built as a private home in 1776, then sold in 2001 by Selfridges owner Galen Weston to the investment company behind the Dorchester Collection. Coworth Park also has a fantastic environmental policy, for example growing sustainable willow to fuel its biomass heating plant.
We all wanted to linger for longer – and we joked about checking in for a night but alas our family obligations called us back to the big smoke.
Prince Harry stayed here the night before the royal wedding, where he married the knot with the beautiful Megan Markle if that gives you any idea – all we need now is an excuse to wander over to Cliveden House…
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