Eastwell Manor Restaurant

To The Manor Born

The Manor is Eastwell Manor’s formal dining restaurant, though for more casual dining there is also The Pavilion Restaurant and Bar, and the bar menu available in The Manor Bar and Lounge. For its award-winning cuisine, though, its extensive wine list and the relaxing background sound of a resident pianist, the wood-panelled dining room of The Manor is hard to beat. As we only had one night at Eastwell Manor, The Manor it had to be.

Hors d’oeuvres in the Bar
The Manor Bar is also a lovely old wood-panelled room and we settled here to go over the menu and wine list. You’ll need plenty of time as there’s a Fixed Price 3-course menu for £32, with four choices per course, as well as an À la Carte, choosing from five starters, five mains, and six desserts. If you’re anything like us you’ll spend almost as long agonizing over the menu as actually eating the meal, so it’s just as well the waitress brought us three complimentary and tasty tapas while we decided: a refreshing Melon Soup, a mouthful of Mackerel Paté and a wonderfully savoury Leek and Cheese Tartlet.

Eastwell Manor Restaurant Wine List
It’s become a cliché these days that no matter what wine you choose from the wine list, the wine waiter will say ‘A very good choice, sir.’ This time, though, the waiter managed to say it and sound as if he meant it. We’d only opted for the easy choice, the house red, which was a Reserve de Rafegue Cabernet Vin de Pays d’Oc 2009. ‘I’m very proud of our house red,’ he said. ‘It’s gone on to win various awards and I’m delighted to have several hundred bottles in our cellar!’ It was certainly very affordable at £19, though if you want to push the boat out you can do that too from the long and very French-influenced wine list.

Leeks were in season so we debated having the Leek and Potato Soup but instead both opted for the Boudin Blanc with a Celeriac Purée and Madeira Jus. It was a welcome change from the recent fashion for pairing black pudding with scallops, and the sweet-tasting Boudin Blanc contrasted well with the peppery-celery taste of the celeriac purée. We were choosing from the Fixed Price menu, while over on the À la Carte were some more complex offerings including a Warm Salad of Quail with Sweetbreads, Green Leaves and Fois Gras, or a Salad of Native Lobster, Cucumber and Fennel with a Gooseberry Dressing.

Main Courses
Likewise with the main courses, the À la Carte offered ambitious and intriguing dishes such as Fillet of Turbot with Crushed New Potatoes, Asparagus, Langoustines, Horseradish and Caviar Cream. It sounds spectacular, and given the quality of our Fixed Price dishes no doubt it tasted spectacular too. Instead Mike chose the Medallion of Beef Fillet with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Baby Vegetables, while Donna had the Fillet of Sea Bass with Basil Mash, Asparagus and Ratatouille-Stuffed Courgette Flowers. The courgette flowers were a work of art, both types of mashed potatoes were creamy and subtly-flavoured, and the meat and the fish were immaculately cooked.

Among the À la Carte desserts were a Chilled Cherry Soup with Lemon Sorbet and a Rhubarb Soufflé with Poached Rhubarb and Custard. On our Fixed Price menu we chose a Strawberry Cheesecake with a Berry Sorbet, and a Vanilla Crème Brulée with a Shortbread Biscuit. This was the only course where we wished we’d been able to choose from the À la Carte menu, although I’m sure if we’d asked the very friendly staff would have worked something out for us. The service was flawless and the wine waiter was right – he has a house red to be proud of.

Hotel Review
Read our full review of the Eastwell Manor country house hotel near Canterbury.

Fact Box
Eastwell Manor is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels - a consortium of 45 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, renowned for their quality and welcome. Official hotel partner to the National Trust, many Pride of Britain hotels are located near to one or more National Trust properties. Nestled at the foot of the North Downs in Kent, within a 3000-acre estate, Eastwell Manor has 62 bedrooms located both within the Manor and the luxury Mews Cottages (which can also be used for self-catering stays). The hotel's Pavilion Spa has a fully-equipped gym, a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi, plus heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Guests can also make use of Eastwell’s golf course and a 15-room beauty salon. Rooms start from £100 per night (two sharing) including breakfast. Contact Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929; www.prideofbritainhotels.com) to book.

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