Stunning Building On Beautiful Grounds
Eastwell Manor is situated in a beautiful part of Kent, just outside the hustle and bustle of modern City life. When you initially drive down the tree-lined drive you are instantly transported to the idyllic countryside with nothing around you other than peace and serenity. At the end of this drive sits Eastwell Manor, a marvellous Neo-Elizabethan manor house that makes you feel like a luxurious queen (or king) just looking at it.
Eastwell Manor was acquired by the UK’s original health spa, Champneys in 2016. There are not many hotels in the Kent area that stand out as much as Eastwell Manor and it absolutely competes with those beautiful manor house hotels situated in places such as the Cotswolds – treatments, fine-dining and beautiful rooms – you can’t go far wrong and if you live in Kent, a little slice of luxury is right on your doorstep.
Eastwell Manor has a beautiful restaurant and it’s clear to see why this particular building and space is used to host some of the most spectacular of weddings and events. The Manor Restaurant offers a wonderfully formal setting for dining here with a lovely fire and seasonable menu, not to mention subtly keeping the ‘gastro-pub’ feel in mind with some classic favourites such as the rib-eye steak and chips.
To start I had the Smoked Chalk Stream Trout served with horseradish cream, pickled seaweed, chives, apple and speckles of herring caviar. Trout is one of my favourite fish dishes. My dad, now retired, spends most of his weekends fishing and my freezer is always full to the brim with trout and I wouldn’t have it any other way – it’s a delicate fish with a subtle flavour and for me, should always be cooked simply and accompanied only by delicate or sympathetic sauces unless you’re going to go all out and smoke them. This smoked trout is a delight. Melting, full of flavour and sweet from the horseradish cream yet refreshingly bitter from the apple. A really tasty combination.
For my main I had Pan Fried Stone Bass served with a hassleback potato, creamed leeks, a huge serving of delicious herring caviar and a beurre rouge sauce. Stone Bass is similar to Sea Bass but is much larger in size and has luxurious thick fillet steaks. It’s a superb sweet, white, textured fish that can be cooked in such a variety of ways but served with a beautiful beurre rouge sauce (which is ultimately a simple emulsified red wine and butter sauce that is great with fish) was a wonderful compliment.
Crispy skin is a big deal in my book and although for some, this might have been slightly overdone, for me it was perfect. For £23.00 I would say it is definitely on the higher-end scale and for me the leaks were slightly tough and probably not as creamy as I would have liked, but it did come with a delicious hasselback potato, so they get top marks for that.
Their dessert menu looks extremely appealing with a gorgeous sounding Chocolate Cherry Fondant (a big win in my book) and a yummy sounding Seville Orange Cake but unfortunately we were unable to try one. There were no ‘v’ signs on the menus so after asking our server we were told that all desserts contain gelatin which was very disappointing considering I am a pescatarian, so unfortunately I was stuck with sorbet, which although tasty, isn’t the most exciting of desserts and for a fine dining restaurant, you would expect at least one vegetarian option.
Eastwell Manor is a luxurious place to come to whether it’s a special occasion, if you’re staying over in one of their glamorous rooms or simply getting dressed up for a fine-dining experience then Eastwell Manor caters for all. Whilst the food here is lovely and is cooked with the finest produce and locally sourced seasonal ingredients, there are a few things that I think could be slightly improved upon, especially as it is on the slightly more ‘expensive’ scale.
The timings between meals is always a big deal, you don’t want to feel too rushed and you equally don’t want to be forgotten about but dinner did feel a little rushed at the Manor Restaurant and we were out of the restaurant in just over an hour. There is a sweet spot and I would say it is around 1.5 to 2 hours with coffee at the end.
Not having the ‘v’ sign on any of the desserts was rather disappointing and because everything had gelatin and was pre-made, it meant nothing could be done to cater for me. However, upon completion another waiter asked how our meal was and I mentioned to them that it was a shame we couldn’t have a dessert to then be told we were not communicated to correctly and that all desserts were in fact vegetarian friendly. Perhaps having ‘v’ signs next to any vegetarian friendly desserts would solve any further miscommunication so this is easily solved.
The food here is grown-up, glamorous and rather exciting but do be aware it is on the high-end price scale but since you are dining at the home of the UK’s most luxurious spa, it is worth it. Overall a lovely restaurant with a lot to offer.
Eastwell Park, Boughton Lees, Ashford, Kent TN25 4HT.
0843 561 2019 || eastwellmanor.co.uk