Esseborne Manor, Hurstbourne Tarrant - Restaurant Review
PUBLISHED: 15:55 02 March 2011 | UPDATED: 18:58 20 February 2013
Claire Pitcher braved a blustery night to enjoy an evening of fine dining at Esseborne Manor, Hurstbourne Tarrant...
Claire Pitcher braved a blustery night to enjoy an evening of fine dining at Esseborne Manor
Ive often driven past Esseborne Manor. Situated off the A343 between Newbury and Andover it is the picture perfect country house hotel. Unlike many of this genre of hotels however, there is nothing pretentious about this place at all. It has just 19 rooms; you could say it is small, but perfectly formed. As you walk in there are welcoming log fires and cosy rooms to lounge around in. We were ushered into one of them as we arrived so we could peruse the menu with a pre-dinner drink and canaps.Tonight we were choosing from the Fine Dining menu (there is also a Menu Du Vin) an (up to) four course set menu, with each dish accompanied by a glass of wine to match. The Fine Dining menu costs 25 for two courses, 30 for three and 35 for four.
From the choice of starters I decided on the consomm of chicken, tarragon and cep tortellini. Id never tried a consomm before, but knowing that its supposed to be quite a tricky dish to perfect, and low in fat because it has been refined for a good length of time, I was keen to give it a try. The consomm itself was really rather tasty, although the two pieces of tortellini werent really to my taste the cep mushroom filling was very strong tasting in comparison to the delicate consomm.My husband had the goats cheese parfait with Waldorf not salad. It came on a very attractive slate plate, presented beautifully. I was allowed a tasting of bite that Im sure was actually marshmallow although our waiter insisted it was a goats cheese foam. There was an apple accompaniment in different guises, which added a perfect balance to the cheese. Delicious.
The main eventDeciding on the vegetarian option for a change, my husband sampled the autumn truffle and broad bean risotto for his main course. Risotto can be quite filling, but the portion size was perfect. The beans added a lovely freshness to the dish and along with the pieces of grated truffle were slices of parmesan, a welcome touch of extra flavour.My 53-degree beef was practically a work of art, as it arrived on a wooden block plate. So beautifully cooked I could cut it with just my fork, it came with wild mushrooms, white beans, miniature carrots and caramelised shallots.
Just dessertsMy pudding was a grand spectacle. On the menu, it simply says Chocolate 8 textures, 3 temperatures, 3 colours. Both chef and waiter arrived at our table and in front of me was a white chocolate Easter egg, over it was poured hot Ovaltine and as it hit the egg the chocolate was melted away and more chocolate was revealed. One a warm, spongy texture, the other like a chocolate, praline mousse. The white chocolate had mixed with the Ovaltine to create a yummy, malted sauce. For chocoholics, this would be heaven it was even garnished with gold leaf.Perhaps not quite as theatrical, but just as enjoyable was my husbands passion fruit parfait, which just like it said in its description, was a true taste of the tropics. Sitting on the parfait was a beautifully sweet coconut ice cream and then artistically dotted around the plate were extra fruit bursts which added a lovely sharpness in particular a sugared fruit jelly.It was pretty quiet in the restaurant, which could have had something to do with it being a Sunday evening. Service was friendly and attentive Essebourne would be the perfect venue for a celebration or even a surprise destination for mum on April 3rd.
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Nr Newbury SP11 0ER
Tel: 01264 736444