On Saturday night we went to the restaurant called The Stables at The Grove. This is one of three restaurants at the Grove, the others being fine dining at Collette's and a luxurious buffet called the Glasshouse (not to be confused with the Michellan star Restaurant of the same name in Kew). Mostly all the hotel is contemporary and quirky, the Stables has a different feel. A little like your sitting in the dining room of a home in the Hampton's : All stone flagging , exposed beams, clapperboard and herbs in pots. Much more laid back and relaxed than the other 2 restaurants , yet still quite smart.
I love this hotel and always enjoy a meal here. Its tucked away in the forests of Hertfordshire near Watford and you wouldn't even know it exists far from its entrance gates on the A41. It was once a large old country home to the Earl of Clarendon , now a well thought through contemporary funky haven. I love its unusual and eclectic mix of antique, quirky Avant garde and modern classic furniture and artefact's. I was lucky to work with the main designer Mary Fox Linton a few years ago. They design the most sumptuous furniture, taking classic styles and making them very much of now.
Onto the food. Unfortunately despite being a fresh and nicely constructed menu , I was a little let down by my meal. Its saving grace was he the mans sea trout and a dessert of Chocolate torte with a surface like a mirror of brown glass!
We both started with a crab salad, which whilst a nice fresh and crunchy start , felt as if it could do with a bit more of a dressing . This was followed by Seabass on an artichoke palm with salsa verde. It had all the elements that I love , but combined it didn't seem to gel together and wasn't very satisfying. The artichoke tasted pickled and was quite hard and dry in places. There was an interesting cold shredded fennel salad on top , whilst a lovely element alone, with a slightly vinegary citrus taste, only jarred all the flavours even more.
He the mans dish was however much more warming on the mouth , with a decadent base of bright green salty and crunchy samphire sitting in a velvety butter sauce, topped with a melt in the mouth sea trout.
The accompanying wine was a perfect salve to my disappointment and very well chosen by the waiter. A lovely pineapple, fruity Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
He the mans dessert was cheese cake with strawberries. I have to own up here to not liking cheese cake, yes I know , how could I , such a philistine ! Its just that I can only eat cheese flavours as, well....... cheese !! The uneaten frozen strawberry yogurt on the side of his plate was another story and disappeared off there very quickly.
I allowed him to share some of my torte, (us foodie women can be rather possessive about our food) , as it was sooo rich and intense there was no way I was going to finish it all. Its texture was like the most soft and creamy fudge ever tasted , sublime! And as for the hazelnut ice cream , a perfect balance to the rich chocolate , especialy with the candied crunchy hazelnuts! A great dessert, albeit in a smaller dose!
See its quite good when you like different bits , there's no arguments. It all works out!!
I would give The Stables another try , as it has a lovely atmosphere and the staff seem quite friendly and attentive. I just think I may a bit more cautious about my choices.