The Grove • Chandler’s Cross • WD3 4TG • 01923 296015
Reviewed by Alan Cox
‘Good evening, Mr Cox’…the formality is unusual in today’s world, but seems genuinely respectful. And I’d expect nothing less from a luxury five star hotel like The Grove, and this is its prestigious fine dining restaurant, after all. The service remains exemplary throughout our evening…
…an evening that starts with a chilled glass of prosecco and some delicious Sicilian olives in the bar area, before we make our way to the small and formal dining room. It’s light and bright, and with only a handful of tables it all feels rather elite and special, but we embrace the luxury full-on (why not?) and opt for the ‘tasting menu’ along with the ‘wine pairing’ option.
A simple word describes each dish on the five course tasting menu. To commence… ‘Burrata’: a pretty-looking plate of Neapolitan Buffalo Burrata (an Italian cheese made with Mozzarella and cream), Jerusalem Artichoke, Burnt Lemon, Brioche and Truffle Sauce. I love the contrast of the smooth silky cheese and the slivers of crunchy lemon. It’s a delicious and delicate dish, complemented beautifully by the first wine, a spicy and fruity Pinot Grigio.
Sneaking its way next into the proceedings is an unexpected, but very welcome, succulent roasted diver-caught Scallop. Seared perfectly on the exterior, juicy and fleshy inside, and served with ribbons of Pickled Celeriac and a Hazelnut and Brown Butter Hollandaise, this is perfection on a plate. It’s partnered with a chilled, crisp and aromatic Spanish white, just right to accompany seafood.
Next… ‘Turbot’ with Wilted Leeks, Salt baked Celeriac, Sea Fennel and Purslane in a caviar cream sauce. The orange and camomile overtones of the chosen Chardonnay create another perfect alliance, cutting through, and complementing, the creamy sauce. The firm slices of celeriac could have come within a hair’s breadth of overpowering another white fish, but in this case, the robust Turbot shines, as it should, with the dots of Caviar adding a slightly salty tang to another perfectly executed dish.
Our next course is ‘Chicken’, and the description – Norfolk Black Chicken with Tunworth Sauce, Cauliflower, Mushroom and Chicken and Thyme Jus – really doesn’t do it justice. Flamboyantly presented, and packing a punch, this is one of the finest poultry dishes I’ve enjoyed in ages. I’d describe it as ‘chicken two ways’: a succulent slice of breast, and an almost soft velvety terrine. Maybe lacking a little colour visually, but tastewise, truly vibrant. And the wine? A delicious French red Pomerol.
Then there’s a morsel of ‘Cheese’ – Truffle-stuffed Waterloo with Truffle Honey and Petite Batons of Apple, with a glass of fortified Grenache wine, followed by a pre-dessert – before our final offering: ‘Tonka’.
The flavour combinations here are really unusual. A Tonka Bean Panna Cotta, with Buckwheat Cracker, Chestnut Foam and – our grand finale – a Chocolate Cannelloni. The Panna Cotta wobbles perfectly and the delicate bitter chocolate shell of the cigar of cannelloni snaps to expose a fluffy, creamy light inside. The addition of chestnut slices adds a little crunch to this creamy conclusion. And it’s all washed down with a stunning golden orange dessert wine.
With Head Chef Russell Bateman at the helm, Colette’s continues to sparkle. The team undoubtedly know how to turn dining-out into a real occasion. It certainly has been a ‘good evening’. Superb, in fact.
À la carte: Three Courses £65 • House Wine: £32
Tasting Menu: £85 • Wine Pairing: £55