Well this week I had the pleasure of going to Michael wignall at the laytmer, pennyhill park hotel. The rest of this post will show what I consider to be one of, if not the finest meal that I have eaten. Arriving at pennyhill you realise how beautiful the grounds and hotel. On entering the hotel you are meet by smiling staff eager to help you however they can, now working in the business we all know that staff are told to smile allot but here they honestly looked happy to be there and no fake smiles plastered on people’s faces.
The laytmer restaurant is a lovely place to dine with views over the garden and comfortable seating (not always the case in good restaurants). Bruno and his team in front of house make you feel welcome then comes the good stuff, given the menus which had the lunch menu and the lunch tasting menu on it I struggled with which to go for but being on my own ended up having the lunch menu a steal at £34 for 3 courses. I asked the sommelier to pick a glass for me to go with my main; water arrived closely followed by canapés. This is the second meal in row for me where canapés have been served but here they where light, highly seasoned and the homemade taramasalta was incredible served with little bread sticks and parsnip crisps. The other two canapés where a composition of wild mushroom and truffle, chicken liver mousse in bric pastry so crisp but the livers silky smooth.
Then bread arrived which in its bespoke holder looked lovely and a nice portion of butter on a little cube was another nice little touch.
After the fun of the canapés I moved on to the amuse bouche which was
Marinated Cornish mackerel, slow cooked octopus, gazphaco, pressed grilled cucumber, fennel fern and olive. Fresh, vibrant and as clean as you can get the flavours popped in my mouth as I ate.This was served with a seaweed broth very strong in flavour but complimenting the dish well , I love mackerel and was a little disappointed I had not ordered this a my starter after eating it.
But next up was my starter and I went for
Elmwood farm chicken poached in aromatic stock, smoked eel mousseline feuille de bick, chicken skin crisp, horseradish emulsion. When this arrived all worries about not ordering the mackerel went away, beautiful to look at, full of different textures and the richness of the smoked eel round the whole plate of really nicely.
Thinking that my main was on its way next I was looking forward to my wine that was to match it but instead I was sent a intermediate course of
Poached & roast foie gras, iberico ham, spiced brioche wafer, camomile panacotta & elderflower emulsion. I’m not usually a lover of foie gras but here it matched up with the freshness of the camomile perfectly and having the spiced brioche wafers added texture that normal lacks with roasted foie.
Now ready for my main course and the sommelier bought over the wine match that he had picked, it was a Penny’s hill red dot Shiraz vioginer. This was to match the lamb dish,
Swale dale lamb, crisp tongues, braised belly, roast chicory, morels & garden peas. Perfectly cooked lamb loin, rolled braised breast soft and sticky, crisp tongue and well what chef doesn’t enjoy the first fresh morels they have each year and peas that had been popped out of there pods and skins bright green amongst earthy browns and blushed lamb.
The wine complimented the lamb dish very nicely and is something I would order if I saw it on a menu.
Starting to get a little full by know the dessert menu arrives and again spoilt for choice but plump for the wild strawberries parfait as I have not had wild strawberries for year, bur first a pre dessert of marinated cherries with an array of garnish which for the life of my i can not remember.
the parfait was rolled in dehydrated strawberries (I think) which gave another texture to the dish along with a flurry of strawberry flavoured garnishes which bought the dish together as one.
The espresso was of a very high standard again something of an afterthought in other places and the petite fours plate was full to busting of different items, the peanut chocolate truffle was my favourite.
And that concludes my lunch needless to say I will be going back to try the full tasting menu at a date in the not so distant future, hopefully with some company to share this great experience.
So thank you to Michael, Bruno and there staff for a wonderful experience and thank you for Danny Pecorelli for his time during my meal also was a pleasure to meet you.
Remember live to eat don’t eat to live