Seasons at Stoke Place has made its mark as an impressive gourmet destination, discovers Rosalind Sack…
Sunshine yellow floor lamps, bold patterned wallpaper and deep, retro leather swivel chairs all bring a fresh and whimsical feel to Stoke Place – an impressive Grade II-listed country house hotel in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. Yet the abundance of stunning period features and classic touches, like giant candelabras and cases of pressed butterflies, ensure it doesn’t veer too far left field. Successfully mixing
classic and contemporary styles can be a tricky balancing act, but one that Stoke Place achieves with aplomb.
‘Now, as well as a weekend retreat, this is a gourmet destination too’
With the arrival of head chef Jonathan Stephens leading the kitchens at new Seasons restaurant at Stoke Place. The modern English menu has a strong focus on in-season ingredients and the seven-course tasting menu reveals the full extent of Jonathan’s creativity.
To start, we had crisp whitebait served with a rich lemon sauce, a savoury lemon curd-like purée and puffed rice paper. To follow, we enjoyed a plump and succulent Orkney scallop presented on a sea shell with brown shrimp, samphire and Gentleman’s Relish, with a shard of crunchy cobnut praline, which had an initial sweet flavour but miraculously turned savoury in my mouth.
This was followed by a clever little dish intriguingly named Chicken N Egg. Succulent sweet-glazed chicken came with intensely flavoured yolk purée and a lovely runny egg scattered with sweet crunchy onion.
My favourite dish was the rich and meaty roasted monkfish wrapped in peppery pancetta served with wilted chard and a rich foamy sauce with tangy clams.
The meat main course was a tasty dish of beer-glazed roast chicken served with a barley casserole and given an extra injection of flavour with salt-baked turnip.
Dessert arrived in the form of a deconstructed apple crumble, which looked like a work of art. A spiced cobnut crumble flavoured with cinnamon and cloves came with a ‘cake’ of finely sliced apple with a sweet burnt sugar crust and a parfait that proved to be the perfect accompaniment.
A cheese course and a selection of petit fours came next, all washed down with a richly flavoured Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with really lovely blackcurrant notes. Seasons at Stoke Place enjoys stunning views over the Capability Brown designed gardens and Jonathan is making the most of the surrounding parkland with the seeding of a kitchen garden allowing for his dishes, in part, to be a journey direct from garden to plate.
Fun, clever and, just like the setting, dinner here was seriously impressive.
Claim your complimentary cocktail
Seasons at Stoke Place has created a new signature cocktail, Howard’s Muddle, named in honour of Field
Marshal Sir George Howard, whose family owned Stoke Place for 200 years. The cocktail is made with his favourite drink, gin, infused with elderflower, freshly squeezed lime juice and mint leaves. It’s shaken and strained over crushed ice and served with a dash of soda.
Enjoy dinner at Seasons at Stoke Place and claim your complimentary cocktail. Just quote Exclusive Magazines at the time of booking. This offer is limited to one per guest.