Hatherley Manor, Down Hatherley Lane, Down Hatherley, Gloucester, GL2 9QA | (01452) 730217
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Hatherley Manor Restaurant serves a fine selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner choices in a relaxed, contemporary setting at the AA four-star hotel, Hatherley Manor, which is situated on the outskirts of Gloucester.
The chefs at Hatherley Manor are passionate about quality, using fine seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients, as well as catering for all dietary requirements in the 60-cover restaurant.
Discerning diners can sample lunch and evening dinner selections, with pan-fried pigeon breast with wild mushroom vol-au-vent; cider-braised belly pork and black pudding roulade; and deconstructed Eton mess, all examples from the regularly changing menu.
Those looking to sample the flavours of the county can tuck into the Taste of Gloucestershire set menu, which can be enjoyed by groups of six to 22, with the Redwood and Oak suites suitable for private dining.
An extensive choice of wines from both the old and new world is available, with Sunday lunch proving particularly popular with hotel guests and Gloucestershire families alike.
In addition, diners can also enjoy light lunches and afternoon teas served in the lounge and restaurant during the day, with the cosy log burner setting the scene in winter and the beautiful walled garden ideal for summer days.
With lightning speed, local ingredients and a lavish name, SoGlos discovers bigger really is better at Hatherley Manor Hotel’s Dewinton Restaurant in Gloucester.
Whether for a weekend break, the annual work do or a family wedding, it seems almost everyone in Gloucestershire has celebrated at Hatherley Manor at some point, with a host of happy memories and tall tales spilling out at the mere mention of the hotel’s name. But tell someone you’re eating at ‘The Dewinton Restaurant’, however, and a blank face might be all that you get.
The Dewinton Restaurant, the little known title of Hatherley Manor’s dedicated eatery, was in fact inherited from one of the first ladies of the 17th century manor, and is today a smart dining room where fresh white walls and classic furniture are juxtaposed against weighty exposed beams – hinting at the hotel’s historic heritage – serving an inviting menu of modern British cuisine with a few twists.
We headed through the bustling bar before being warmly greeted at the restaurant and escorted to our table for two, where, for a Thursday evening, the atmosphere was surprisingly celebratory. Like us, a combination of hotel holidaymakers and local diners were settling in with a bottle or two of wine, before making their selections from white, brown or onion bread – wheeled to the table on a trolley and freshly cut – while a soundtrack of music fit for a lift was piped through the restaurant.
No sooner had our orders been placed than our starters arrived at the table, quick as lightning – two salads both well presented on chunky white plates, with glistening ingredients inviting exploration. My honey roasted fig and local goats’ cheese salad hit the mark with a rounded combination of flavours. The only slight criticism would be that half a sweet, sticky fig wasn’t quite enough to accompany the generous helping of crumbly cheese and crisp leafs.
The salmon gravadlax with Waldorf salad opposite, meanwhile, boasted excellent quality, smoky slithers of fish on a bed of crunchy apple, celery and walnuts – a fresh and fruity dish doing justice to the American hotel after which it is named.
A couple of sips of our delightful £20 chardonnay – chosen from the lower end of the restaurant’s wine list – later, and staff were now going ten to the dozen in a fast-paced bid to get orders to their tables in time. So much so that, while we were anything but in a rush, one main course was so hastily delivered to our table that it came with a bang – followed by a cursory apology before the whirlwind continued.
With attention fully back on the food it was great to see more local ingredients on the main course menu, and my Old Spot pork fillet more than lived up to expectations in the flavour stakes. The accompanying half of caramelised apple was a little odd, however, with the dish being let down by watery mustard mash. Across the table and good quality Gloucestershire ingredients made another appearance – this time with the Toddington lamb chump which could have benefited from slower cooking, perhaps, and bolder flavours from the redcurrant infusion. While the watery mash sadly made another appearance in this dish, the generous side orders of crisp and vibrant seasonal vegetables were excellent.
It seemed the staff were intent on our consuming three courses in little over an hour, with desserts arriving in the speedy fashion we had now become accustomed to. My bread and butter pudding was a decent homemade dish with subtle vanilla custard, while the rich and sweet chocolate tower with runny raspberry sorbet, slightly under-ripe blackberries, a blob of cream and a couple of swirls of something colourful was an over-ambitious dish that needed a little more refinement, and less on the plate.
While our evening might have come to a hasty end, for the dozen or so family members gathered around one long table, and the group of boisterous work colleagues relaxing at another, it was still in full swing. Hatherley Manor’s undeniable experience catering for family occasions, weddings and corporate banquets had clearly influenced The Dewinton Restaurant, and its staff, with a focus on delivering piping hot food with warp speed efficiency. While a little more work is required before it’s the destination of choice for smaller tables, this popular restaurant on the edge of Gloucester city centre will continue to be the name on local lips looking for that bigger booking.
The average price of a three-course meal for two at The Dewinton Restaurant, excluding drinks, is around £58.
By James Fyrne
Monday 17 August 2009
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