Chatterley's Restaurant with Rooms
The first impression as we stepped inside couldn't have been any more welcoming, with stylish yet comfortable decor, elegant lighting and soft music to match. At Chatterley's the setting in which you treat your tastebuds is just right - sophisticated yet relaxed.
On entering, you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the bar area, where brown leather sofas invite you to unwind. Once you have placed your order and finished your drink, you are taken through to the chic dining room. A cleverly placed, wooden-arched mirror reflects the room, and an Audrey Hepburn painting graces the wall over a candlelit fireplace.
I hadn't anticipated such a strong and diverse set of dishes on the menu, and was more than impressed. Duck ravioli served with pak choi, mango chilli jam and a ginger dressing caught my eye from among the starters, which also included the likes of traditional moules or a more adventurous crab cocktail served with seafood bisque.
Before you hear about the eloquence of the main course menu, I feel I must briefly mention the sensational steak available - the 10oz fillets that passed my table had everyone's mouths watering. The menu overall comprises interesting contemporary dishes such as haunch of venison served in a chocolate game sauce, which I plan on sampling next time, and hearty classic offerings with modern twists. My seared Dutch calf's liver was deliciously rich, without being overpowering, and was complemented beautifully by the subtle flavours of braised cabbage, roasted garlic potatoes, caramelised onions and balsamic jus. I couldn't resist a sample of my partner's pan-roasted salmon, which looked excellent and tasted equally good - the Mediterranean vegetables, tomato water and langoustines finished with fresh chillies made perfect accompaniments. For dessert, the cheeseboard was too tempting to resist, and I eagerly tucked into a selection of Stilton, Cheddar and Brie. If it's something sweet you're after, then once again you won't be disappointed - my partner's lemon parfait with rhubarb ice cream was just one of the many heavenly options available.
If you're after a warm, delicious and entirely original dining experience - with a menu that provides an innovative and utterly delicious abundance of choice - then Chatterley's Restaurant is a must. And, if the sophisticated comfort and comprehensive wine list proves too difficult to leave behind, book an overnight stay and enjoy more of Chatterley's first-class hospitality.