We were treated like royalty from the moment we stepped through the heavy front door of this grand and undeniably English country house hotel. Our evening began in a beautifully comfortable Georgian saloon with drinks and tempting canapés, which gave us a taste of the treats to come.
Our attentive waiter led us to the Grinling Gibbons dining room where we were seated beside ornate 17th-century wooden carvings by the room’s namesake, lit by antique chandeliers. Gibbons often carved a whimsical little joke into his work, which we spotted high above the mantelpiece in this foodie haven – a ludicrous bunch of wooden carrots.
Feather-light amuse-bouches cleaned our palates ready for the excellent meal to follow. My husband chose an Alaskan king crab starter, which was delicious and exquisitely presented with touches of watercress, dill, squid ink, vanilla, pear and a sauce of scallop roe and chilli. My goat’s cheese with truffle panna cotta, like everything on the menu, was created with love and imagination by Stapleford’s chefs using top-quality ingredients. Then came a flavoursome four-bird roast for him, and wild turbot for me. To finish, we couldn’t resist a rich chocolate tart and – a recent Stapleford invention that you simply have to try – tea and biscuit pudding. Our evening ended in style with coffee accompanied by petits fours and the pudding recipe to take home.