Broadwater Restaurant at Oatlands Park Hotel
Oatlands Drive, Weybridge, KT13 9HB
With a vibrant history going back to 1538, the Oatlands Park Hotel truly is a jewel in the heart of Surrey's crown. This wonderful country house hotel occupies a site once home to a royal palace built by Henry VIII for his wife Anne of Cleves. At various points in history Mary I, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I have all resided at Oatlands. My guest and I visited the hotel's Broadwater restaurant on a Friday evening. The large dining room was sumptuous; exuding luxury and sophistication with wonderful chandeliers and gilt framed mirrors - Henry himself would have been impressed. We sat in a huge bay window, dressed with lavish velvet drapes, which by day would have afforded magnificent views over the terrace and lake. Head chef Neil Wackrill, a former sous chef at the Ritz, has created an extensive and imaginative menu, catering for all tastes, including tempting options for vegetarians. After enjoying a mouth-watering appetiser of smoked salmon in creme fraiche, my guest and I decided to start with wild mushroom ravioli with nage velouté and aged Parmesan, which was fantastically flavoursome and expertly prepared. For my main course I chose the award-winning mustard and herb gnocchi with wild mushrooms, butternut squash, cherry tomato and sage butter. This dish won its creator, chef de partie Alan King, the bronze medal in the Wessex Salon Culinaire competition in 2006, and I could see why. My companion feasted on roasted guinea fowl breast with puy lentils. The tender meat was complemented perfectly by the intense flavour of the lentils, and the dish was expertly presented making it all the more inviting. The dessert menu proved tricky; how does one make a choice between sweets such as banana and rum bavarois with roasted spiced banana, or the temptation of homemade ice creams and water ices? In the end I plumped for the Opera, a coffee butter cream with vanilla Genoese, chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream; whilst my guest indulged in the warm carrot and raisin tart served with cinnamon ice cream. Throughout the evening, we were looked after wonderfully by Broadwater's exemplary staff and the chef personally visited each diner at their table, where I'm in no doubt he gathered many compliments. Whether a special occasion, or simply Sunday lunch (available at an amazing £16.95 with under-fives free), the Broadwater Restaurant at Oatlands Park Hotel offers affordable, luxurious dining in the most elegant of surroundings. We could not have asked for better service or food, or a more aesthetically pleasing venue. Broadwater comes extremely highly recommended and we can't wait to return.