Tuesday, 20 December 2016

ms-havachat dinning at Coworth Park, Surrey

Coworth Park from my car, taken on my phone.

Living a little bit of a high flying expat social life a few weeks ago, I was fortunate to share an early Christmas Luncheon with friends at the stunning Coworth Park in Ascot, part of the Dorchester Hotel Group.

Driving into the estate in the middle of winter is dramatic - naked trees spreading their huge, thick branches inviting you to imagine them covered in foliage. The 240 acres of parkland offers walkers and runners beautiful natural surroundings to immerse themselves in, there's horse riding and/or polo amongst other outdoor activities. All I could think of was how perfect a picnic under the huge trees, or afternoon tea served on the patio would be.

You're only 45 minutes from London, but feel a million miles from anywhere! That's a priceless feeling in this hustle and bustle world, don't you think.

The Spa is on your left as you drive up the private road
The front of the property in understated but
the welcome from the Staff is far from it.
The Reception area blends into the
surrounding lounge area
The fireplace and lounge area behind reception allows
guests to quietly wait while their car or taxi is arriving.
The interior designers should be commended for their
artistic talents with the Christmas decorations though out
Coworth Park.

The restaurant where we had lunch was perfect for a private function.
I loved the ceiling feature, and it's reflection in the mirror
at the end of the room was spectacular.

The Ceiling feature - unique and stunning.

Table setting; Soup for starters which was delicious.
Main course and desert.

Our Luncheon started with a champagne reception, followed by a three course lunch. The lounge area where we sipped on champagne and chatted was decorated for Christmas, and several of us appreciated the artwork on the walls.

The service was 5 star all the way. Each table had 5 waiters serve to the 10 people. It was orchestrated beautifully and was a pleasure to watch. The wait staff would position themselves between guests, and with a nod from the head waiter, in unison plates were served. The staff would return to the kitchen in single file ready to serve the next table.

The soup starter was delicious. The presentation with the softly toasted bread was so pretty. However, the presentation of the main course was disappointing. (Is that rude to say?)  Appreciating they were catering for 74 people at once, the plate was less than appealing to the eye. It's the photo on the left, above - what do you think? 

The layers upon layers of food, the pool of watery gravy (I noticed I was not the only one to hold my fork over the plate allowing the drops of gravy to drip before eating,  the huge carrots looked out of place atop 3 thick slices of turkey. It was delicious to taste, but could have been presented with more finese. Individual or group gravy servers would have been a good start, even a vegetable bowl per two people to self serve rather than having it all piled the plate. Have I been watching too many cooking shows on TV? 

When you compare the presentation of the soup and the desert, one wonders what happened to the kitchen pass for main course. 

Three hours later, we were sipping on coffee and noshing on Christmas cookies ... a great lunch! I thoroughly enjoyed not having to rush off to pick up the tween from school early as she had a late finish that day. As the room cleared of guests, the few remaining moved seats, sipped on coffee and chatted until it was time to go. 

Friends have recommended afternoon tea at Coworth Park (will keep it in mind for a birthday celebration or when we have guests visiting from overseas); and The Barn for family friendly meals. 
The Spa sounds devine too!

Stock photo from Dorchester Collection of The Barn at Coworth Park

All in all, my first experience at Coworth Park was really lovely and I am looking forward to going back with my family in the New Year and dining at The Barn, and sharing an Afternoon Tea with friends at some point in 2017. 

Have you been?
What did you think?

With friendship

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