Restaurant Review: Restaurant Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Colerne, Chippenham in Wiltshire
Restaurant Hywel Jones – a gem of a dining experience tucked neatly away in the five-star home of Lucknam Park – is a well-deserved one Michelin star awarded eatery waiting for you to dive in and surround yourself with its culinary delights.
A stay at Lucknam Park, near Chippenham, offered me every reason to visit the restaurant. Executive chef, Hywel Jones has held a Michelin star since 2006 and uses local suppliers as well as herbs from the kitchen garden to create simple, elegant and downright tasty food. I wasn’t leaving without a visit!
A refreshing and tasty raspbellini in the drawing room while I browsed the menus was the perfect start to my evening and, after one glance at the seasonal tasting menu, my mind was made up. Including many of my favourite foods, there was nothing on there that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy.
To tempt my taste buds I was offered some canapés of a black olive muffin with cream cheese and chives, a squid ink cracker with taramasalata and a cheese and tomato bon bon – all delicious and all offering up variety of tastes. Not long after this I took my seat in the restaurant, sampled my Chardonnay (from Puglia) and munched some beer-crusted and cheese breads. Then came an appetiser of pea and mint purée with feta gnocchi and broad beans – a light and earthy sampling. I hadn’t even started the tasting menu yet!
Course one was Wye Valley asparagus with creamed Jersey Royals and truffle mayonnaise. It was cool and gentle with an ultra crisp tube filled with smooth potato. Presented neatly with a variation of of textures, this was a positive start!
Course two – roast Scottish diver scallops with Severn estuary smoked eel, apple and horseradish and red wine vinaigrette. The thought of eel doesn’t usually fill me with delight but this place of food was unfaultable! Beautiful, tender scallops with a sweet purée and smokey, warming flavours from the eel pieces made for a winning dish.
Course three – Cornish turbot with cauliflower, salted grape and brown shrimp butter. Light, salty tastes with a real focus on flavour, this dish was also a prime example of the careful presentation that had been shown on each plate of food so far. I was loving it.
Next up was a plate of Creedy Carver duck with roast duck liver, chicory tart and cherry chutney. I chose a Pinot Noir to wash this down with and it was light, silky and perfect. The rich, sweet food was bursting with gorgeous flavours. The cherry chutney was punchy, lifting the light gravy and complementing the duck – I thought it was a stunning offering. ( the liver went straight to my guest’s dish – I just can’t).
I saved a bit of wine (maybe I just had a large glass) for the cheeses – I’m not a fan of port – and we had a lovely presentation from the waiter of the selection of British and continental cheeses available from the trolley. We opted for a piece of Lancashire bomb, Boswell ash-rolled goats’ cheese, Stilton, a washed and a soft cheese. With a selection of crisp thin crackers, truffle honey and red grapes, we dove in. I could have had a little bit of chutney but a great selection of cheeses nonetheless.
We followed this with a pre dessert of calamansi sorbet dipped in white chocolate on a stick – it was refreshing and creamy and, finally, we were presented with a Madagascan vanilla crème brulee with Wye Valley rhubarb and ginger doughnuts. This dessert was sweet, delicate, colourful, simple and delicious. The different elements worked excellently together and it was the perfect way to end what had been a very well constructed menu, with a focus on offering plates with a range of flavour, and texture, presented in an elegant and simplistic way.
The room in which we dined reflected the hotel with it’s charming and glamorous nature. Full of beige and cream tones, comfortable furnishings as well as grand chandeliers and fireplaces, it was a timeless setting to enjoy such good food. And this was only a part of my stay – I enjoyed two nights at Lucknam Park, dining at The Brasserie and relaxing at the spa among other things – read my thoughts on the hotel here.
IN A NUTSHELL
Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was my good mood, maybe it was pure luck that some of my favourite foods were on this particular tasting menu but really I just think it was the excellent quality of the food I ate. I sampled the best of British cuisine in beautiful surroundings and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Address: Colerne, Chippenham SN14 8AZ
Phone: 01225 742777