Restaurant Review: The Vineyard at Stockcross, near Newbury, Berkshire
Everything about The Vineyard’s restaurant experience promotes comfort from the décor, to the design of the menu to the food and wine itself. Undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the 5 AA red star rated hotel (which also boasts an award-winning spa, might I add) the restaurant offers a dining experience like I had not encountered before.
I enjoyed a drink in the hotel’s bar before my meal and was amazed at the amount of drinks on offer – it has the biggest drinks list I have ever seen and it doesn’t even include the wine options! For wine there are two lists, ‘the short list’ and ‘the long list’ – this isn’t surprising after you find out that there are more than 30,000 bottles of wine in 3,000 bins with 100 to enjoy by the glass on the premises! Wow!
I decided to let the professionals do the hard work for me and opted for a wine matched meal. The professional in question is Alan Holmes, The Vineyard’s wine and restaurant director, who holds many awards under his belt to prove his wine choosing worthiness. The restaurant menu is unique – there are two tasting menus, a 5 course one and a 7 course one, and if you don’t fancy that you can design your own four or five course meal from a list of around 16 dishes on the main menu, all of which can be wine matched.
The extensive menu has been dreamt up by French chef and T.V regular, Daniel Galmiche, who offers modern French cooking with Mediterranean and Far Eastern influences. I would quite agree with the executive chef’s words; “Eating out is one of the greatest pleasures of life. I have made it my mission to communicate this.” Eating is certainly one of my favourite pastimes – I live to eat and most of my time is spent thinking about my next meal – so after reading those words I was very much looking forward to what Mr. Galmiche had to communicate.
After settling in the large restaurant to await my first course I noted the high ceilings and tall windows, the comfy chairs and European music playing softly in the background.
My first course of hand-dived Orkney Bay scallops with spring onions and a tomato purée arrived and I happily tucked in to the delicate and flavoursome dish. All the components worked wonderfully together, the spring onion wasn’t overpowering and it was complimented perfectly with a glass of 2010 Californian Riesling – a very promising start!
Next up was the south coast turbot, which came with crushed walnuts, a mushroom purée and kale – hands down my favourite dish of the night. I think this may have been secretly designed for my palate, it couldn’t have been more delicious. Served with a Pinot Noir, the dark flavours were well suited to the wine and weren’t too rich as I almost expected the purée to be, in fact, it was sort of refreshing. The gravy smelled amazing and the food on the plate was a fantastic combination.
My next choice was another rich dish of sirloin of Scottish beef served with mushrooms, beetroot and spinach – another sense-awakening plate – beautifully presented and wonderfully smelling. Beetroot and beef are a great pairing and full of deep flavours. I powered on through to the next dish, and my first dessert of English strawberries, mini babas and sorbet. Four courses and much delicious wine in and I just can’t remember the sorbet flavour (it was fruity!) The dish was an explosion of fruity flavours and, the rum flavoured butter dough balls (babas) were very tasty and the blend of textures, from the tangy sorbet to the squishy babas to the whole sweet strawberries were tasty, satisfying and refreshing, yum!
I finished off the evening with a cheese board consisting of a mixture of English and French cheeses, quince jelly and crackers and bread. All in all, I was extremely pleased with my menu choices and enjoyed the wealth of options – I have no doubt that had I gone for either tasting menu or any of the other dishes on the menu I would have been just as happy.
The Vineyard offers many a way to tempt you in including wine dinners, private dining and ladies’ lunches. See my full hotel review here.
In a nutshell
The restaurant was large but intimate- the waiters knowledgable and attentive and the food outstanding. I really can’t go on anymore about much I enjoyed it, so I’ll stop.
Please note that my visit took place earlier in the year and the menu is seasonal, for the latest menu click here.
Address: The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU
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