Hotel Review: Hurley House Hotel, Hurley in Berkshire
A proper foodies destination with creative pairings, generous portions and super tasty outcomes, Hurley House Hotel also happens to hold some pretty decent rooms too.
I popped along for a one night stay in spring with my guest, Nick, and was impressed with the quality of food that came out of the kitchen, which is headed up by Michelin starred chef Michael Chapman, who has worked at the likes of Marcus Wareing at Petrus.
The restaurant and bar/pub are closed every Sunday night and, as this was the day of our stay, we had the foresight to leave plenty of room to enjoy the offerings from the kitchen during lunch. The restaurant was busy, which is obviously a good sign and the menu looked really nice. They are proud of their UK sourced ingredients – Brixham provides the fish and seafood, the lamb is from Wiltshire and the tomatoes come from the Isle of Wight – and we took ages to decide what to choose as it all looked very interesting. Finally we decided and, while we waited for our starters, we tucked into a selection of warm olive, walnut and pumpkin and linseed breads which came with a delightful whipped butter, which we loved.
I ordered the Wiltshire guinea fowl, ham hock and foie gras terrine with celeriac and pickled mushrooms (£12.50) to start and it was fresh, spring-like and colourful with gentle flavours to reflect the season. There were lots of things going on, which I liked and all the little flavours went so well together. Nick said his was much the same in respect of its light, flavoursome and healthy nature. He chose the Cornish brown crab, pickled cucumber, watermelon radish, blood orange and nasturtium (£9.50) and it looked like artwork the way the colourful elements had been placed on the dish.
Sunday lunch for me is all about roast beef and I had cheekily suggested that if some crackling from the pork roast accidentally fell onto my plate I wouldn’t be disappointed. The kitchen kindly obliged so in addition to some mouth-wateringly crisp crackling I tucked into a generous portion of Herefordshire beef sirloin with Yorkshire pudding (the size of my head) and horseradish cream (£22) along with generous side portions of roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese and greens. It was a remarkable roast dinner – the meat melted in my mouth and the array of crispy elements were right up my street. The gravy was lovely at first but became a little too rich for me towards the end but a minor point about an otherwise delicious plate of food.
Nick opted for the Wiltshire spring lamb shoulder with sweetbreads, kidney, potato boulangere and carrots (£28) and his eyes were sold on a side dish of mixed leaves, William pear, Loddon blue and celery (£4.50). He described the shoulder as beautiful and tender, the sweetbreads were rich in flavour with a soft texture and the layered potato pulled apart beautifully.
We could have devoured all desserts on offer but settled on sharing a caramel and chocolate ‘Snickers’ with peanut ice cream as well as a caramelised white chocolate joconde (decorative layered sponge) with crème fraiche ice cream (both £7.50). The first was cool, smooth, sweet and chocolatey with crunchy textures and the second was light and delicate with fruity flavours.
I loved the little dark green leather booth in which we were seated, back to back booths for two ran along one wall and created a more personal dining experience. The décor of the restaurant felt rich and sumptuous to me with grey tiled flooring holding wood tables and tan leather armchairs. The walls were a dark wood and matched the ceiling beams – it wasn’t too dark though as the rest of ceiling was painted white and there was plenty of natural and artificial light in the room. There was a big dark wood cabinet at one end and the décor had a sort of gentlemen’s club type feel to it, which I loved. Upbeat, easy modern music played away throughout our meal, the sun was shining outside and we cracked open a bottle of red (Marcel Malbec, 2015). It was a pretty perfect Sunday lunchtime.
Overall the food served was of great quality. The ingredients, flavours, textures and presentation of dishes show a high standard of cooking and the service was just right – relaxed, not too fussy, but there when we needed something.
You could mistake this for a food review only, don’t think the room is some sort of afterthought, it really isn’t! Ten luxurious bedrooms sit upstairs – all with a mini bar, gorgeous en suite bathroom/shower room (our bath was at the foot of the bed!) and brand new furnishings. You can tell the place is new and that no expense has been spared, from the Lefroy Brooks bathroom fittings to the solid wood furniture to the hotel branded snacks.
Comfort and luxury are key here and our room showed this clearly. The light, contemporary room was decorated in greys and white with furnishings to match and had classic touches with the French style furniture in oak. The bottom half of the walls were wood panelled and painted a soft grey while the upper half of the walls were white. We had a corner room so benefited from double aspect views in the bedroom and a third aspect in the bathroom. The room was compact but fitted everything nicely and the light colours and natural light helped us from feeling enclosed. As well as the mini bar there was a selection of snacks including nuts, chocolate and crisps and there was a Dualit machine to make tea or coffee as well as the Jane Austen collection to kick back with. The stylish bathroom had a large walk in shower and a black slate floor and the walls were predominantly covered with small grey tiles.
You are offered complimentary late check out as a standard option and the continental breakfast was continually refilled (endless pain au chocolats?! I’m staying for longer!). Speaking of which the small buffet contained just the right amount of croissants, Danish pastries, fruit and cereals, to choose from as well as a banana smoothie, fruit compote and some delicious fresh juices. The hot menu had some interesting dishes such as sliced avocado with chilli and lime on toasted sour dough or baked Norfolk brown hens egg with chorizo, spring onions and plum tomato.
I opted for a favourite of mine – Eggs Florentine – and I wasn’t disappointed with the tasty, filling (and generous) portion of muffins, spinach, eggs and hollandaise sauce. Nick went for his usual choice of the Full English and he was just as happy.
Aside from some pretty impressive food, which has to be on the way to winning some top food awards, and luxurious rooms, Hurley House Hotel also offers private dining, holds events such as music nights and yoga and health mornings, has a pub and spacious terrace, offers beauty treatments and can host weddings. The hotel is located a mile from Hurley and 3 miles from Marlow. Rooms cost around £230-295 per night. For more information or to book a room or event visit www.hurleyhouse.co.uk or call 01628 568500.
In a nutshell
Hurley House Hotel isn’t the place you go to stay and happen upon a good resident restaurant, you go there to eat and happen to stay in a really decent room.
Address: Henley Road, Hurley SL6 5LH
Phone: 01628 568500