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Review: Guyers House – Chef’s Table Dining Experience
Having never been lucky enough to have been invited to a ‘Chef’s Table Dining Experience’ I wasn’t sure what to expect, but knowing a 7 course taster menu prepared by the Head Chef lay ahead, I was confident that I was in for a treat.
After a glorious summers evening drive through the pretty Wiltshire countryside, I turned off in to the stunning grounds of the Georgian Guyers House. Parking was easy and I was greeted by a friendly member of staff who escorted me through the light and airy reception and restaurant in the stunning garden where we were introduced to our hosts Neil Glasspool the General Manager and Guy and Claire Hungerford; who have owned Guyers since 1994. Although we’d never met before I received such a welcoming greeting I immediately felt at ease.
Shortly after the introductions, we were offered a steady stream of prosecco and delicious canapés which were so fresh, tasty and unique (not a salmon blini in sight). These certainly gave us a taste of what culinary delights lay in store.
We were then seated on a round table in the beautiful dining room with glass doors overlooking the quintessentially English grounds.
Gareth John, the Head Chef introduced himself and described the 7 course menu he had created for us. He explained he had crafted it to combine classic dishes but with a modern twist using traditional English ingredients.
He also pointed out that all the vegetables, fruit and herbs that had been used were from the vegetable garden in the grounds; which we could see from our table. The menu had clearly been created to deliver what one would expect from a country Restaurant with 2 AA Rosettes, but with a creativity to set them in a league of their own.
The sommelier then followed suit explaining that he had chosen wines specifically to complement each course.
Our tasting menu began with a Chilled Tomato Consommé with Baby Basil with Balsamic Caviar, if I’m being honest I wasn’t sure about this dish. I appreciated the light and fragrant tang to get the tastebuds going but the consistency was a bit too oily for me. However, this is very much the case with Consommes so this could well be my personal taste rather than a reflection of the dish.
The starter more than made up for this though; the Crab and Garden Courgette Salad with Caper and Chilli was one of my favourite courses; the presentation was beautiful and the crab and courgettes worked so well together.
For the second course we had Garden Beetroot and Herbed Goats Cheese, beetroot can be rather earthy but the herbed goats cheese gave a soft tanginess to really set-off the flavour without the earthy undertone.
I almost always go for the Duck when dining out so I was delighted with the main course; Seared Duck Breast, Duck Spring Roll with Garden Onion Puree and Emoki Mushrooms. The duck was cooked to perfection and the spring roll and mushrooms gave a really nice mix of textures and flavours, I’ve eaten a lot of duck but this has to have been one of the best duck dishes I’ve eaten.
I was a bit worried when I saw a ‘pre-dessert’ of Guyers Garden Rasberries and Cream on the menu as the thought of two desserts after all we had consumed already was a bit overwhelming. However, this was served more as a light sorbet than a pudding, and the rasberries were so fresh and summery and cleansed the palate perfectly.
Although I was curious that a vegetable was the main ingredient for the dessert, I was confident that after 6 delicious courses that there was a good reason The Head Chef had chosen ‘Warm Beetroot Cake, Strawberry Sorbet and Chocolate Crumble'. And there certainly was - the deliciously fresh and sweet sorbet worked so well with the cake. It tasted more like a raw chocolate than beetroot and I absolutely loved it.
I feel so privileged to have been invited to the Chef’s Dining Experience. It really was an unforgettable evening, everything from the venue to the service was exceptional. The food and wine all complimented each other perfectly and really made me feel like I was experiencing something special.
What really stood out was that Guyers House have managed to achieve that rare quality in Fine Dining Experiences; they’ve created an atmosphere where you feel special and are superbly looked after but without being pretentious and overly attentive. That, coupled with the food and wine makes it right up there in my Top 5 dining experiences in the UK. I will confidently be recommending Guyers House to staff, clients, friends and family.
To book a table at Guyers House, please call reception on: 01249 713399