Colette’s Review in Good Food Guide 2010

Category : News, Reviews, Work

The Grove, Colette’s
Out to make an impact
Chandler’s Cross, WD3 4TG
Tel no: (01923) 807807
Modern European | £58
Cooking score: 5

On a clear night you can see Watford’s urban fluorescence glowing in the distance as you stroll around this sprawling hotel complex. Built for the Earls of Clarendon, the Grove’s original porticoed mansion now houses its top-end restaurant, and the lofty dining room still feels like an illustrious ‘weekend in the country’ destination. Everything here is larger than life, from huge canvases and abstract sculptures to a fantastical chandelier of epic proportions. Chef Russell Bateman arrived in 2009 from the Feathers Hotel,Woodstock and he is out to make an impact. A starter of creamy lamb’s sweetbreads with deep-fried palourdes and crisp parsnip ribbons is given some peppery bite with tiny nasturtium leaves, while the summery sweetness of steamed Scottish lobster tail is offset by astringent lemon thyme, artichokes and baby fennel. Ideas are complex, ingredients top-drawer and flavours neatly judged, although novelties occasionally fall flat bland chocolate polenta added nothing
to a dish of pigeon breasts with baby beetroot, spring cabbage and ‘bubble and squwark’ (sic). Finally, the kitchen dons its joker’s hat for a startling dessert involving violet mousse, blueberries and Laurent Perrier jelly topped with nuggets of excited popping candy that explode like hyperactive fizz bubbles in the mouth. Busy, name-tagged staff in dapper grey outfits are ‘a tad too eager to please’, and the wine list includes many exceptional bottles. Prices start at £28.

Chef: Russell Bateman.
Open: Tue to Sat D 7 to 9.30 (and Sun D on bank hols).
Closed: Sun (except bank holidays), Mon. Meals: Set D £57.75.
Service: 12.5% (optional).
Details: Cards accepted. 40 seats. Air-con. Separate bar. Wheelchair access. Music. Children allowed. Car parking.

Taken from Good Food Guide 2010