spoon

My AA Report 2013

Category : Chef, Main, Reviews, Work

Colettes 3 AA Rosettes
Colette’s at The Grove
Chandler’s Cross
RICKMANSWORTH
WD3 4TG
3 AA Rosette Restaurant

A comprehensively equipped modern spa hotel only minutes from the M25, The Grove is on hand to provide all the smoothing of feathers that life in the nearby metropolis has ruffled up. It’s a Georgian mansion house with golf and mudpacks according to taste in relaxation, and a pair of options for dining: the informal Stables (see separate entry) and Colette’s, the fine-dining alternative. Done in today’s preferred pastel shades, it makes a neutral but soothing backdrop for Russell Bateman’s culinary pyrotechnics, which come in the form of variously proportioned menus given names from the aesthetic repertoire: Haiku, Sonnet and Symphony, depending on whether you’re in the market for a bit of Basho, a shot of Shakespeare or the full Mahler. An organic walled garden supplies much of the fresh produce, and the style is about using technical innovation to emphasise natural flavours. Roast Landes foie gras with carrot ketchup and nasturtiums is one eye-catching way to start, as is venison tartare with pickled pear, 100% cocoa and parsnip. Thus primed, the relative classicism of Cotswold chicken roasted with Périgord truffle stuffed under the skin and an enriching note from Vacherin cheese comes as a more than pleasant surprise. Cauliflower variations (pickled, roasted and raw) add the requisite note of modernity. Red meats are subjected to complexes of flavours as when Cornish lamb is tricked out with artichokes, pomegranate, ceps and marjoram, while the currently fashionable pairing of chicken wings and fish (in this case turbot) is buttressed by leeks, salsify, chestnuts and tarragon. Apple varieties from the orchard – Cox, Russet, Braeburn and Granny Smith – get a thorough workout in a dessert plate that combines poached, diced, creamed and sorbet elements, together with caramel jelly, or there could be an assemblage of manjari chocolate, Valencia orange, brioche, olive oil and sea salt.