My AA Report 2012

Category : Main, News, Reviews, Work

Colettes 3 AA RosettesQueen Victoria and Edward VII were both rather partial to dropping in on this estate for the weekend when London’s charms began to pall. It wasn’t far away even in those days, but with the capital’s onward sprawl, it seems practically a stone’s throw from the West End. What you get is a large country-estate hotel, with all mod cons (spa treatments and golf), and an understated restaurant in soothing beige with smartly dressed tables, artfully positioned mirrors and polished service. Russell Bateman has honed a profoundly accomplished style of modern cooking here, imbued with his own personal stamp, while respecting the quality of the raw materials he works with. Dishes are composed of many interlocking elements, as witness an opener of Lincolnshire pork teamed with smoked eel, alongside a slice of foie gras and apple terrine. Another might see roast scallops against a southeast Asian array of peanuts, radish and lime. Moving on to the main course, the stakes are raised still further, perhaps for an assiette of locally farmed veal (the fillet, breast, sweetbread and tongue), served with cauliflower and spinach in aged balsamic, while a brill dish becomes a seafood-lover’s dream date, encompassing cockles, clams, an oyster ravioli and caviar cream, not to mention some leek and turnip towards your five-a-day. The seven-course tasting menu is the leisurely way to go. Desserts don’t stint on creativity either, perhaps offering parsnip and cardamom cake with blood orange and white chocolate, or spiced banana tart with toasted coconut and passionfruit and a banana sorbet – 3 Rosettes

Colette’s Review in Good Food Guide 2012

Category : Main, News, Reviews, Work

The Grove, Colette’s
Star-struck venue with eye popping food
Chandler’s Cross, WD3 4TG
Tel no: (01923) 807807


Modern British | £65
Cooking score: 5

These days, the sleek, glossy Grove is synonymous with a certain sort of stardom, and there may be gasps of ‘OMG!’ given the celebrity count here – it’s a home-from-home for football’s moneyed aristocracy, after all. As the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Colette’s puts on a suitably ostentatious show, with a ‘sexy’ bar area, huge canvases and abstract sculptures in the dining room. Prices are pitched at premiership WAGs rather than fans on the terraces, and the supremely confident kitchen aims to dazzle. Continue Reading

Optima Magazine Review

Category : News, Reviews, Work


10th June 2011

The Grove • Chandler’s Cross • WD3 4TG • 01923 296015

Reviewed by Jill Glenn

It’s the attention to detail that makes Colette’s, the fine dining restaurant at The Grove, stand out from the crowd. That, and the elegant atmosphere that envelops you from the moment you walk through the door. Sitting in the smart little lounge (on some of the wackiest and most covetable chairs I’ve seen in a long time), sipping a Kir Royale made to Colette’s own recipe, and overlooking the beautiful grounds on a balmy summer’s evening, it’s hard to believe you’re only a stone’s throw from the centre of Watford.

It’s even harder to believe when you move through into the quietly sophisticated dining room and start tasting the food. Have I died and gone to heaven? It may seem excessive to rave over something as simple as risotto, but – trust me – this is not risotto as you know it. The delicate starter sized portion of Fresh Pea Risotto, served with Richard Woodhall Ham, Moroccan Mint and Pea Shoots, is intensely green and utterly delicious. The grains are perfectly cooked, and new levels of flavour reveal themselves with every mouthful. “This is possibly,” I murmur to my companion, “the best risotto ever.”

I could have eaten more, of course, but, realistically, the ideal starter should merely awaken the appetite, hinting at the promise of things to come. The next course on our ‘Taste of the Market’ menu (which, at £45 per head for four courses, strikes me as great value and an astonishingly good way of showcasing all the ingredients that are perfectly in season, either at Colette’s suppliers or harvested from the hotel’s kitchen garden) is Cornish Mackerel, Chorizo, Garden Asparagus and Heirloom Tomatoes. Oh, those tomatoes! Picked just a few hours earlier, they have flavour like you’ve never imagined. The asparagus, perhaps just slightly over-seasoned, is the babiest I’ve ever seen; the nuggets of chorizo add strength and contrast to the mackerel. Light, delicate, fresh; a very clever dish. Fish course: tick.

Main course: tick too. De Dombes Duck Breast, Broad Beans, Grelot Onions, Orange, Liquorice: cooked to perfection, beautifully presented, full of flavour. This man can cook.

Dessert – the deceptively simply named Upside-Down Strawberry Cheesecake – is a triumph, with powerful fruit exploding onto your tastebuds, crumbly biscuit topping and soft creaminess. A final tick. That’s one for every course, plus a few extra: for the amuse-bouches, the pre-dessert, the petits fours.

The quality of the food is outstanding. Head Chef Russell Bateman has real skill and a philosophy of fresh food, quality ingredients, simply enhanced. Colette’s is a real destination, and it deserves to be. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to eat here.

Don’t get the idea that it’s pretentious, though. It’s not. Yes, it feels sophisticated, out-of-the-ordinary, special – but it combines that with a comfortable easy air (the Earl of Clarendon would turn in his grave if he knew they’d relaxed the rigid dress code; there were even chaps in jeans…) and friendly professionalism. Former diners such as Queen Victoria, Edward VII and Lord Palmerston might feel that standards of decorum had slipped – but they wouldn’t say a word against the food…

Review can also be found at Optima Magazine

Michelin Guide 2011

Category : News, Reviews, Work

After working under a number of amazing chefs in Michelin starred kitchens throughout my early career it is fair to say I look out for the guides release every January. It is considered by many, even after 100 long years, “The” premier restaurant guide. Whilst I haven’t made it into the guide this year a couple of my friends & former bosses have. I would like to pass on my congratulations to them.

Adam Simmonds who has achieved a star against his name at Danesfield House’s, Oak Room Restaurant.

Tom Kerridge, my old friend at The Hand & Flowers in Marlow for retaining his star.

My old bosses Daniel Clifford Midsummer House & Marcus Wareing for both retaining their second stars.

Also out of the UK guide in Spain another friend of mine Oriel Ivern earned his first star for his Barcelona eatery Hisop. Nice one Ori.

Last but not least Gordon Ramsay, the media have beaten him up a little this year, everybody needs to remember that he remains one of the top chefs in the country’s history. He has changed the entire culinary scene in the UK for the better and I like many other chefs am enormously thankful. We don’t see anyone in France beating on Paul Bocuse’s door for cooking what he believes in. I wish in this country we could be the same.

So a big congratulations to all that appeared in the guide this year and to those of us that didn’t, we’d better push on!

My review in Hardens Guide 2011

Category : Reviews

Food: 2 – Very Good

Service: 2 – Very Good

Ambience: 3 – Good

“Firing on all cylinders at present – the traditionally-styled main dining room of this vast, swish country house hotel is naturally “a bit pricey”, but offers a “good dining experience” across the board.”.

My AA Report 2011

Category : News, Reviews, Work

The Grove describes itself as ‘London’s cosmopolitan country estate’, and it lives up to the billing. It is within the M25 for a start, so an easy hop to central London, and a refurbishment in 2004 led to a serious contemporary makeover. As for the country estate bit, well, it stands in 300 acres of beautiful grounds, including a championship golf course. The 18th-century house fits the bill, too, being grand enough to carry the ambitions of the management. The former stables have been converted into a relaxed brasserie-style restaurant, while the fine dining action takes place in Colette’s, with its comfortably modern furnishings and funky wooden art on the walls. Head chef Russell Bateman produces classy modern European food with a high level of technique and an eye for appealing presentations. Snail lasagne with celeriac cream makes for a refined starter, while main-course partridge comes with sweetcorn purée, shallots, sprouts and a sticky bacon jus. The flair for balancing flavours continues at dessert stage with a luscious chocolate and chestnut fondant ably supported by coffee ice cream. Service is appropriately professional but there is nothing stuffy about Colette’s. – 3 Rosettes