spoon

Love Food, Love Drink Review

Category : Reviews, Work

Colette’s is The Grove’s three rosette award winning fine dining restaurant.  Start off with a couple of cocktails in the intriguing and fun bar area, filled with colourful oversized furniture, and you immediately realise you are about to experience something a little bit out of the ordinary.  By contrast the beautifully restored 18th century dining room provides a far more conventionally elegant setting, complemented by stunning views across the rolling lawns.

However, don’t let the grand surroundings intimidate you.  Colette’s is as easy going a fine dining restaurant as one is likely to come across, with friendly staff and an relaxed dress code.

Impressively, however, it’s the food that manages to be the star of the show.  Having created a modern European menu with some spectacular and adventurous twists, Colette’s young head chef, Russell Bateman, is surely one of the top rising talents in the restaurant industry.  Dishes like the Roast Scottish scallops with peanut puree highlight his ability to pick and cook the absolute finest ingredients around.  However, it’s dishes like Sweet Fois gras yogurt with pickled carrots & coriander that demonstrates absolute understanding of flavour and proves to be a totally inspiring experience.

Taken from Love Food Love Drink website

Colette’s Foodapedia Review

Category : Reviews, Work

Prior to working here, Russell has worked in many Michelin star restaurants including Pétrus and Auberge de L’Eridan, Capital Hotel and Restaurant and Midsummer House and alongside chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing and Marc Veyrat.

He invites us to have a little amble around the veg garden in the fading light, although the harsh winter has meant the vegetables are well behind with only the perennial herbs up and running. Lines of onion bulbs and bamboo canes indicate that in a few months the place should however be a real organic larder for the main kitchen.

And so after a shower, a shave and a sit down it’s time to head off  to dinner. Out the front door, a swift right hander and into Colette’s. Here after some nibbles in the bar we find that Russell’s menu is innovative and correctly compact with hints of influences from across the globe. For starters there are roast scallops with peanut puree and lime, Smoked eel and chicken wings with a teriyaki glaze, Roast Scottish langoustines with air cured ham and watermelon and a Risotto of in season broad beans with morel mushrooms and Spring truffles.

The langoustine dish is a well balanced dish texturally – the soft crunch of the langoustines, the semi-crisp watermelon and the more toothsome ham meld well. The slight saltiness of the ham bringing out the inherent brininess of the langoustine, with the melon nicely refreshing the palate after each forkful.

No one seems unhappy with their dishes and it’s interesting that Russell manages to make every dish a rich taste experience, without making the experience heavy and stifling. No more so than with a dish of Rose Veal Breast and Sweetbread, White Onion, Maple Syrup, Pedro Ximenez and Thyme Sauce.

On paper this could be a lot to deal with but on the plate it’s pretty near perfect. Thyme seems to have a way of cutting heavy sauces, even ones made with sticky Pedro Ximenez sherry, a sherry so thick you have to almost slap the bottle’s bottom before it will creep out with glacial slowness. This is the second time this week I’ve eaten veal sweetbread and I’m not getting bored yet, far from it.

Dessert is from the walled garden, Poached Rhubarb, shortbread and almond ice cream. Quintessentially English with the astringency of the rhubarb, now nearing the end of its edible life before it becomes a tannic monster to be avoided, is pleasant on the palate and balanced by the ice cream.

The cheese board is massive and unmissable, a parade of Top of the Cheese Pops, from France and UK, many of them local.  Chef Russell comes out with chocolates for our coffee, looking impossibly young for someone who has worked at Pétrus, Auberge de L’Eridan, Capital Hotel and Restaurant and Midsummer House – top restaurants all. And he smiles a lot and seems relaxed, it’s a fact that people on top of their game always are, it’s the ones struggling to make the grade who put on attitude.

Taken from the article on the Foodapedia website

My AA report 2010

Category : News, Reviews, Work

The Grove may be within the M25, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re there. The 300 acre grounds of this grand 18th-century stately residence are now home to a championship golf course and fine formal gardens, each enjoying beautiful views over Charlotte’s Vale. The house itself has been transformed into a world-class, contemporary hotel, which successfully combines historic character with cutting-edge modern design. There is a smart spa, a relaxing bar and lounge, and a choice of three restaurants. Colette’s is the fine dining, evening-only option, with its own separate entrance and stylish lounge and bar. The dining room is smart and slick with cream leather chairs, darkwood floor and the walls painted a dignified mustard-yellow. With service on the formal side, dinner includes all the extras from canapés in the bar through to pre-dessert and petits fours, and quality remains high throughout. The cooking is modern and accomplished, with great dish construction and visual impact too. The flair and imagination of the kitchen team under the guidance of new chef Russell Bateman is clearly evident. – 3 Rosettes

The Grove may be within the M25, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re there. The 300 acre grounds of this grand 18th-century stately residence are now home to a championship golf course and fine formal gardens, each enjoying beautiful views over Charlotte’s Vale. The house itself has been transformed into a world-class, contemporary hotel, which successfully combines historic character with cutting-edge modern design. There is a smart spa, a relaxing bar and lounge, and a choice of three restaurants. Colette’s is the fine dining, evening-only option, with its own separate entrance and stylish lounge and bar. The dining room is smart and slick with cream leather chairs, darkwood floor and the walls painted a dignified mustard-yellow. With service on the formal side, dinner includes all the extras from canapés in the bar through to pre-dessert and petits fours, and quality remains high throughout. The cooking is modern and accomplished, with great dish construction and visual impact too. The flair and imagination of the kitchen team under the guidance of new chef Russell Bateman is clearly evident.

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
http://www.thegrove.co.uk
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

My review in Hardens Guide

Category : News, Reviews, Work

Food: 2 – Very Good

Service: 2 – Very Good

Ambience: 3 – Good

“Pricey, but a good experience overall” – almost all of the reports on this “posh” modern country house hotel dining room are in a remarkably similar vein, and “it’s hard to beat for many miles around for a romantic evening”.