Charlotte Shepherd reviews the Whatley Estate Auberge and Spa, Malmesbury
WHATLEY Estate Auberge and Spa describes itself online as ‘quintessentially British’, and it is accessible to see why.
Arriving on a algid winter’s night, we were accustomed into a auberge (beautifully and alluringly aflame for the blithe season), with fires in huge fireplaces and doughy sofas that accepted that we instantly relax.
Once a clandestine estate abode the auberge has, back 2003, fabricated a name for itself as a go-to destination for those attractive to absolutely disentangle and de-stress.
It was accessible from the moment we arrived, bottomward the tree-lined avenue, that this was a destination with a difference. There was annihilation accumulated about it – it acquainted like a clandestine and much-loved ancestors country home that had opened its doors to us for the night.
Set in the affection of the Cotswolds, yet aural shouting ambit of Malmesbury, Whatley Estate exhibits bulk of charm. The agents angled over backwards to accomplish our break enjoyable, with a accomplished absorption to detail at every turn.
The auberge is not agreeable to aloof barter aloft its acceptability (it is already acclaimed for its Michelin-starred accomplished dining restaurant and tasting menu), and agitated out a face-lifting of its brasserie restaurant, Grey’s, which re-opened in November.
A accord amid arch chef George Dingle and controlling chef Niall Keating has produced a card showcasing British abundance dishes, which we were acquisitive to try.
But aboriginal we were apparent to our room, a apartment (one of 23 bedrooms), so all-inclusive it was adamantine to absolutely apperceive area to put ourselves. We could accept to lounge on the two bassinet longues in the sitting room, or conceivably one of several chairs in the bedroom.
And again there was the bed. It was so astronomic that we about regretted not bringing the accouchement – four of us would calmly fit in the bed after a squash. The allowance has absent none of the appearance of the aboriginal estate house, but of advance with blast up to date touches including two Blast & Olufsen TV systems, and a Dualit drinks machine.
After a quick bathe in the hydrotherapy basin in the Aquarias Spa, which was as adequate as expected, we fabricated our way for a pre-dinner alcohol in the bar absorbed to Grey’s brasserie.
The bar sets the arena altogether for the new abstraction restaurant, and it was accessible to brainstorm ourselves in a 1920s applesauce club. The admirable music of Chet Baker helped to set the arena alike more. Both bar and restaurant accept adequate banquette-style covering basement and there is a affection broiler in the restaurant which was abundant accepted on this algid evening.
Having formed up an appetence in the pool, we were now agog to move assimilate the capital event. The card is altogether counterbalanced and brasserie appearance and includes steaks (cooked on a hot stone), brittle avoid leg, sea bream and starters including ham hock, three cheese broiled eggs, attic and a administration lath of broiled camembert.
I chose to alpha with a prawn cocktail, absent article ablaze afore the capital event. It was a acceptable allocation with acceptable sized and appetizing prawns and a composed sauce. My husband’s amateur of broiled crayfish and macaroni thermidor was added unusual. It would be accessible for the cheese to swamp the aftertaste of the crayfish, but this didn’t appear and it was agilely devoured.
For the main, my sirloin steak burst on a hot bean aloft the dining acquaintance to an “event”, and the beef was adorable and tender. My husband’s Glazed ox audacity with spiced red cabbage, parsnip and kale was so delicious and the absolute winter’s night meal, he was afraid to allotment abundant with me, save a tiny taste.
Puddings of an angel custard with amber and biscuit ice cream, and a cheese lath accepted the absolute end to the evening, afore we fabricated our way to one of the doughy sofas in the sitting room.
One of the highlights of the accomplished acquaintance was acknowledgment to sommelier, who although almost young, was abundantly knowledgeable. We put ourselves in his easily and he chose wines to accompany our meal, including a British white for me, which pushed me to try article new.
Breakfast the abutting day was served in the capital dining room, which was ample with admirable flowers. It gave us a adventitious in aurora to attending out over the gardens. As we had appear to expect, the breakfast offerings were superb – my appetizing poached eggs and avocado on sourdough acknowledgment were a assignment of art on a plate.
It was time for us to leave, but we realised that there is so abundant added to see and do at Whatley Estate and abounding added affidavit to appointment in the future.
As able-bodied as the spa, there is a cinema and a new amplitude alleged the Green Room, which affairs to host comestible contest such as tapas nights in the advancing months.
Whatley Estate is not continuing still. But while we were there, the agents were added than blessed for their guests to footfall off the treadmill of activity and do aloof that!
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