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Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons Wedding Dinner

20 Dec
The Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons courtyard at night

The Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons courtyard at night

Our overall impressions of the food at Le Manoir lived up to expectations of a two Michelin-starred restaurant. The service was outstanding – so unobtrusive you didn’t even notice them constantly topping up the wine glasses (which was a little dangerous!) and the waiting staff had personality.

The only criticism was that there was inconsistency in the presentation of some of the plates of food. Paul’s red mullet dish came out looking completely different to mine and the other guests, and there were inconsistencies in the sizes and pieces of partridge as well from another guest’s account. This is something that Chef Raymond Blanc would not stand for on his BBC show The Restaurant, but it did not detract from an otherwise perfect meal.

Table setting for wedding at Le Manoir

Table setting for wedding at Le Manoir

The wedding dinner menu

The wedding dinner menu

We had the honour to be invited to our friends Dominique and Gabriel’s wedding at Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred establishment ‘Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons’, located in the village of Great Milton in Oxfordshire. The wedding was a  10 course Menu Découverte.

Assiette apéritive, pumpkin soup

Assiette apéritive, pumpkin soup

Parfait of duck liver, spiced pear chutney, toasted country bread

Parfait of duck liver, spiced pair chutney, toasted country bread

The assiette apéritive was a light and foamy pumpkin soup, a slightly sweet yet savoury delight. It was served with a La Tour Château Grand Moulin Corbières Blanc 2008 from Languedoc.

This was followed by the first starter, the duck liver parfait – lovely and creamy with the textural contrast of the nuts, and the bread was delicious. The sweet and subtly spiced pear chutney cut through the richness of the liver.

Risotto of wild mushrooms, truffle cream

Risotto of wild mushrooms, truffle cream

Pan-fried wild Cornish gill-netted red mullet and "jig caught" squid, salted cod brandade, bouillabaisse jus

Pan-fried wild Cornish gill-netted red mullet and "jig caught" squid, salted cod brandade, bouillabaisse jus

As the risotto course was placed in front of us – risotto of wild mushroom with truffle cream – the tantalising smell of truffle wafted through the room. The flavours were intense. It was perfectly seasoned and the rice was well cooked. Bizarrely though, the slice of truffle on top seemed a bit bland! Despite this, the depth of flavour in the rice made it a winner for Paul.

The pan-fried Cornish red mullet fish course was Sarah’s favourite dish out of the entire meal. The squid had the most intense chargrilled flavour, and was extremely tender. The brandade was satisfyingly salty on top of the potato, and the mullet was cooked to perfection. The accompanying fennel acted as a suitable partner to the gorgeous fish and the bouillabaisse jus added plenty of fishy flavour in the background.

Roasted partridge, smoked mashed potatoes, caramelised salsify, redcurrant jus

Roasted partridge, smoked mashed potatoes, caramelised salsify, redcurrant jus

Farmhouse cheeses

Farmhouse cheeses

Next came the roasted partridge breast which was tender and still slightly pink, the way it should be, served with smoked mashed potato which was a real winner. Some of our fellow guests found the partridge breast a little tough, and the presentation was a bit hit and miss. Sarah’s looked as pretty as a picture but Paul’s was just piled up. Added to the fact one or two guests had shattered bone and one found shot, this was a bit sub-Michelin standard – but didn’t detract too much from the rest of the meal.

At this point the red wine – Château Le Roc Le Classique 2006 – was served. This was followed by the cheeses, which were presented beautifully – each cheese was paired with an accompanying condiment: honey, chutney, glazed pecans, etc.

"Kaffir" lime leaf and coconut tapioca, passion fruit and banana sorbet

"Kaffir" lime leaf and coconut tapioca, passion fruit and banana sorbet

Hot "Guanaja" chocolate fondant with amaretto cream, pistachio ice cream

Hot "Guanaja" chocolate fondant with amaretto cream, pistachio ice cream

The first dessert course was a Kaffir lime leaf and coconut tapioca creation – an explosion of tropical flavours which was very welcome after the heavier cheeses. The tiny soft tapioca pearls sat on top of finely diced passion fruit, and the banana sorbet was delicately placed on top in a tiny quenelle. The lime flavour from the Kaffir leaves was surprisingly powerful.

With this came a rich sweet dessert wine – Mas Amiel Maury Vintage Reserve 2006, from Roussillon.

Sarah’s winner out of the dessert courses was Raymond Blanc’s signature dish – a chocolate fondant. The beautiful, absolutely stunning mini fondant was meltingly perfect, accompanied by pistachio ice cream that tasted of real pistachios – no artificial flavours here! The amaretto creams were delicious too.

Petit fours et chocolate du Manoir

Petit fours et chocolate du Manoir

Finally, petit fours were exquisitely hand crafted and presented like a work of art, like all of the food on the menu. They were accompanied by little cups of coffee and then liqueur orders were taken. And with the fantastic wine free-flowing throughout the meal and a couple of Cognacs to finish, the evening was a complete success!

We would love to go back to sample more of the food in the actual restaurant setting, and we’d like to see more of the grounds as well as we didn’t have that opportunity on this occasion.