This was my 5th visit in the last 2 years to The Manor House Restaurant (see my previous review). Each of the other times it was absolutely fabulous. I enjoyed meals that I raved about to friends. I really looked forward to returning. This time, I certainly don't. The price of the different menu options has not changed, but the quality and selections have gone seriously downhill.
The evening started with great promise. The amuse bouche sent out by the chef was delicious and my crab cake starter course was excellent. The service was good - attentive, but certainly not obsequious or overbearing. The wine steward helped us pick a delicious, reasonably priced bottle. But then...
We waited and waited and waited for our main courses. Eventually, about a half hour after clearing our starter dishes, we were served what was supposed to be a palate cleansing sorbet. Nope. Instead of a small taste of a citrus-y, snappy sort of palate cleanser, we were served a sweet, creamy vanilla ice cream. So wrong! But, that was only a precursor of what came next. My main course, a sliced duck breast, was served swimming in a kind of rice wine vinegar (perhaps mixed with Asian fish sauce??). It was absolutely inedible.
I asked the server if this is how the duck is normally served and he said that the chef "often changes the presentation". Okay, maybe this was just one of those bad ideas that happen sometimes. (Though, for the price of this meal, this kind of "experiment" should never have found its way to the dining room!) I was asked if I would like to return the dish and I said yes and to please replace it with anything that could be cooked quickly. (Others at my table had been served and I certainly didn't want them to have to wait for me.) The "replacement" steak did come out in about 10 minutes, but it was tough and fatty. The reduction in quality of ingredients was quite apparent.
Desserts were okay. My almond cake was rather dry, but my husband's chocolate souffle was very good. In the past, diners were brought a tray of assorted "delices" along with the bill. This time, there were a couple of truffles - okay, but nowhere as good as in previous visits.
All in all, this meal was a real disappointment. I noted that the restaurant was only half full on a Friday evening. I understand why. A lot of money for mediocre food. I can't imagine returning any time soon.
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