I have had the pleasure of dining at Hawtrey's a number of times in recent years and it has yet to disappoint. I have been as part of a fairly large party, as a couple and as a small family group. On this occasion it was the latter. As on previous visits, the decor, the atmosphere, the quality of service and the superb food combined to make this a real dining experience, something we do not have the opportunity to do that often.
The service was largely impeccable, the tables are immaculate, with everything spotless and polished - as it should be of course, and the food superbly presented. We opted for the Gastronomic menu, which promises pretty reasonable value with 3 courses for £25. The reality is not quite so impressive, with four of the six mains on offer carrying fairly hefty supplements - this seems a little naughty to me, as does the way in which we were presented with fairly pricey bottled water.
This is not an experience to be rushed and the meal as detailed elsewhere is much more than a simple three courses. Intriguing canapés (quails eggs and the like are not normally my thing), a range of delicious breads and speciality butters and a delightful amuse bouche of goat's cheese and mushroom velouté all beautifully presented and delivered with some grace. My actual starter, mackerel three ways - including a velouté (where would they be without that word on their menu? - there are times when I feel the menu is a little up itself). That said, it was all very nice, as were my companion's starters. For my main, on principal I avoided anything with a supplement and enjoyed the 'slow cooked belly of pork'. For me, this was perfectly sized and nicely cooked, with lovely tender meat. The potential quibble here would concern the crackling, which was rather soft. Personally, even had it been crispy it is something I would have avoided eating.
A delightfully light and cleansing lemon sorbet preceded my delicious desert, a so called 'caramel delight' - which consisted of a light creme caramel, a caramel flavoured ice cream and the obligatory fancy spun sugar. It is fair to say that portion sizes are not massive, but overall I feel they are about right. The length of the meal and the delivery of courses ensure that you leave pleasantly full rather than feeling uncomfortably and obscenely stuffed.
Overall a superb dining experience, again I feel it is a little naughty that the service charge should be included in the bill, while I am not averse to tipping good service (and it was), I would prefer to do so by choice. The children's menu might benefit from some work - oscillating between lazy chicken nuggets and a more bizarre shrimp dish. Rather strangely my daughter had a chicken nuggets and chips 'starter', followed by a steak, mash and vegetables main!
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.