Only a couple hours outside of London, the Cotswolds is a great weekend getaway from the city. Known for its honey-coloured cottages and country pubs, each town is more photogenic than the last. We strolled through the villages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Broadway, Chipping Campden and Bibury. Our hotel, The Wild Rabbit, is located in another small village called Kingham. A modern British inn, each of their rooms is named after a woodland creature. We sat by the fire in the pub one night and the next we had dinner at the restaurant, which is also where they serve breakfast in the morning. It is owned by the Daylesford Estate, whose farm is a short drive away and is home to the original Daylesford farmshop. We stopped by to pick up some organic goods and before we knew it, the weekend was over and it was time to head back to the city.
You wouldn’t expect one of the best restaurants in the world to be located in a small and unassuming village, let alone two restaurants. In fact, that is what you will find in the village of Bray — two of UK’s three Michelin star restaurants. The one I had always wanted to go to was Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck. He also runs a one-star gastropub The Hind’s Head and a country pub The Crown, all within a stone’s throw away.
A visit to The Fat Duck isn’t just a meal but an experience. It started with a hard sought-after reservation four months before. A month’s worth of reservations are filled up within minutes of being released. A few weeks before our meal, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire which was then followed up by a phone call. The reason was to be revealed over the course of the meal.
The philosophy behind the restaurant is to recreate childhood memories and nostalgia through food. As such, the menu, or rather the itinerary as they call it, is structured around the chef’s childhood memories of going on a trip: first, waking up and having breakfast, going out to the sea and the woods, having a big dinner and then going off to sleep. Throughout the four hour journey, they included some touches that reflected our own personal memories.
The Day Before We Go: Are we nearly there yet?
Paloma, Campari soda, Pina Colada, Vodka Lime Sour - who will be the dragon?
JUST THE TONIC WE NEED
Smoked cumin Royale, Jerusalem artichoke ice cream
Morning: Rise and shine, it’s breakfast time
EXCUSE ME, MY TEA SEEMS TO BE COLD…AND HOT.
WHY DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A VARIETY PACK AND A COOKED BREAKFAST?
Truffled egg mousse, jellied tomato consomme, bacon and toasted bread cream, cereals
Mid-morning: First one to see the sea…
“SOUND of the SEA”
“CAN I HAVE SOME MONEY FOR AN ICE CREAM?”
Waldorf salad “Rocket”.
Salmon, avocado and horseradish “Twister”.
Crab and passion fruit “99”.
THEN WE WENT ROCKPOOLING
Cornish crab, smoked caviar and golden trout roe, velour of white chocolate and sea vegetables
Afternoon: If you go down to the woods today…
DAMPING THROUGH THE BOROUGHGROVES…
Mushroom, beet and blackberry, scented with fig leaf, meadowsweet, melilot, oak moss and black truffle
…WE DISCOVERED THE MOCK TURTLE PICNIC
Mock turtle soup and egg, toast sandwich
Evening: Are you ready for dinner?
Bedtime: Off to the Land of Nod
And then to dream…
Malt, orange blossom, tonka, milk, meringue, crystallized white chocolate, pistachio
LIKE A KID IN A SWEETSHOP
caramel in edible wrapper,
Queen of Hearts jam tart,
mandarin scented aerated chocolate
For my birthday this year we spent a long weekend in Cornwall, a county on the southernmost tip of England. We rented a cottage from Unique Home Stays, called The Hide. It is a beautifully designed home and had everything we needed for the weekend, including a log fire and a hot tub. One of the few times we left the cottage was to go to Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, which you read about here.
We had a great meal at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw when we were in Cornwall. The restaurant is renowned for its seafood tasting menu which highlights the local seafood caught off the Cornish coast.
Cured Monkfish, Fennel, Ginger & Chilli
Bass & Porthilly Sauce
Turbot, Cauliflower & Roast Celeriac Sauce
Cornish Jack Cheese, Beetroot & Walnut Tart
Banana, Peanut Espresso & Lime
Red Wine Pear & Chocolate