Find this excellent hotel/restaurant, set in over 60 acres of in a country house, high above the Thames. The style is mock-Elizabethan, and this is continued inside the building; where the interior designer Anouska Hempel has been careful to keep things understated.
From the culinary viewpoint there are two restaurants. 'The Orangery', which they describe as a brasserie, but which in fact is an extremely-comfortable dining room with a slightly-less elaborate menu than the 'Oak Room' - which is our feature here.
The Oak Room is a formal dining room, with oak panels from floor to ceiling, top-quality table ware and crisp white napery. The cooking here is serious.
Dishes are given single word titles, so you might begin with 'Scallop' - (seared hand-dived scallops, Jerusalem Artichoke Purée, Apple Jelly, Grain Mustard Ice Cream); 'Terrine' - (terrine of squab pigeon, comice pear, celeriac, foie gras, salted almonds) or 'Chicken' - (confit chicken oysters, slow-boiled hen's eggs, cockscomb, mustard dressing, dandelion and truffle).
To maybe be followed by 'Brill' - (poached fillet of brill, wild garlic leaf panna cotta, fresh peas, feves, morels, confit new seasons garlic); 'Sweetbread' - (sautéed veal sweetbread, frogs legs, cauliflower purée, chocolate oil, anchovy foam' or 'Beef' - (roast fillet of beef, horseradish gnocchi, shallot and horseradish purée, ox tongue, chervil, red wine sauce).
Desserts continue the same theme, with 'Ovaltine' - (ovaltine panna cotta, malt parfait, cocoa jelly, bitter chocolate marquise and condensed milk ice cream' and 'Strawberry' - (wild strawberry mousse, strawberry ice cream, crystalised nettle and nettle pavlova).
The more savoury-toothed can choose from their excellent selection of English and French cheeses.
While the menu style might irritate some, there's no denying the high standard of the food offered.
- Food Style: Modern European
- Lunch: Thurs-Sat 12.00-14.00; set L £50 (2 courses) to £60; plus less ambitious Orangery Menu
- Dinner: Tues-Sat 19.00-21.30; set D £50 to £60; Tasting Menu £82 (7 courses) - plus The Orangery Brasserie Menu
- Seats: 36, plus 20 outside
- Wine: an excellent list, with plenty of halves & wines by the glass, is based in France and kicks off in the mid £20s
- Children's portions: Yes, when possible
- Wheelchair access: Yes, including lavatory
- Nearest station: Marlow Rail
- Directions: See the map on this page - 2 miles from Marlow on the A4155
- Parking: Yes
- Closed: check Christmas openings
- Rooms available