TANTALISINGLY tasty food which leaves you full to the brim but still wanting more is what you will find at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club.
The restaurant has wonderful staff, great food and a peacefully charming atmosphere.
We went along to see if the rumours of the exquisite food were really true.
On entering we were greeted with a warm welcome by a wonderful host and waiter called Xavor – he was polite, accommodating and willing to please but not in an overbearing way which gets on your nerves.
To start, we had an ash goat cheese fritter with pomegranate, walnut and spinach and pan-fried sea scallops with king prawns and sorrell chard.
Both dishes were out of this world and incredibly tasty; the fritter was crispy on the outside with gooey warm cheese in the middle. The sweetness of the pomegranate and walnuts gave the dish contrasting sweet and savoury flavours which really made this a five star dish.
The scallops and prawns were cooked to perfection – succulent, tasting of the sea, and perfectly seasoned with just enough salt to leave your taste buds tingling.
For our mains we ordered a 12oz rib eye steak and a 10oz rump, both of which came with a confit tomato, garlic flat mushroom and chips.
Both cuts of meats were delicious and cooked exactly to order – keeping the juices locked in and fantastically tender.
The steak went perfectly with the thick, white and fluffy chips which complemented the seasoned tomato and mushroom, creating mouthwatering flavours.
The peppercorn sauce had a real kick while the Bearnaise was deliciously creamy – making the meal truly compete.
Although our stomachs were almost overflowing we could not leave without trying the pudding – which we had no doubt would be out of this world if they were anything like the starters and mains.
We had a sticky toffee pudding with brandy snap and salted caramel ice cream and white chocolate cheesecake with mango sorbet and a pistachio macaroon.
The warm and gooey sticky toffee pudding was just the right size and a perfect way to finish the meal after two very savoury dishes. The brandy snap and salted caramel ice cream was also tantalising sweet.
The cheesecake was also of a good size and deliciously fruity and creamy, ending our meal very nicely.
We finished the evening with a tipple of warm brandy which kept us warm the whole way home.
All in all the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club provides a wonderful dining atmosphere, fantastic food and impeccable service. If you don’t try it for yourself you will be missing out.
The hotel and club’s executive chef D’Arcy Mogan has also been sharing his secrets to cooking the perfect Christmas dinner and festive feast.
The 39-year-old has spent the last two decades working in Michelin-starred eateries across the UK and Canada and now heads up the expert team at the four star property.
His secret recipe of success lies is preparation, thinking ahead and planning.
He said when feeding lots of people it was always a good idea to get them involved in the peeling and chopping, even little ones can help set the table he added.
And, if all else fails he recommended having a glass of something festive to hand as you cook like mulled wine.
D’Arcy said the secret to a perfect turkey was to retain as much moisture as possible, keeping in all those lovely juices.
He added if you were using a whole bird, an easy way to do this was to cook it upside down with the aim to cook the middle of the bird to a temperature of 75°C because if it goes any higher than this it will start to dry.
Another good idea is to sit the turkey on a bed of onions, celery, and carrots so the vegetable juices can combine with the juices from the bird to make an amazing, tasty gravy.
D’Arcy said the best way to get a perfect roast potato is to steam or boil them until they are almost falling apart before putting them into a hot oven, over 190°C, with plenty of vegetable oil.
“I use this instead of goose fat or beef dripping – I believe simple is always the best (technically you can heat vegetable oil to higher temperature than dripping and goose fat which makes It crisper) and lots of salt,” he added.
He said the best starter, he would recommend, would have to be smoked salmon.
“It’s luxurious and decadent but light enough so everyone can still enjoy the main course,” he added.
D’Arcy said he believed Christmas was a time to enjoy traditional tastes so he did not think you could beat a homemade Christmas pudding with all the trimmings or a big, boozy cake.
He added the trick was to start making it early so you could add the alcohol to mixture slowly, making sure it soaks up all the flavours.