Our girlie weekend in Warwickshire continued with a stay at a spa hotel, The Ardencote Manor Country Club and Spa. Set amidst rolling countryside, this secluded spot emitted tranquility and really allowed us to recharge our batteries.
Included in our spa package was a 3 course meal at the hotels restaurant, The Lodge. Now past experience has taught us that included meals often aren’t of a very high quality and offer limited choice. We’re extremely happy to report that the food served at The Lodge was outstanding even though we had to order from the ‘all inclusive’ menu rather than a la carte. There was a choice of around 5 starters, 5 main courses and 5 desserts. A supplement could be paid if ordering from the a la carte menu.
A starter of Creamed Goats Cheese, Parma Ham and Walnuts arrived. Usually preferring warm goats cheese, this chilled creamed version was smooth, tangy and offset beautifully by the saltiness of the parma ham. The crushed walnuts provided a lovely bite and contrast of texture.
The Chicken Liver Parfait was smooth and creamy, accompnanied by a fruity red onion marmalade to cut through the creaminess. There were two good sized pieces of toasted bread to spread the parfait on although another slice wouldn’t have hurt!
The main course of Free Range Chicken Breast was accompanied by a Celeriac Puree, Wild Mushrooms and Dauphinoise Potatoes. The chicken had a crispy, well seasoned skin and sat on top of the dauphinise which were soft, fluffy and also perfectly seasoned.
The wild mushrooms gave a lovey earthy taste to the dish and the gravy bound the whole dish together beautifully.
The dessert menu looked irresistable with some interesting puddings to choose from. With choices such as Warm Apple Rice Pudding, Pumpkin Custard Tart and Spiced Carrot Pudding, difficult decisions had to be made!
Initially we weren’t sure about the Prune Souffle with Vanilla Ice Cream (NB please allow 15 minutes if ordering this dessert) as prunes don’t exactly make our mouths water in general. However, curious about the use of it in a souffle we took a gamble and are happy to say the gamble paid off. Fluffy, incredibly light and accompanied by a cool vanilla ice cream, the prune flavour came through in a subtle way and did not overpower the dish in any way.
As delicious as the souffle was, the dessert which was worthy of outstanding mention was the Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Salted Carmel , Salted Popcorn and Peanuts with a Sweet Corn Ice Cream.
The dessert of all desserts, the peanut butter cheesecake was rich, sumptuous and tasted devilishly good! The salted caramel, peanuts and popcorn provided an array of different textures and the salt allowed the cheesecake to not become too sickly. The sweet corn ice cream was a new discovery for us and definitely gets the thumbs up!
In conclusion, we made the wonderful discovery that this spa package menu was well thought out, prepared with care and precision and proves that not every all inclusive package is substandard fare.