The real scandal at Cliveden in Taplow, Berkshire is that André Garrett Restaurant has not yet won a Michelin star, says The Times’s Tony Turnbull
“It’s a spectacular room, walls the palest duck-egg blue, sunlight bouncing off gold-framed mirrors and massive chandeliers, and lots of velvet banquettes. I love a banquette. They add a touch of fin-de-siècle loucheness, especially when, as here, they are arranged throughout the room and not just pressed up against the walls like in a dentist’s waiting room. And in André Garrett, the room and the hotel have found a chef worthy of the space, as over the next two hours we enjoyed as faultless a lunch as you could wish for. Forget that Profumo business: the real scandal here is that Cliveden hasn’t won a Michelin star.
“We started with a girolle mushroom soup, rich and bosky and full of the forest floor; Loch Duart salmon, which was as pretty as a picture and fresh and sweet with fennel, avocado and orange; and a glorious ox tongue and foie gras salad, the tongue sliced so thinly you could savour all its gamey richness without the gag reflex you sometimes get when you place another animal’s tongue on your own. There was a mackerel salad as well, lozenges of lime-cured fish buried amid heritage tomatoes and gooseberry purée, but I’m not sure the sardine dressing wasn’t a piscine element too far.
“For mains, thick, sweet fillets of Cornish plaice with seafood bisque and pomme purée like liquid gold won out over sea trout with broad beans, peas and seaweed, but the chateaubriand was the star of the show. Sunday roast is always a tricky thing to pull off at this level. There’s the logistical problem that roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings can’t be cooked to order but equally don’t like to hang around, and then also the unspoken competition with every diner’s memories of childhood lunches at home. All I can say is if your childhood included roast beef like this, you were very lucky indeed.”