Fine Food With Perfectly Paired Wines at Relais’ New Dining Experience

Food and wine lovers were treated to a gourmet six-course tasting menu with paired wines at The Relais hotel on Friday evening.

The evening started in the beautiful Palm Court with an Oyster Bar and a glass of Pommery Brut Royal NV champagne.  Guests could choose from oysters with lemon juice or balsamic and shallot vinaigrette dressing.

Guests were then invited into The Clipper Restaurant and were welcomed by The Relais Co-owner Grace Leo. Grace then introduced Charmain Madrell from LWC Drinks who supply the wine to the hotel.  Charmain said, “Thank you to Chef Andreas for producing this fantastic menu.  For me it was a delight to pair but it was also the most difficult as there were so many choices that we could bring tonight.  When there’s great food, there’s great wine, when there’s great wine, there’s good friends.  This is the first event but I hope that we can do this again soon.”

Before each course Charmain introduced the wines, giving background and family history to the vineyards, how the wines are produced, and the notes and flavours the guests should enjoy when drinking each wine.

The first course was a beautifully presented Poached Native Lobster which was on a bed of Devon crab and avocado and was topped with a wasabi crème sauce and nasturtium leaves.  The dish was intricately finished and the flavour combination was perfect – the wasabi sauce complementing rather than dominating.  This course was served with a rich and smoky Domaine Dupre Chablis which had apple and pear notes.

The next course was a perfectly slow cooked duck egg accompanied by small coated duck confit bonbons, fresh asparagus and hazelnuts, which topped off the texture to this exceptional dish.  An unusual white Gruner Veltiner from Austria was this course’s wine, which as Charmain said is “rising in popularity”. You can see why as it was our favourite white of the evening.

The main course was a tender and perfectly cooked Fillet of Hereford Beef which was accompanied with braised morels, smoked bone marrow and red wine sauce. A rich 2018 Margaux, Chateau Paveil de Luze Bordeux, brought out the rich flavours in the beef.

The dessert was a sublime English Rhubarb dish with a honey cremoux and a pistachio parfait that gave an explosion of sweet flavours in the mouth. This was complemented by a sweet Sauternes, Chateau Le Juge Les Mingets.

The meal finished with an unusual cheese course of Oxford Blue served with a walnut cake loaf and spiced mango sauce which for some might have been too spicy hot. This was served with an unusual sweet wine, Boschenal Vin D’or Stellenbosch from South Africa. The meal finished off with tea, coffee and chocolate truffles.

The attentive service and lovely surroundings made it a very convivial evening for all.

The cost for the experience was £140 per person.  The Relais plan to do another evening in 3 months time.  We certainly would recommend going.


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