Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire - Raymond Blanc
This really is a special experience and should be on everyone's 'Bucket List!' Arriving at Victoria Station at 8.30am to catch the British Pullman Express, sister train to the Orient Express. Steeped in history and lost in time, this beautiful, luxurious train has been carefully restored to its original splendour of the 1920's and 1930's. The vintage carriages have transported dignitary and royalty across the world. And now twice a year it transports its lucky travellers to Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire.
Once aboard you are given a perfectly cooked breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, accompanied with croissants and breakfast muffins. Teas and coffees and Champagne Mimosa's get the morning off to a wonderful start.
Reaching our destination in Oxford, for lunch at Le Manoir, the 150 travellers arrive at Oxford and are coach driven to the Manor House.
The lunch menu was as follows:
Salade de crabe, noix de coco et citron vert
Salad of Devonshire crab, cocnut, lime and chilli
terrine de betteraves, sorbet au raifort
Terrine of garden beetroot, horseradish sorbet
confit de cabillaud, poivron rouge,
chorizo et poulpes
Confit of cornish salt cod, smoked red pepper,
chorizo and octopus
agneau gallois, asperges, Jersey Royals,
petit-pois, HARICOTS verts
Welsh spring lamb, asparagus,
Jersey Royals, peas and beans
cafÉ Pur Arabica, petits fours et chocolats du Manoir
Monsieur Blanc, Gary Jones, benoit blin
et leur Équipe vous souhaitent
We swapped a few of the dishes and the crab salad was replaced by a lovely crunch green salad. And the Cornish Salt Cod was changed for a most delicious Spring Risotto, which was the best risotto we have ever had. The Beetroot was sublime.
Along with the wine pairing, the table got off to a riotous start.
As we had manage to choose one of the hottest days of the year coffee and petits fours were served in the garden.
We had plenty of time to wander round the extensive estate, and take in the marvels of the perfectly cultivated Japanese Garden, and the large 100% organic vegetable and herb gardens, where our lunch vegetables were grown.
Sad to leave Le Manoir, we boarded the train again. And were served a wonderful selection of cheese and crackers, with a sweet Port. Followed by 3 different mini desserts and a very fine dessert wine from South Africa.
A truly wonderful day that will stay in our memories forever.
Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons
Church Rd, Great Milton, Oxford OX44 7PD
Tel: 01844 278881