Thursday, 18 June 2015

Food & Drink: Jazz Sunday Lunch at Pennyhill Park Hotel, Surrey

Photograph courtesy of www.getsurrey.co.uk
My husband and I both have birthdays in September and for a joint present last year, my husband's Grandmother gave us a gift voucher for a Jazz Sunday Lunch at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot, Surrey.
 
Pennyhill Park is part of the Exclusive Group of country hotels ran by the Pecorelli family. The hotel's website describes the venue as:
 
"Within 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland lies a luxury country house hotel accompanied by the UK’s Most Excellent Spa.
 
Wonderfully located between Ascot, Sunningdale and Wentworth and only 45 minutes from the centre of London, our spa hotel in Surrey offers everything from tennis and unmatchable five-star spa breaks to its own golf course, superb dining and impeccable service."
 
Living in the local area, I have always been aware that people visit Pennyhill Park mainly for the impressive spa facilities or for the dining experience, as it is home to both The Latymer restaurant (owner of two Michelin stars) and a restaurant/brasserie.

The driveway leading away from the hotel


My first thought, when entering through the gates and proceeding up the long driveway towards the hotel, is how beautiful the driveway was, flanked by glorious flowering rhododendron bushes to either side. 
 
Photograph courtesy of www.mutualattraction.co.uk


The hotel is apparently situated in 120 acres of woodland and I would have liked to take a walk after our lunch, however my husband was keen to get home so we decided to forsake a walk on this occasion.
 
Photograph from www.luxuriousmagazine.com

Photograph courtesy of www.booking.com

I understand that the hotel itself is a Victorian building with some more modern additions. I thought it was quite grand inside, in immaculate condition and bustling with people checking in/out, wedding guests and people visiting for Sunday lunch or Afternoon Tea.
 

Corridor

Lounge in reception area
Landing outside the bar
Bar
 
We walked through the lovely, spacious bar area to the Brasserie where we were quickly seated at a table for 2 by the window, overlooking an outdoor pool area. I was surprised at how how many people were lying around the outdoor pool. It is obviously a very popular place!



The other diners in the restaurant were, for the most part, slightly older than ourselves (we're in our early 30's and I would estimate the average age of the other diners to be 65+), however that did not matter to us. The Jubilee Jazz trio were playing discretely in the corner and there a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere.
 
The restaurant/brasserie
 
We were brought some sparkling water (£4 per bottle) and a bottle of the Chenin Blanc (£24.50 per bottle and my absolute favourite type of white wine) by a very friendly waitress, before heading off to the buffet to choose our starters.
 
At the buffet, there is one long counter which begins at each end with the starters, leading to the desserts and finally meeting in the middle at the carvery section.
 
The starters contained a wide selection of seafood and salads, including king prawn and mussel platter, greek salad, ceaser salad, smoked salmon, couscous salad, orzo pasta salad, a charcuterie platter, soup of the day, tomatoes etc... I loaded my plate up and found these starter dishes to be so tasty that I was worried I would not be able to fit in my main course!
 
The main course was a choice of beef, lamb, pork or salmon from the carvery stand, accompanied by roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, cauliflower cheese, cabbage, polenta, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. I must admit that I am not a big fan of roast dinners as I tend to find them a bit too heavy and stodgy, however the food was delicious! The roast potatoes were incredibly crispy and I absolutely loved the polenta, so much so that I will be trying out a recipe myself soon.
 
Finally, on to dessert, where there was a choice of artistic cold desserts or hot crumble and sticky toffee pudding. I chose a pistachio, raspberry and dark chocolate cold dessert which was a work of art to look at and which, I thought, tasted delicious. My husband, having a sweet tooth, had two of the cold desserts, however he wasn't overly impressed by them. His verdict was that they looked great but just tasted ok. However, they are not the sort of dessert he would usually pick and I was surprised that he did not choose the sticky toffee pudding, which is much more his usual style.
 
My delicious pistachio and raspberry dessert

My husband's choice of dessert (#2)
 
The service at Pennyhill Park was impeccable. The staff were friendly and respectful, we did not feel in any way rushed to finish our meal and leave. I also liked that the waiting staff would attend the table to top up our wine and water.
 
I understand that the Jazz Sunday Lunch costs £37 per person and £17.50 for under 12's, plus we spent extra on the wine and water (which we had a £20 gift voucher to use towards). Overall, I think we spent the equivalent of approximately £102 on lunch for 2 people. It was a lovely experience, however, at that price, it is not something we would do every weekend!
 
We did not get chance to visit the spa facilities during our visit, however I hope to do so one day. I understand that there are 8 (!!!) indoor and outdoor pools to choose from, plus a number of hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms, along with a wide variety of treatments on offer.
 
Of further note, the England Rugby team have their training base at Pennyhill Park, in a separate building to the left as you drive along the path towards the hotel (although I did not run into any of the team during my visit!).
 
My conclusions - dinner was delicious and I would welcome the chance to come here again for a meal or for Afternoon Tea. I am also very keen to try out the fantastic sounding spa facilities - although, bearing in mind the prices, this will likely be either for a special occasion or when I find a special offer with a price that I can justify spending on myself!


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