I’d been eager to return to the Luton Hoo since my last visit (which you can read about here), when I was lucky enough to spend a night in a grand suite fit for a princess. A beautiful tranquil, luxurious but welcoming hotel, you feel like royalty from the moment you step inside – and sometimes, all you need is to be pampered – especially if it includes good food.
I recently found out that I got a 69.8% average in my second year at University, which as you can imagine, I was delighted about – as this term hasn’t been without its troubles health-wise and I generally found the work really tough. At home and eager to celebrate, my mum and I headed up to the Luton Hoo Hotel once again – for something of a day-time treat!
After making use of the gorgeous grounds (which look like you’ve just stepped off a movie set – with perfectly preened grass and flowerbeds) for a little photo shoot (you’ll be able to see these very soon), we headed to the hotel’s main restaurant – The Wernher – for a lunch to remember.
With tall ceilings, tapestries and the largest, sparkliest chandeliers that I’ve ever layed eyes upon, it certainly makes an impression as soon as you step inside. Then there’s the friendly waiters, who do their utmost to ensure you don’t even have to lift a finger and have the most fantastic time. The menus are brought over, walnut bread is delivered and water is poured. Although I’m not used to this kind of thing, it’s something you can easily slip into loving.
Having a dairy and egg intolerance can make dining out a little difficult – and in some ways, awkward. I hate being the one who has to make a million alterations to the perfectly thought out menus and the waiters tend to leave my table very flustered, huffing and puffing after the ordeal. However, after stating upon entry that I had these certain requirements, not another word was said – and anything I chose from the menu was made specially with non dairy and egg ingredients, even if the original dish contained them. I couldn’t help but feel that this was exactly how every dining out experience should be, stress free – and made to feel like it wasn’t a problem. A simple request, but one that really made the experience extra special for me.
Our first course was smoked salmon, something we both opted for – but was tailored to my requirements. My mum’s dish was accompanied with a gorgeous looking crayfish salad and caviar, while I had a plainer but equally as delicious blood orange sauce. I usually get a bit fed up with smoked salmon after the first few bites, especially if it’s really strong – but the Wernher version melted in the mouth, with no overbearingly smoky flavour – but a delicate woody touch which when teamed with the blood orange sauce, went down a treat.
Wines were paired with each dish depending on our choices, which we happily sipped in between courses.
After a gorgeous first course, our mains didn’t disappoint either. I had basil chicken with new potatoes, pea puree and savoy cabbage in an incredible red wine jus. My mum opted for the sea bream, with spring onion mash, vegetable and cream dumplings and samphire. We both devoured the dishes in silence, which is a rarity for us – usually, we never stop talking, even to take a breath – so it must have been an indication of how delicious they were.
In fine dining restaurants, it’s easy to assume that the portion sizes are going to be ridiculously small – with a focus on presentation rather than filling the guests up – however we both left feeling satisfied without that horrid bloated, sick feeling.
A bonus of this is of course, is that there’s still room for dessert…
My mum chose the most amazing looking Eton Mess – complete with tube meringues and mountains of whipped cream. I stuck to strawberry and blood orange sorbets, as unfortunately my intolerances pretty much rule out all desserts – however I didn’t feel left out, as they were delicious – and super sweet.
Although occasions like this are usually reserved for special celebrations, when we looked at the menu for an indication of prices, we were pleasantly surprised at how reasonable it was for such a beautiful lunch in a gorgeous setting. For £25, you can enjoy two courses within the restaurant between 12.30 and 2pm or three courses for £30. I doubt you’d find a chain restaurant who offered the same quality of dishes for less than that. Whether you’re celebrating something, or not, the Luton Hoo is a fabulous place for foodies, romantics and girly weekends alike. Keep an eye on my blog for more pictures of their beautiful grounds, I can’t wait to show you!