PART 2: PENNYHILL PARK HOTEL, SURREY
A couple of months after Cowley we took the opportunity of a bank holiday to visit Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Surrey, about an hour outside of London. Home to the English Rugby training grounds and regularly commended in the ‘Good Spa Guide’, we thought we’d add it to our list of places we’d visited.
As our readers should know by now Elldrew are great fans of weekend breaks, especially to the English countryside. Planning a leisurely drive away from the city for a few days is the perfect way to recharge one’s batteries; no crowded airports with long check-ins queues, 4 hours of your life lost on a 45 min flight to go only a few hundred miles away. Why not hit the road, setting the pace and schedule on your terms and take in the ever-changing view from the comfort of your own pilot seat! Despite not being half way through 2015 Elldrew have been lucky enough to take advantage of three mini getaways…so here’s what we have been up to.
PART 1: COWLEY MANOR, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
The great British public has a reputation of forming orderly lines with no notice, but sometimes the clue is in the queue. On a recent drive to the Cotswolds we stumbled across The Telegraph’s online ‘insiders guide’ to the best places to eat in the area; from typical pub grub to fine dining restaurants. As we were staying near Cheltenham we searched a 30 min radius drive from our hotel so that we could stop for lunch before the usual 3pm check-in time.
We’d heard Cheltenham was a nice place to visit (we guessed it must have something to offer other than the famous steeplechase horse racing as it has the fourth-highest rate of multi-millionaires in the UK living there) but after looking through the restaurant list we weren’t overwhelmed…the closest venue we liked was Jamie’s Italian…so we decided to continue our search. We decided on the quaint village of Cirencester and deli-café-bistro ‘Made by Bob’.
This guaranteed quick and easy Soy and Honey Chicken recipe, by MasterChef’s Monica Galetti, is delicious and a treat for the entire family. We serve the chicken with rice and bok choi, or simply slice the cooked chicken and add it to a noodle and vegetable stir fry.
For a more caramelised – stick-to-your-teeth – sensation, cook the chicken until it’s well done, it’s the best! The cooking process, inspired by her mother, has never let us down.
450g/1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 tsp clear honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sweet paprika powder (for a subtle smokey flavour)
- In a bowl, mix together the honey and soy (and paprika). Add the chicken thighs and completely coat in the marinade
- Place the coated chicken thighs into a cold, deep, heavy-based saucepan. Place the plan onto a medium heat on the hob and cook uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and the honey and soy coating has thickened to a glossy glaze (should take about 20-30 mins). We turn the chicken every 10 mins or so until it’s caramelised
NB: It’s important to start cooking the chicken in a cold pan so the chicken stews as it cooks. If the pan is hot, the honey and soy sauce will caramelise before the meat is cooked through.
Empty Chairs at Empty tables: Part 1
Alas, not a review of Les Miserables nor the song from the show, instead a review of two recent dining experiences at two rather lovely restaurants, but sadly, both were somewhat deserted hence the title of our latest two-part blog.
Our first review focuses on NW3 Bar & Kitchen.
The new Mondrian London hotel opened earlier this year to much fanfare and Elldrew were particularly excited to take a peep inside (we knew the building from when it was offices of an old client) so what better excuse than a pre-Christmas dinner in it’s main restaurant ‘Sea Containers’.
Sea Containers has been aptly named after the building that houses the hotel (Sea Containers House) and is award-winning New York chef and restaurateur Seamus Mullen’s first European restaurant. To be honest we had no idea who Seamus Mullen was beyond what we’d read in the papers, but we were nevertheless excited to try his “farm to table” dining concept.