Great hotel, but the star of the show is the chef Paul Evans. You will surely hear much more of him in the future. Paul was brought in to lift the cuisine to the peak of the Eden Hotel Collection’s trophy hotel; Mallory Court, nearby Leamington Spa. Our dinner was outstanding, it was both innovative but without gimmicks and very accomplished with balances of flavours working in harmony. In talking with Paul, he said there is even more to come as he settles into his relatively new role suggesting a return visit next year, if not sooner as his team in the kitchen is still evolving their skills.
The Eden Hotel Collection has spent lavishly to create an hotel that can offer a wide range of facilities to serve the needs of both the leisure and corporate markets. The latter is largely accommodated in a new separate building leaving the more relaxed Lutyens style manor house and the new spa in Orchard House for sheer enjoyment. The twenty rooms in the manor house include two large master suites, all rooms and suites are individually furnished and have comprehensive facilities. Whilst they are all up-to-date, you are still aware that you are in a characterful manor house.
Orchard House follows a traditional style outside to complement the Manor house but inside they have chosen a refreshing, modern style in both the eleven bedrooms and spa facilities. A considerate and novel touch was the complimentary bottle of homemade fresh fruit cordial. The style options gives you the best of both worlds; a modern café style for refreshments. The café menu follows a health conscious theme. It is a good place to have breakfast as well if you do not want the more classic surroundings in the Manor house. Whatever the time, it is a good place to relax; the windows lead the eye on to both the gardens and inviting indoor pool and there is a wonderful outdoor hot-tub.
A great deal of money and thought has gone into the Spa and gym housed in the very new ‘Edwardian’ inspired annex with spectacular flower beds outside the entrance. However, I assume that they had considered that both the café and the reception room to be the places in which to relax after a massage. Whilst the café is very relaxing, it does not have the intimacy of a dedicated relaxation room. Most new projects need tweeking and as the management is on the ball I expect plans are already afoot to remedy the issue.
But more of Paul’s accomplished food. We knew we were in for a spectacular treat when the canapés arrived to accompany our delicious glass of house champagne. There was a selection of both hot and cold canapes before we started our Tasting Menu. Our amuse bouche was a chilled cucumber essence, with homemade ricotta, pickled apple and dill. It was not only refreshing it had a depth and wonderful clean definition. The whole meal was bursting with fresh and contemporary flavours partnered by excellent wine served by the delightful Marcellin and Florentina.
With such flair, it can only be a question of a very short time before Paul and his team regain the much desired Michelin star that will be the icing on the cake for Mallory Court. Our dinner was certainly one of the most outstanding we have eaten, a fabulous experience in beautiful relaxed surroundings.
For us in the home counties, the image of the Midlands has not really shaken off its heavy industries profile of yesteryear but the reality is very different. It comprises rolling, unspoilt countryside with mature hedgerow trees around small fields and woodland with small villages dotted around. Industry and commerce is still certainly here in abundance but it seems well contained; we stumbled upon both Jaguar and Aston Martin works when a couple of minutes or so earlier we were in a country lane. There are plenty of new houses being built but again, they seem contained in their location rather than just a sprawling random choice of sites. The wealth created in earlier times is reflected in numerous National Trust houses of great diversity.
There has never been a better time to enjoy the summer in sun drenched Britain, staying and eating at Mallory Court will make the summer even more memorable for all the right reasons.