A pleasant drive down the A316 out of west London and a quick hop on the M3 leads you to Bagshot in Surrey and the beautiful surroundings of Pennyhill Park.
Home to the England national rugby team and now to 2007’s Michelin Rising Star Matt Worswick as he heads up the kitchen at The Latymer.
As you approach the luxurious hotel and spa from the road, you immediately get a sense of the grandeur and elegance that awaits you beyond the mazy entrance hall.
It adds to the mystery and the intrigue before you even set foot in the dining room as you prepare for a culinary treat in a stunning 19th Century building.
My wife, Sarah, and I were given a warm welcome on arrival and immediately offered an aperitif as we perused the 10-course tasting menu we would soon be enjoying
Snacks were presented in the form of pig’s trotter cromesquis and piccalilli gel, truffle parmesan cheese gougeres, smoked baba ganoush and cardamon yoghurt in savoury cornets.
It also provided the opportunity to taste one of the six wines we would be served to accompany the dishes, with a crisp Vinho Verde setting things of nicely as we were told the chef’s signature dish was on its way.
Worswick’s braised octopus, sesame, miso and coriander duly arrived and lived up to the hype. Delicately balanced and with the added texture of the sesame, it was a superb second course.
Onto salt-baked celeriac, remoulade and truffle ice cream. Having already been served truffle, which I tend to find a particularly powerful flavour, a second helping was perhaps a touch too much. A rare blip though on a fantastic menu.
Grilled red mullet, baby squid and a brown crab foam followed in a real treat for fish lovers. I am a huge fan of seafood and even Sarah, who is not normally so keen, enjoyed this dish.
Something a bit more experimental next. Heritage and San Marzano tomato, burrata and basil. The tomato had been cooked in liquid nitrogen, a preparation method which always excites the tastebuds.
Who doesn’t love lobster? I know I do. Course six saw us served butter poached lobster, peas, mint and a lobster bisque. We both agreed this was our favourite dish of the night, the mint providing such a fresh flavour.
Onto the main event. Hertfordshire beef fillet served with wild garlic pesto and braised snails. The meat was cooked to perfection and dish was beautifully plated, as had been the case throughout the evening.
Having navigated seven courses, we were both excited to try the trio of desserts dreamed up by Worswick. Starting with strawberry sorbet, elderflower granite and basil, it was an excellent palate cleanser and absolutely delicious.
Poached apricot, chamomile and vanilla followed soon after before we finished with a stunning chocolate delice, milk crumble and yoghurt sorbet to bring to an end our culinary experience at the Latymer.
Throughout the meal we had been looked after some of the most attentive and knowledgeable staff I have ever encountered. They really could not do enough for us and were happy to answer any questions we had and talk us through the menu.
As good as the food was, the staff were even better and I cannot speak highly enough of the service we received at the Latymer. For a special occasion or celebration, this Surrey venue is well worth the short trip out of the capital.
The Latymer is found at Pennyhill Park Hotel, London Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5EU, 01276 486150. Our 10-course tasting menu was priced at £100 per person. For more information visit www.pennyhillpark.co.uk