After a week in cities, it was lovely to escape to the country. We headed out of London into the Cotswolds to see some quinticentially English villages and visit a dear friend of mine, Floss and her darling girl Bess.
After catching a train through the verdant green fields, they picked us up and we headed to a small village along country lanes lined with drystone walls. First stop was a quaint little tea shop for refreshing drinks and some traditional morning tea items. We had between us a lardy cake, a bakewell tart, a chelsea bun and a toasted tea cake.
We wandered the streets looking in a gorgeous odds and ends shop and other delightful places before heading to a real village out of the picture books. There was a stream with ducks and swans (my comment of the day, white swans are just so weird looking they are black in my head) stone bridges, cute cottages that we are at least a foot too tall for.
After that we headed into Cirencester, Floss's home town. We had a wander, investigated the Roman ampitheatre out the back of her house (Cirencester was the second largest Roman city outside of London) and generally had a lovely time.
We were blessed with lovely weather and the day seemed to wrap far too fast.
But we had to head back into town for a very important reservation - we were having dinner at Dinner - Heston Blumenthal's London resturant. It is located in the Mandarin Oriental and even though we were early we were seated quite quickly.
Dinner is based on food from old cookbooks, rather than the molecular gastromy that he is known for at Fat Duck. The resturant itself looks a bit more bistro like than resturant like, but has a fantastic view of the kitchen through huge windows. You can see the whole team working away like crazy and things like whole pineapples roasting on spits.
The meal was delicious. We shared an entree of meat fruit. It looked stunning, exactly like a mandarin but tasted like the creamiest most delicate pate.
For main, S had rib eye with mushroom ketchup and I had powdered duck breast and we shared his triple cooked fries and buttered lettuce and peas. The steak was great and the mushroom ketchup fantastic. I'm not sure what was powdered about my duck, but it was deliciously tender.
We shared dessert too, a Quaking Pudding. It was a bit like a pannacotta but softer and more slippery, with poached pears and nutmeg caramel sauce. It was yummy but the nutmeg was a bit overpowering.
All in all, a delicious meal but in terms of restaurant experience, not in my top five.