Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“I couldn’t take any risks for my wife’s 50th birthday weekend... so I placed my trust in Raymond’s impeccable hotel and restaurant... result: perfection!” M Blanc’s “magnificent” converted Elizabethan manor boasts a “dream location” in a picture-book village south of Oxford and, “if you want to spoil someone with luxury”, an overnight stay here is “the ultimate ‘because-you’re-worth-it’ experience”. “Any visit must include a walk through the gardens”, which not not only cap off “the perfect setting”, but also help supply the restaurant and “would make any kitchen gardener green with envy”. “Special praise also goes to the service: that all-too-rare combination of humanity, wonderful politeness and efficiency” that “sets a standard others only aspire to”. Last but not least, when it comes to the cooking – “essentially French haute cuisine, but not so rich” – it is occasionally said to be a tad “safe”, but more commonly it is described as “exquisite, with supreme attention for detail” (and – unusually for such a high profile restaurant – provokes vanishingly few ‘contrarian’ negative reports). One unavoidable downside: “a visit is unfortunately hugely expensive”; but on most accounts “this is not just a meal, but a spa for the soul and the senses, generating a deep sense of well-being, and – viewed as such – is a good-value prescription!”
“One of the most beautiful places in the UK”; Raymond Blanc has created “a jewel-like experience” (especially for couples who stay over in one of its rooms), at this “immaculately kept” Elizabethan manor, in a small village south of Oxford – “an iconic destination” (and the survey’s most mentioned outside London). “From the moment you step out of the car”, the “staff’s welcome instantly makes you feel at ease”, and a visit to the gardens – including the large kitchen garden that partly supplies the dining room – is an essential part of the trip; “even in the icy cold of February they are a pleasure to wander around”, and “make one truly believe that fairy tales are indeed true!” For some reporters the atmosphere in the dining conservatory itself is exceeded by other elements of the experience, but quibbles in this respect are few. Meanwhile, if there’s a gripe about the “beautiful and typically French haute cuisine”, it’s that some find it “slightly lacking innovation” – but for the vast majority of guests its “finesse” and “awe-inspiring attention to detail” contribute to an overall occasion that’s “a benchmark for all things good in hospitality”. Naturally it’s best not to dwell on the prices, but the overwhelming verdict is that it’s “worth it!”
“A wander around the magnificent gardens” is the overture to a “blissful” all-round experience (especially if you are staying the night) at Légion d’Honneur winner, Raymond Blanc’s “immaculate” Elizabethan manor house, which has few rivals in the UK as the choice “for a very special occasion”. “Exquisite” modern French cuisine – with much produce from the grounds – is delivered by “sensitive” staff in a “light and airy” conservatory. On the downside “you need a second mortgage”, but most reporters feel “it’s an investment worth making”.
“Worth the 300 mile round trip!”; for “spectacular” food in a “stunning” setting, Raymond Blanc’s “impeccable” country house hotel and dining room offers “a sublime experience” that’s “worth pushing the boat out for”; “make sure you leave time to explore the gardens before dinner!”
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Beautiful and relaxed setting, great service which was top quality but non intrusive. The whole experience was relaxed yet still special. Food was beautiful and delicious, though didn't wow me any more than some meals I have had for half the price. Most courses flowed perfectly, but some long gaps between others. I loved the little extra touches and food treats and the ambiance especially."
"You need to be sitting down when you open the wine list. Matched prestige wines to accompany the 5 course tasting menu work out at £50 a glass! The staff are delightful, friendly and make you feel at home. Any visit must include a walk through the gardens. The food was, as expected, first class. If one were to be hyper critical, the risotto course, delicious as it was, was very filling, meaning my sister and I were unable to finish the following lamb course."
"The service and location is faultless, very impressive. The food was good to very good, but never really hit the heights."
"This is more than excellent, food is sublime & the service is wonderful. Great hospitality & linen on tables.Good quality ingredients , dishes lovingly & superbly prepared. Dishes are based on French haute cuisine. Everything is very professional with a friendly atmosphere."
"Tried the 5 course tasting menu. Excellent but not startling, about as good as the champignon au sauvage but a bit more expensive. The service and ambiance was perhaps more grand. At £140 a head with a glass of wine makes it a once a year venue."
Church Road, Great Milton, OX44 7PD
lunch noon - 2.30 pm, dinner 7 pm - 10 pm
Last orders: 9.30 pm