Harden's survey result
With its gold-leaf decoration, the stylish dining room of this grand country house hotel and spa provides a traditionally luxurious backdrop to a meal. But ratings have come off the boil a little with personnel changes. Mehdi Amiri – in post since mid-2017 – sometimes gave reporters the impression that “the sheer confidence and assurance typically found here was lacking”. He himself then moved on after our survey in summer 2019. We have maintained last year’s survey scores on the bet that further changes are more likely to be positive than negative, but further upheavals may be afoot.
With its gold-leaf decoration, the stylish dining room of this grand country house hotel and spa provides a traditionally luxurious backdrop to a meal. But ratings have come off the boil a little with personnel changes. Mehdi Amiri – in post since mid-2017 – sometimes gave reporters the impression that “the sheer confidence and assurance typically found here was lacking”. He himself then moved on after our survey in summer 2019. We have maintained this year’s survey scores on the bet that further changes are more likely to be positive than negative, but further upheavals may be afoot.
“A lovely, spacious dining room in a lovely hotel” – a spectacular country pile, which added an £8m country club and spa in June 2018, and is just the spot for “old-fashioned luxury” – “proper fine food with polite but not subservient service”. New chef (since mid 2017) Mehdi Amiri has maintained the “exceptional” standards; only quibble: dainty portion sizes means one or two “leave hungry”. (There’s also a new dining option here at the club: The Terrace).
Real raves for the “magnificent” dining room and “outstanding” staff of this grand country house hotel, and Stephen Bulmer’s “exceptionally good value” tasting menu, which provides some “wonderful” flavours. (In the adjoining lounges “the best afternoon tea” is another reason to visit, and can be rounded off with “beautiful walks in the grounds”).
For 30 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).
Have you eaten at Samuel’s, Swinton Park Hotel & Spa?
Samuel’s Restaurant was built by Samuel Cunliffe-Lister in 1880 as part of major works that were carried out at Swinton Park when he bought the estate on retirement. You will see portraits of him on the walls, along with one of his children above the fireplace.
A spacious and airy room, with sweeping views over the gardens and Home Lake, the most distinctive features in Samuel's are the ornate gold leaf ceiling and enormous mantlepiece.
The restaurant menus, created by Executive Chef Simon Crannage and head chef Chris McPhee, emphasise seasonal and local produce inspired by the fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in the hotel’s four acre walled garden (the largest hotel kitchen garden in the UK), and the menus change accordingly. The hotel is also surrounded by a 20,000 acre estate stretching from the River Ure in Wensleydale up onto the moorland Dales and estate venison, rabbit, smoked trout and game are a few examples of the local ingredients sourced from it.
We strongly recommend that guests reserve tables in advance as occasionally the hotel may be fully booked with a private event.
A smart dress code applies when dining in Samuel’s Restaurant, although this is relaxed a little at weekend lunchtimes to accommodate those wanting to take a walk before or after lunch. We ask that guests do not wear shorts, t-shirts or beachwear/shoes in Samuel’s, nor jeans and trainers in the evening.
|Wine per bottle||£25.00|
Simon Crannage, Executive Chef moved back to Yorkshire in 2007 after 20 years working up and down the UK with some of the country's brightest chefs. Simon's passion is game, which makes him the perfect choice of Chef at Swinton Park where he can source all his ingredients locally.
His style is Modern British Cuisine which includes a wide range of modern techniques and classical flavour pairing. The menu for Samuel's is seasonal, his inspiration coming from the fruits, vegetables and herbs that are grown in the hotel's four acre walled garden.
Some of his career highlights include scoring 8/10 in the Times, Giles Coren, Design of Food with cider for Bulmers Orchard Reserve, retaining three AA Rosettes throughout his tenure at Samuel's, Swinton Park, and launching his own 'Chef's Table' brand of stocks and sauces which are available to buy in the hotel. The hotel recently also won the 2016 Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Award.
Swinton Park, Masham, HG4 4JH
|Wednesday||11 am‑9:30 pm|
|Thursday||11 am‑9:30 pm|
|Friday||11 am‑9:30 pm|
|Saturday||11 am‑9:30 pm|
|Sunday||11 am‑9:30 pm|