Country house charm, Oak Room Restaurant at Tylney Hall

Claire Pitcher visited the Oak Room Restaurant at Tylney Hall in Rotherwick for a very traditional fine dining experience

As you wind your way up the sweeping driveway to Tylney Hall and the building eventually comes in to view, you suddenly realise why there’s a dress code to dine at this lavish four-star hotel on Friday and Saturday evenings.Upon entering the grand reception we were welcomed with a smile and escorted through to the lounge for pre-dinner drinks and perusal of the menu. ‘Opulent’ would be the best way to describe the interiors at Tylney Hall: heavy curtains, intricate coving and ceiling roses, grand fireplaces and, in the lounge, a mixture of throne-like chairs and comfy sofas.Tasty hot and cold canap�s were served by a very attentive waiter (who kindly suggested what was a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail for me) and we took our time glancing through both the Table d’Hote (�27.50 per person for two courses on weekdays only, �37.50 per person for three courses) and A La Carte menu (�46.50 per person for three courses). We settled on the Table d’ Hote, which is better value but offers less choice in terms of dishes and it wasn’t long before that attentive waiter returned to take our order and we were ushered to our table in the Oak Room Restaurant.

The ambienceAs we took our seats by the window I longed for us to be the lucky couple who would be next to the cosy, warm fire – the ultimate romantic accompaniment to the candlelight and pianist.From a choice of three starters we had both opted for the roast butternut squash soup. Ladled in to our bowls at the table I was glad I would be able to control the quantity – I was looking forward to my rack of lamb (the ‘roast joint of the evening’) and didn’t want to quash my appetite with my starter. The soup was deliciously sweet, just the thing to warm us through on such a chilly evening.Next to be bought to the table was the carving trolley bearing my roast rack of lamb, with aubergine puree and rosemary juice. You can’t really go wrong with lamb and although there was only a small amount of meat, what there was, had been cooked until perfectly pink and the traditional rosemary accompaniment made the dish all the more delightful. My partner had made a choice to put him out of his comfort zone; not normally a big fan of duck, he had decided that if it was to be served well anywhere, it would be in just such a restaurant. This particular duck had been pan fried and came with red cabbage roulade, young leaf spinach and gingerbread sauce. As he cleared his plate he passively commented that he wouldn’t be averse to sampling duck breast again (at last I can finally stop trying to convert him).On to dessert – and we chose the frozen banana glace with walnut nougat and chocolate sauce and the chocolate toffee crunch cake with bourbon vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, both were scrumptious – desserts have always lived up to expectations at Tylney Hall.Coffees aren’t included in the price of the Table d’ Hote menu, so we decided to finish off our bottle of Pulpit Rock Pinotage (�26.50) in the lounge – the perfect place to reflect on a very pleasant evening.

Book your tableTylney Hall, Rotherwick, HookSat Nav RG27 9AZTel. 01256 764881

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