Friday, 21 February 2014

The Walmesley at Audley Inglewood, Kintbury

I remember hearing a while ago on the grape vine that Audley Inglewood would have a restaurant as part of the retirement complex so it was great when I was invited to try their new restaurant The Walmesley. They sent me a sneaky peak of their tasting menu and were more than happy to amend their plans to eliminate any fish and shellfish and I couldn't wait to try it.
As you drive up to the building it's very impressive and welcoming and it's rather luxurious throughout the bar, restaurant and everywhere else we saw. I like that the restaurant is laid out in such a way that it feels busy but you can't hear anyone else's conversation and that a two person table is large enough to fit everything on comfortably without fear of dunking your elbow in your dinner.
I was very surprised at the wine list; the wines started at around £16 a bottle and there was a good selection over varied prices. Considering this is a fine dining restaurant the wines are much more varied and reasonable than some of the pubs around here.
We started with bread with butter and oil and vinegar (I like having both, I don't have to choose then!). The amuse bouche was a pumpkin espuma with toasted pine nuts and celery salt; a bright and light way to start the meal.
The starter was seared foie gras with roasted apricot and candied hazelnuts. The apricot was nice and sour which cut through the foie gras really well and the little pie at the top was sort of a pulled pork pastry thing and it was heavenly. We then had artichoke risotto with Jerusalem artichoke and crispy shallot rings. This was so good I could have eaten it a hundred times over. I would estimate it was about 50% Parmesan but that's why it was so good; the shallot rings added some freshness and crispness to the dish.
The main was pan fried pork fillet, slow cooked belly, crispy black pudding with pear, curly kale and pork jus. I loved that the pork was still pink, it was full of flavour and really juicy. The pear was fresh and as someone who doesn't normally like meat and fruit together I thought it worked really nicely. The crispy black pudding was (tucked round the back of the picture) a ball of black pudding coated in breadcrumbs and added a great earthy flavour and texture.
We were doing pretty well up until this point but thought it would be very sensible to have a break before moving on to dessert. The pre-dessert (a great kind of dessert) was deconstructed passion fruit tart. It looked so good it was a shame to eat it but needs must! Beautiful soft meringue, passion fruit tart filling (on the left of the picture above), crumbled pastry and really sharp lime granita; I really enjoyed this.
Dessert (or actual pudding as I like to call it) was vanilla parfait with poached rhubarb and sweet pickled ginger. It's not the pudding that I would have chosen but I did like it. I'm not a fan of ginger so picked out the ginger embedded in the parfait but it was a pretty and light way to round off the meal. The meal was further rounded off with petit fours; warm from the oven mini sponges, mango jelly and chocolate and pistachio cake.
I immensely enjoyed this meal. I liked the location, the restaurant and the food; the staff were attentive without being overbearing. We had a really lovely, memorable evening. Gert, the head chef, came out to talk to us about the menu and he was really passionate about trying to use local produce and I'm looking forward to seeing what else he creates. The seven course meal that we had is available at weekends for £55 per person. 
Thank you to The Walmesley for the meal. All opinions expressed are my own.

10 comments:

  1. Well, I bet you were absolutely full up after all that lot! It sounds amazing. It's nice to hear that the staff were good too, because I often think many restaurants are let down by poor and badly-trained staff.

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  2. It all looks & sounds wonderful!

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  3. Looks delicious indeed. Especially the dessert. It's my favorite.

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  4. What a superb place with superb dishes. And the desserts are perfect as a sweet note to end the meal.

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  5. Sounds absolutely delicious. Looks like an excellent place to try when we are in the area.

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  6. This place seems exquisite, a wonderful review :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  7. Glad you enjoyed your evening. Thank you for the great review. I hope to see you again here soon.

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  8. Sounds like a great place! A pet peeve of mine is when the tables for two aren't really even large enough for one! Good post -- thanks.

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  9. Yuuum. I love it when the courses just keep coming. Degustations are my favourite :)

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  10. Wow what a great meal! Each course sounds more delicious than the next!

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