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Food Review: A (dining) room with a view
The Compleat Angler is one of those rare venues that is instantly recognised at the mere utterance of its name.
Its position by Marlow Bridge on the River Thames, and the fact it has been a well-known haunt of celebrities and royals over the years, has thrust this hotel into the spotlight.
Indeed, we had been to the Compleat Angler for a fair few posh weddings and even my own birthday party, however we had never been for an evening meal.
Even turning up to the grand building makes you feel special as all the surroundings are immaculately presented, and the jaw-dropping views of the bridge and the church instantly provide the wow factor.
We were eating at fine-dining restaurant Bowaters, which boasts AA Rosettes. Despite our visits over the years, we didn't even realise this part of the venue existed. We were led to a dining room tucked away at the back of the building, overlooking the magnificent weir and picturesque church, and it had a distinct cosy feel as we sat by candlelight in the dark wood-clad room.
Unfortunately, due to the unpredictable English weather we were not able to sit on the outdoor terrace, but we didn't miss out as the wall to wall windows were able to show off the far-reaching views.
But what to eat?
Being a Jubilee year, my husband Ian chose the Eggs Drumkilbo, a favourite of the Royals, which consisted of lobster, crab and crayfish tails, with chopped boiled egg bound in tomato and crème fraiche and tarragon. Ian said this unusual dish combined the perfect array of delicate flavours, and due to its richness, the portion size was perfect.
I liked the sound of the pressed confit duck and foie gras, with rhubarb and ginger chutney, as I was intrigued by the contrasting tastes.
I wasn't disappointed. The meaty texture worked in harmony with the sweetness of the sauce, to provide the right balance.
On to the mains... Ian is a massive fan of beef - or indeed any meat - and therefore I had already predicted he would be salivating over the Fillet of 21 day aged Scottish beef glazed with mushrooms and béarnaise - with rosti potatoes, and roasted spring vegetables - phew - what a dish!
Ian was in heaven with this. He told me - between mouthfuls - how it melted in the mouth. It was almost a pity to spoil the display as it was perfectly arranged on the plate. The knife just glided through this round hunk of meat, which was well-complemented by the dressing.
When I dine out, I usually choose chicken, but on this occasion I was tempted by the sound of the roast rump of Highland lamb, with gratin potatoes, roasted peppers, courgettes and aubergine, garlic confit and rosemary jus.
The meat was just incredible - the knowledgeable (and very attentive) waiter told me the chef would usually cook this to 'medium' and I took the advice. It was a beautiful pinky colour, and was so easy to cut through. The taste was superb. Coincidentally, I also loved the potato, which was super-creamy with a rich texture.
We weren't sure we could eat anymore, however we were swayed by the dessert menu when we spotted what was on offer.
Ian isn’t generally into sweets (it has been known for me to polish off both our puds) but to my dismay, Ian finished every last bite of his hot dark chocolate fondant, with white chocolate ice cream. It had an intense chocolate hit and was the perfect end to the meal.
Originally, I had contemplated succumbing to my permanent diet and choosing that dish, but instead I decided at the last minute to opt for the ‘healthy’ option of layered English strawberries with whipped cream, and strawberry coulis - and I was hoping there was going to be a big portion!
I was not disappointed. A tower of the fruit, covered in cream and biscuit thins, worked in harmony to give a sugary hit. Had we not been in polite company I would have been tempted to lick the plate clean.
We finished with coffee and chocolates and we could barely move. A good sign.
A three course meal at Bowaters cost £39 per head. For further information contact 01628 405406.