A regatta is the last thing I would have expected to attend on a Friday afternoon out of the office; in fact I did not even know what a regatta was until I was invited to an intimate lunch that promised to be much more, shall we say, relaxed than many other enclosures along the riverbanks.

Roaming restaurant specialists, Chateau Marmot, hosted a very intimate event at the Henley Royal Regatta, with a much smaller number of people than would be found at the usual spots along the boat race route, where men wear bright trousers and garish striped blazers and women mustn’t wear anything at all above the knee.

Henley-born Theo Cooper, who runs Chateau Marmot, assured me that their accessible approach to dining meant nobody would be turned away, even if they arrived in jeans and trainers, I took the opportunity to buy a new dress and wear a pair of wedges that have been sitting pretty and patiently on my shelves for far too long.

Upon arrival my partner and I were offered a Grey Goose fizz cocktail on arrival, which was light to the taste despite its evident strength.

The first course has to be the most refreshing dish I have ever tasted. ‘Gabriel Machin’ line caught cod, apple and cucumber water, fennel, avocado, buckthorn oil and rice crisp.

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Each item complemented the other, whatever the combination, and despite quite a long list of ingredients it was only small and the perfect starter to cleanse the palate and prepare for the courses to come.

It was served with Chateau Marmot Regatta Reserve Rose Champagne from France, which was equally light and crisp to taste.

Next came ‘Bosley Patch’ heritage beetroot, ricotta, black cardamom honey, radish and hazelnuts. This followed perfectly from the previously delicate dish. The different aspects were all rich in flavour with a beautiful balance in texture, from the creamy ricotta to the bite of the nuts and velvety, earthy softness of the three different types of beetroot.

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This was served with a Delaire Graff Banghoek Reserve Chardonnay from South Africa that was not as sweet as you would expect from a country with a hot climate, a good thing as a sweet wine would have overpowered the richness of the ricotta.

The third was a warmly awaited hot dish, ‘Frank Godfrey’ rare breed pork fillet, herbed British millet, salted gooseberry, puffed crackling and mustard greens. I am not a very big fan of pork so was not particularly looking forward to this.

Considering the standard of the first two, I should have known better than to be wary. The pork was soft and succulent with the accompaniments giving strong extra flavours.

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My partner, a vegetarian, had a similar dish except with butternut squash and asparagus. Both perfectly cooked and a little al dente. This was served, to my surprise, with a red wine: Heinrich Blaufrankisch of Australia. It was another wonderful pairing and the generous depth of the red added to the warmth and flavours of the food.

Finally the sweet, a coconut and lime cake mousse, bitter caramel, pandan cake and grains of paradise crisp. It also came adorned with the sweetest strawberries I have had this summer, edible flowers which are a fancy favourite of mine and desiccated coconut.

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The pandan cake had a lovely flavour but the texture was not for me, a little too chewy. I far preferred the mousse that melted on the tongue.

It was served with a delicately sweet GD Vajra Moscato from Italy, a wonderful end to an intriguing tasting menu which was made up of ingredients sourced locally.

After the lunch I was a little unsure of what to do with myself, partly due to the enclosure not actually being alongside the racing and partly due to the fact a regatta is rather alien to me.

We were surrounded by grass and deckchairs and so ordered a bottle of wine, made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed each other’s company.

Chateau Marmot cater for large and small, private and corporate events as well as creating pop up boutique dining experiences. Details: eat@chateaumarmot.co.uk

By Mattie Lacey-Davidson