The Mulberry restaurant at Langshott Manor, Horley, Surrey RH6 9LN - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 18:07 01 May 2012 | UPDATED: 09:44 16 July 2014
Steeped in history, Langshott Manor is found just a stone's throw from Gatwick Airport and yet, somehow, also in peaceful seclusion. Matthew Williams paid a visit to enjoy some fine dining at their recently refurbished Mulberry restaurant...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2012
Reviewed: Mulberry Restaurant, Langshott Manor, near Gatwick, Horley, Surrey RH6 9LN: 01293 786680
What we ate:
À la carte: Three courses for £45
Pressing of rabbit with pineapple and macadamia nuts
Braised cheek & belly of White Sussex Pork with forced rhubarb and chicory
Roasted breast of guineafowl – braised leg, ballotine, potato gnocchi, wild mushrooms
Loin of venison topped with a thyme and cognac mousalline with calvo nero, swede and beetroot
Dark chocolate and pistachio torte, sorbet and jelly
Crème brûlée with homemade shortbread on the side
Artisan cheeses with apple chutney and pickled walnut bread, £10
Coffee and petit fours, £4.50
Marques de Caceres, Rioja Crianza, 2007, £33
REVIEW: Arriving at Langshott Manor on a chilly Monday evening felt like something from an Agatha Christie murder mystery. The lights were on, the door was slightly ajar, but as we entered in through the front of the hotel things were eerily quiet, bar the humming of an unanswered phone upstairs.
A grand old 16th century building that has counted a Governor of the Bank of England among its owners, Langshott Manor is surprisingly serene considering its proximity to Gatwick – you feel like you’ve got lost in the middle of nowhere, yet are actually a ten-minute drive from a thriving international travel hub.
Just as we were wondering whether we had arrived on the right night, or whether we’d find a motley collection of strangers by the fire in the living room, a smiling face approached from the direction of the restaurant and our waiter, a Hungarian named Geza with years of cruise ship experience, invited us for aperitifs.
Passing a series of relaxed lounges, we were led to the newly refurbished Mulberry restaurant and in turn to a table overlooking the glorious gardens, where we later enjoyed watching a fox prowl around the moat. Tables are well-spaced and the new décor brings a modern, unfussy touch to take the historic setting into the 21st century.
Offered the seven-course tasting menu, which is available with pairing wines for each dish, we instead decided to mix and match from their à la carte menu (there is also a vegetarian menu on offer).
Service took a little time to warm up but was soon up to speed, and with a bottle of Rioja ordered, we received a butternut squash amuse-bouche of soup and jelly – a mouthwatering beginning.
For the starters, my fiancée Sylviane opted for the pressing of rabbit with pineapple and macadamia nuts, while I went for braised cheek and belly of white Sussex pork with forced rhubarb and chicory. They arrived along with homemade breads (my favourite was a pepper and parmesan offering – I could have eaten the loaf, if I’m honest).
Service with a flourish
My own dish was presented with a flourish, with sauce poured on arrival, and though I had been a little wary of the thought of rhubarb, I was quickly won over. The pork itself was succulent and was well-complemented by the fruitier flavours. Sylviane was similarly taken with the pineapple that sat atop her rabbit. Both dishes made every part of the palate work and looked good enough to be in an artisan cookery book.
The presentation of our main courses was also exquisite, with the ballotine a particular highlight of the guineafowl dish that Sylviane had chosen. I tried it, too, and but for my fondness for venison might have attempted to switch dishes while she was looking out the window. However, my choice, with the meat wrapped in calvo nero, and accented by beetroot, was equally as good.
It was my crème brûlée though that won dish of the day. If any of you have seen the film Amélie, you’ll know the great joy that cracking a crème brûlée can bring and, if you haven’t, you may feel just the same way anyway; a perfect classic and with the bonus of homemade shortbread on the side. Sylviane opted for the dark chocolate and pistachio torte, sorbet and jelly – and declared it to be delicious.
The cheese to follow was fantastic, with selections served on a breadboard accompanied by a cinnamon infused apple chutney and a mini loaf of bread.
At £45 a head, the Mulberry isn’t cheap, but that cost is certainly reflected by the location and food on offer – and, with murder mystery worries a distant memory, we left Langshott Manor with a greater understanding of why literary stars, music producers and film directors have been known to frequent the hotel. Clue: it’s not just because of the airport…