Review – The Glasshouse at the Grove Hotel:
The reputation of The Grove Hotel goes before it. A luxurious five-star hotel in the Hertfordshire countryside with elegant spa, over 200 rooms and 300 acres of grounds which include a championship golf course, it’s a popular destination both for corporate and leisure events. So an invitation to check the newly refurbished Glasshouse Restaurant was one not to miss.
The Glasshouse Restaurant is one of three dining spaces in the hotel and has recently been overhauled and elegantly restyled. More than that though, executive chef Stephen Wheeler has worked with Head Chef Luke Reeves to create something quite unique in this country.
Anyone who has been to the Middle East or the Far East is likely to have come across a particular kind of lavish buffet restaurant with no limits. The Glasshouse aims to create a uniquely British version of that concept with a range of buffet stations serving hot and cold food, often made to order and always of the highest quality. We went along to try the food and learn more about the offering.
But first, a glass of fizz for me in the pretty bar, while my companion Heidi, who was driving, enjoyed a Fentiman’s Lemonade
One of the hardest things about this kind of sybaritic dining is to decide what to try. In the end, both of us selected a plateful of seafood, cold meats and cheeses to start. There were so many options it was difficult to know what to pick.
I particularly liked the salad bar, where a chef was on hand to dress your selection exactly the way you wanted. And, I loved my selection of shellfish and smoked fish, though I was really tempted to add more cheeses and cold meats from the selection on offer
Next, there were so many more lavish and well-appointed food stations, many with dishes to be cooked to order.
From pizza baked in the Glasshouse restaurant’s own wood-fired pizza oven to fresh artisan pasta cooked and dressed with the sauce of your choice.
The Asian noodle station offered the chance to have your own Asian soup made to order. The Robata was grilling lamb cutlets when we arrived but we could have asked for any one of a number of options.
Instead, we were both lured by the stunning roast beef – with perhaps the most perfect Yorkshire puddings, gravy and Hasselback potatoes. It’s the kind of meal that can be tired and sad done badly.
Here at the Glasshouse, their beef is sourced from Donald Russell and then aged in house. The tenderest medium-rare slices of beef onto your plate – it’s hard to avoid over-indulging.
Once we’d completely filled ourselves up with starters and main courses, we went to check out the Dessert station. Apart from a stunning array of cakes, pastries and bakes, there’s a build your own ice-cream station with a lavish set of sprinkles and toppings and a chocolate tap!
After coffee we went for a stroll around the hotel and the grounds. It really is a stunning space, whether you want to eat al-fresco, enjoy an elegant afternoon tea or just go for a swim! We loved the kitchen garden where many of the vegetables used in the restaurant are grown. And the giraffe, who seemed to feel right at home.
What we liked best about The Glasshouse was the flexibility the buffet offers to guests, whether hotel residents or visitors. It’s the kind of place where you’d be happy to bring the whole family for a Sunday lunch because everyone gets to pick what they want to eat (whether that’s pasta with red sauce or freshly shucked oysters, robata grilled salmon and every possible variation on an ice cream sundae you can think of). But it’s also elegant enough for a first date and refined enough for a working lunch. If you’ve ever yearned for a Dubai style Friday Brunch, this is the perfect British version!
The Glasshouse is open for breakfast (7 – 10.30 am), lunch (12.30 – 2 pm) and dinner (6 – 9.30 pm), as well as afternoon tea in The Glasshouse Bar (1.30 – 4.30pm). Lunch starts at £42 per person, with dinner from £49 per person.
For more information about The Grove, please visit: www.thegrove.co.uk or call 01923 296010.
The Glasshouse Restaurant
Hertfordshire, WD3 4TG
Other options we’d recommend if you are looking for a trip out of town that isn’t too far include Stoke Park Country House where we went for a special Veganuary menu, the Montagu Arms in Beaulieu and of course, L’Ortolan in Reading. They all have quite different offerings so do check them out.