THE GROVE: A VERY BIG HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY
I read a statistic this morning. Apparently an EXTRA 12 million pints of beer were sold during England’s first match of the world cup yesterday. I added one of them, but more of that later.
I am not sure how many extra Martini’s were ordered in the same spell, but I added a couple of those too.
A good chum had invited me to have lunch with him and his delightful family at The Grove near King’s Langley. I had never heard of it either and had not a clue how to get there. But, a simple 20 minute train ride from Euston had me at the station and being whisked in his car to this very very impressive country house.
It has only been open in its present state for a few years. Previous owners, London Transport had, like everything they own let it fall into a state of perilous dilapidation. The new owners, who also own London’s Athenaeum Club, obviously spent a fortune on the place. It now boasts a hotel, conference facilities, a championship level golf course and vast beautifully manicured grounds.
It also has three restaurants. Colette’s, its high end offering has chefs from Le Manoir and L’Ortolan and menus and pricing to match. The Stables, in effect, is the 19th Hole and offers up pretty simple food on a beautiful terrace.
We were going to eat at The Glasshouse.
Me and my chum arrived early and, while waiting for his family, we sipped on a couple of exceptionally well made cocktails. I have banged on about the search for a good martini, this was one. Made perfectly to order, cold and practically naked, in a chilled glass with a good slick of lemon oil. The Mojito my had was pretty good too though not my cup of, er rum.
When the family arrived, we decamped out on to their terrace and finished our cocktails while choosing some wine. In the end, although it was about 27o’s we went for a Rioja whose name I can’t recall, but it was delicious.
At the weekend, The Glasshouse offers up a buffet. This often fills me with dread conjouring up images of congealed roasts and wilting grey salads. Not here, I am very pleased to say. A good range of salads, meats, fish and desserts all displayed in small quantities which were replaced the moment they ran low so the food was not on display too long. Alongside the usual suspects , there were sweetbreads on fried bread, individual Caesar salads served in the natural bowl of a leaf of baby gem lettuce, duck confit with crisp skin and melting flesh and a really rather splendid passion fruit mousse. Nothing to create any fireworks but all solid, fresh and well done
After a hard week, sitting on the terrace with the sound of fountains in the background and the panoramic scenery of the stunning grounds, it was hard to believe how close to London we were.
After lunch, while my friend’s family headed home, we popped over to a local pub in a village called Chipperfield to watch the football in a marquee set up in the garden. Lousy performance but a good result so that’s all that matters.
An hour later, I was home, or actually in The Wenlock Arms, so in my second home.
So, that was it, nothing groudbreaking or earth shattering to report. Just a pleasant day with lovely people in a beautiful environment with decent food. Can't ask for too much more than that for a Saturday except perhaps a decent performance from England.