As part of our weekend away in Woburn we booked to have lunch at Paris House, which is actually located on the Woburn Estate. Up until relatively recently this restaurant was part of Alan Murchisons ’10 in 8′ group and run day to day by Chef Phil Fanning. But in January Phil and his wife bought the restaurant and now run it as a stand alone family venture.
Set in 22 acres of stunning parkland, Paris House is a fine dining restaurant and Bedfordshire’s only holder of a Michelin Star.
Luckily, our day on the woburn estate happened to be the first gorgeously sunny day of 2014 and the setting is really lovely. It was still pretty muddy underfoot, but we managed to keep ourselves clean enough on a walk around the parkland earlier that morning to be presentable for lunch. The car wasn’t so lucky..succumbing to the muddy ground (more on that later!)
The restaurant itself is light and airy and the shades of grey decor brightened up by some shockingly red chandeliers and great artwork on the walls. Our service throughout was prompt and friendly, but remained quite formal apart from one waiter who was forever throwing in witty little quips and really made us laugh!
Whilst deciding on which menu to have (there were 4 tasting menus to choose from – the lunch, gourmand, surprise and the recently lunched ‘best of Bedfordshire’) we were presented with some canapés. There were Venison Koftas, Salmon and Beetroot Lollipops, Haggis Balls, Puffed Pork and a little pot of Sauce Gribiche for dipping. A really interesting and different selection we thought and both the koftas and haggis balls were divine.
Due to the fact we were cramming so much into our day, we limited ourselves to the lunch menu (still 6 courses….) for a pretty reasonable £39pp. Wine wise, we were driving (as always) so had a glass each of the Bacchus Chapel Down, a thoroughly fantastic English White.
First up of these courses was Aerated Parsnip with Cumin Onion Bhaji and Curry Oil. This was a soup, light as a cloud and packed full of flavour. I could have devoured a whole bowl of this and more, and the delicalty flavoured bhaji, carrot shreds and coriander made this a delight to eat.
Second course was a fish course – Cured Trout with beetroot, yoghurt sorbet and rhubarb soup. The colours on this dish were phenomenal. Definetly one of those where you eat with your eyes! The trout was perfect, and the sweetness of the yoghurt and rhubarb with the fish was something I’d not tried before.
The next course of Ravioli of Smoked Hens Egg with Celeriac, bacon, black pudding and Sage, wasn’t quite as good as the first two for me, although Lee loved it. The flavours were a little too strong for me and a little black pudding heavy. The consistency of the duck egg was really different, but fantastic!
The main course gave us a choice of dish and we both went for the Piglet. Featherbalde and Cheek of Imberico Pig with Honey Mustard and Cauliflower Cheese. Another work of art on a plate. The cauliflower shards were amazing, as was the meltingingly tender pork.
Then to a palate cleanser which included meringue and wild chervil. Not the first palate cleanser type course we have had recently that used herbs, but certainly one of the better in my opinion. I think with Lee though the jury is still out on whether this works well or not!
Dessert was interesting. Honey and Yoghurt Cheesecake and Beetroot. For me the honeycomb and the oats on the plate along with the yoghurt were lovely but I wasn’t a fan of the beetroot elements. This is partly a ‘me’ thing as beetroot isn’t my favourite, but Lee who loves the stuff thought they weren’t quite harmonious with he other elements and overpowered them a bit.
Overall a really delicious meal, in a fantastic setting. Some really interesting flavour combinations, alongside some more classical cooking with a lot of attention to detail.
Oh Yes, and extra special thanks to Chef and Owner Phil and some of his kitchen brigade who came out to help give my car a push to get us out of the mud when it got stuck in the car park. We were mortified to say the least! Much appreciated guys!!
Paris House, Woburn Park, London Road, Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9QP.
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own