For those not familiar with Auberge du Lac, it is situated in Hertfordshire, think modestly north east of M1 meets M25 and it holds three AA Rosettes. The style is British, local produce, with a classical French influence. There's an a la carte as well as tasting menu options, with the a la carte priced at £60 for three courses, putting it on a par with say Pollen Street Social cost wise. The tasting menu offers up (mostly) a selection from the a la carte menu though in declaring 6 or 9 courses, they do include the amuse bouche in that total. The tasting menu is priced at £69 for the 6 course. There's generally three options per course on the a la carte and so with two of us eating, even choosing alc, we're able to view the majority of the menu.
We were, on this visit, guests of the restaurant and we did get the full works including amuse, pre-dessert and post lunch chocolates. The amuse is a cucumber gazpacho with avocado and croutons, fitting for a summer's day while sitting on the terrace. For starters, we saw both the tuna, and chicken dish while on mains, it was lamb and Iberico pork. The food is presented cleanly on the plate and errs towards a traditional style that is in keeping with the brand of a listed manor house dating back to the 18th century. The chicken dish for example comprises white wine poached wing, confit chicken oyster, girolles and Parmesan. An unmentioned extra is a slow cooked egg in the centre that lends it a contemporary touch. It's nice plate of food that delivers what it promises without gimmickry. The same is true of the pork main. With sweetcorn, spring onion and barbeque pineapple, all relatively traditional, the dish will stand or fall on the basis of the Iberico Pork but all is well and the pork does deliver on flavour.
On desserts, there's a choice of four (including ice cream) and/or a selection of French & British cheeses. We opted for the chocolate dish and the peach and raspberry cheesecake. Both look pretty on the plate with the chocolate dessert a ganache with a blond beer ice cream, all nice enough. The cheesecake however seemed somewhat bland with neither the peach, raspberry or cheese flavours making an impact.
On service, it was possible that our guest status threw them a little as they hesitated to give us the menus after we sat down (we ended up asking for them) but staff were all professional and courteous throughout. The star of the show however was very much the sommelier (despite us drinking little) who clearly has a strong grasp of how small things make a big difference in hospitality and delivered attentive and thoughtful service to us.
Auberge du Lac has little immediate local competition with Paris House (Bedfordshire) being the nearest of its peer group to the North, while South, it is the restaurants of central London that are closest. Accordingly we're sure that Auberge du Lac has more than its fair share of special occasion dinners. Against the vibrancy of the London dining scene however, the offering here may seem a little too staid if you're here for the food alone rather than the golf or the whole country house experience. But if we lived local, the setting, the classical style and the cosseting makes it the obvious place to go on any occasion when you want to push the boat out a little.