Foodwise, it is, as it always is, a real treat, with @chefgaryjones preparing for us 'les saveurs de janvier' menu, seven courses of beautiful ingredients beautifully cooked. Indeed, extending the beautiful theme, Le Manoir's plating of food is amongst the very best there is in our view and each dish is a visual treat that has conditioned you to hunger from the moment it is set down in front of you. This is immediately evident with the terrine of baby beetroot, the big slab of deep purple dotted around the pate with orange, red, pink and greens, making art that is stunning.
Quail's egg ravioli is always going to be special, but served up with Parmesan foam cascading down into the base of poultry and rosemary jus and a bed of hazelnuts and croutons, it's cooking that is set apart from almost all other. Two luxury seafood dishes follow with turbot, scallop and oyster in a single bowl with wasabi and cucumber, again, another dish that is captivatingly beautiful in every way. Then it's Scottish lobster with red pepper and cardamom, surrounded by sentinels of caviar topped potato. Two dishes that have taken the very best of what the sea offers and made the very best of it; did I mention earlier about striving for perfection and achieving it?
Not enough? The main is an assiette of piglet, together with cabbage, onion and prune and includes loin chops, belly and black pudding, food we know and love, here, given Le Manoir's magic touch. Coconut with chocolate is now forever associated with bounty but textures, coconut three ways, and Ghana chocolate Grand Cru, means it's like no Bounty that comes in a wrapper. The menu is brought to a close by intense citrus fla, cleaning, refreshing and somehow able to slip down after this magnificent meal, perhaps our best meal yet at Le Manoir.
As before, it is all too short a stay, and despite the fact that we're just two weeks into 2013, Le Manoir is likely to prove one of the highlights of the year. It looks like our love affair with Le Manoir will endure a little longer.