THE MARINATION GAME AND CULINARY CREATIVITY AT WARREN HOUSE
It’s not often that we get to interrogate a chef, let alone see one when we’re dining out. At Warren House however, their passionate new Executive Head Chef Luke Davies is happy to interact with inquisitive diners. So given the opportunity, I enthusiastically accepted an invite to Surrey’s finest meeting and event venue for dinner to find out what goes on behind their kitchen doors!
Warren House is often referred to as a ‘hidden gem’ in Surrey and on route to the property I soon realised why. This beautiful, Victorian, Grade II listed building looked as picturesque as something on a vintage biscuit tin. Set within four acres of perfectly manicured landscaped gardens and within the peaceful and secluded location of the exclusive Coombe Estate in Surrey. It is also conveniently in close proximity to the historic town of Kingston- Upon-Thames and the commercial districts of South-West London.
After a long day, I instantly felt relaxed on arrival into their tranquil countryside bubble and was ready to dump the overnight bags and indulge in one of their 46 luxurious bedrooms. The sheer size and luxury feel of the bedroom eclipsed any ‘cosy bedroom’ expectations I may have had. Each of their rooms are beautifully designed to reflect the countryside it is surrounded by. After a years worth of instagrammable interior design angles captured just in the one room, (no filters needed), I dressed for dinner.
Downstairs in the restaurant, the waiter introduced himself and brought over the menus, kindly informing me and my guest that another menu was available for those that prefer ‘Free From’ options. This alternative menu excludes dairy, gluten, lactose, meat or fish products; making it suitable for vegetarians, vegans and most food allergies sufferers. A thoughtful touch to give ‘free from’ eaters, plenty of alternative options.
The regular A-La-Carte-menu features dishes that take advantage of seasonal ingredients to enhance flavours. This is combined with trusted food favourites to suit a wide array of tastes and preferences, from traditional British and European favourites to lighter contemporary dishes.
For starters, it was the Brixham Crab that tempted my tastebuds. With an impressive presentation, it was served with apple, cucumber, radish, a little wasabi, bedded in puffed rice and yuzu. The mix of flavours were invigorating, complementing each other perfectly and the textures made me savour the taste as I tried to discover the creative selection of ingredients!
Ready for main, the choice was naturally a difficult one. But when in doubt, always go for a steak! Interestingly when reading the main offerings, I noted that for the meat options, there were at least 2 different cuts within 1 dish. For example, the Surrey farm beef consisted of fillet as well as braised cheek served with stilton gnocchi, watercress, parsley and red wine jus. A superb combination and an enlightening combination choice. The latter cut of beef is not something I would ever willingly choose and on speaking with Executive Head Chef, Luke himself, this is exactly the reason why he had chosen to combine these together. Luke recognises that dining is all about enjoyment and tasting fine foods; never compromising on exemplary standards and only using the highest quality foods. But there was something different about his approach. He is effectively providing food opportunities to those safe and repetitive dwelling orderers like myself, and essentially providing culinary education to try new dishes, cooked in divergent, contemporary ways.
Finally, I melted away any residue of the day’s stress with an indulgent chocolate delice, sprinkled with caramelised peanuts, chocolate soil and salted caramel ice cream. Happiness levels well and truly topped up.
On waking the following morning in a bedroom fit for a princess, I looked down into the vast picturesque garden to see a teambuiding activity underway with ‘Blue Hat Teambuilding‘. In good spirits after a comfortable nights sleep, I ventured out to watch the teams work cohesively and creatively in this ‘Crystal Challenge’, giving them the odd cheer from the sidelines.
Wanting to get involved but sadly with no team of my own, I challenged another guest to a game of giant garden chess, set amongst the landscaped gardens and ornate fountains! A few wrong moves later, it was time to check out the meeting and event spaces.
Already a popular choice of event venue for city businesses and a welcome break away from busy London life, their 9 event spaces didn’t disappoint. Catering for small and large events, from a one-to-one meeting to a 100 delegate conference with exclusive use of the entire property, or simply somewhere in-between! They offer exceptional facilities, complemented with plenty of on-site parking to ensure business objectives can be focused on and met.
Their most impressive room is The Edwardian Ballroom. An opulent room, with intricate plasterwork and twinkling chandeliers that was originally modelled in the early 20thcentury on the Hall of Mirrors from the Palace of Versailles. Connected to this room is The Lavender Room, providing additional reception or break out space if required to the former.
Their other rooms catered perfectly for all occasions from large celebrations and parties to small intimate meetings, private dining and afternoon teas. Overall this is an inherently prestigious and ideal venue for all types of events and meetings.
With the sun beating down, the stunning Italian terrace that overlooked the serene gardens was calling me. I watched as Luke and his team reappeared to prepare the summer barbecue, to reward the Blue Hat Challengers. But this was no ordinary barbecue, this was looking like another challenge.
The Marination Game! An interactive cooking challenge created by the executive head chef of Warren House himself. Each team would be given a different type of meat and a selection of sauces to marinate them with, before the chefs then cook them to perfection. Most interesting / best-tasting marination wins!
As much as I would have loved to stick around to witness this, I can only imagine that in the hands of some over competitive players (and there is always one!) there may be some seriously questionable combinations formulated here. I’ll stick to the chef’s handiwork, thank you!
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