By George Hope
For my birthday on bank holiday Monday I was lucky enough to go up to Oxford to experience Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (literally, the Manor of Four Seasons).
You wouldn’t necessarily expect to be given a gift upon arrival to a restaurant, but as a special thank you for tweeting to them the evening before, they gave me a signed Raymond Blanc cookbook.
The food itself was outstanding, unlike anything I have had before; seven miniature courses, my favorites being white asparagus, fried hen’s egg, watercress purée and Jabugo ham and soft toffee with bitter chocolate on a crumbly shortbread and salted butter ice-cream. The waiters and waitresses were all from different countries of Europe; the lady who brought us a selection of breads was from France, the wine expert from Germany and the Maître d’ from Portugal.
After coffee, we were shown around the grounds, which included an organic vegetable garden, 17th century water garden and a Japanese tea garden.
Overall I would recommend this unique experience to anyone. Of course it does not come cheap, but then why not ask your parents if you can go there for a special birthday treat? It really is an occasion to remember.