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Restaurant and Food Reviews in Swindon
It's a tough job dining out at some of Swindon's finest eateries..but somebody had to do it! If you're struggling ...
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It was a sunny start to the Bank Holiday weekend and we stepped excitedly up to the main reception to check in. The staff at Sudbury House always have a genuine interest in making sure that all their guests are well looked after, something which was important to us when selecting it as a wedding venue as well as on our numerous visits since. Today was no exception, with the gentleman behind the reception desk taking the time to engage us in conversation before handing over our keys. The Duty Manager – who just so happened to be the Toastmaster for our wedding day a year previous – showed us up to our Suite and we reminisced about the day.
When we stepped in to our Suite we were almost stopped in our tracks with just how elegant and airy the place looked. You step in to the spacious bedroom, with huge windows looking out on the croquet lawn and feel instantly calmer. The bedroom had a mini kitchen area with fully stocked Smeg fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. To the right was the luxurious bathroom who's main focus was the stunning standalone bath in the bay window. Walking through the bedroom you entered the sitting room area which was home to large, comfortable sofas and armchairs situated around a coffee table topped with local reading material and freshly laid out cakes. There was plenty of bottled water and fruit around and as we entered the wall-mounted TV was playing some smooth jazz music, which set the scene perfectly. This would make the perfect cosy hideaway if we were staying a little bit longer.
The short trip to the restaurant, down the antique staircase in the original part of the house where the Suite is located, is a pleasure to take in. The gleaming marble floors, ornate furniture and touches of interior design all add to the overall sense of luxury that Restaurant 56 is famed for. We were shown to a table outside to enjoy some champagne and canapes in the sunshine.
We were treated to a glass of champagne each and a Tapioca Cracker with Pink Pepper Mayo, Olive Marinated in Lemon and Lime,Croquette with Crab Ravioli and Puff Pasty Parcel with Harissa, Mint and Pea. Although we were about to sit down to eight-courses of food these did an amazing job of offering little snippets of full-on flavour and we couldn’t wait to get started on to our main meal.
It wasn’t long before we were shown through to the dining area. Again, the Grade II listed building serves as the perfect backdrop for fine dining, but there no pretentiousness at all. The staff were all smiles as they invite you to sit down, even producing a special weighted hook for the table to place another diner’s handbag on, so it was off the floor. A nice touch.
The plan for the evening was that we would be enjoying an eight-course dining experience from the Prime Menu, and each course would be partnered with a specially selected wine. Fortunately for those that aren’t too versed with wine (such as myself) the waiting staff could eloquently explain the differences between each wine and why they were chosen to pair with the food we were enjoying. We were served by Restaurant Manager, Sergio Martinez Rios, who took us on our journey and did a particulary stellar job of getting over the differences between the wines.
It would take me another few hundred words to go through each dish we had and the generous taste of wine that was offered alongside it, so here is a look at the menu:
Hampshire Asparagus, Jersey Royals, Egg Yolk with MV Sokol Blosser “Evolution”. Oregon, USA. Pinot Gris / Miller Thurgau / Gewurtzraminer / Chardonnay
Rabbit Twice, Carrott, Pistachio, Violet Mustard with 2014 Emiliana Reserva. Valley del Bio, Bio, Chile. Riesling
“Posh Cocktail”, Langoustine, Cornish Crab, Marie Rose with 2013 MAD Tokaj, Hungary. Dry Furmit.
Beer Fed Dexter, Alliums, Red Wine with 2005 Valenciso, Rioja, Spain. Tempranillo
Brinkworth Blue, White Chocolate, Bramley, Digestive with 2014 Chaudelune, Valle D’Aosta, Italy. Prie Blanc.
London Street Detox
Dandelion and Burdock with 2014 Three Choirs Late Harvest, Gloucestershire, England. Huxelrebe.
Banoffee Pie, Duffy’s Ocumare 55% Milk Chocolate with 2015 Lapeyre, Juracon, France. Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng.
Each course was as delicious than the next. I don’t want to sound too gushing but I now truly know the difference between simply eating and fine dining. We thought we’d found our favourite course, and then the next dish would be served and we would fall in love all over again. The staff and the service need another mention at this stage, as throughout the evening they were on hand to help with anything we needed. During dinner, my wife had to leave the table, and as soon as she did one of the waiting staff came over, refolded her napkin, cleared the table of crumbs and engaged me in casual conversation. Even bringing fresh cutlery out in hollowed out books just shows that the team at Restaurant 56 have thought of every single detail. It’s little things like this that make the difference between a good great experience and a perfect experience, which is what we had.
After our meal we retired back up to the Suite, which we were excited to see again. It was certainly the most impressive place we’d ever stayed, fitting for a wedding anniversary. Before bed we stayed up and relaxed in the sitting room, read some of the magazines, and my wife soaked herself in the bath before calling it an evening. The bed was beautifully comfortable and we drifted right off.
Waking after a restful night’s sleep we enjoyed some fruit in the sitting room of the Suite before getting dressed and coming down to breakfast at Sudbury House’s Magnolia Brasserie. We were invited to pick any seat we liked and peruse the menu. There was a cooked breakfast buffet as was as further items on the menu which can be ordered separately. We made our selections, which included a little from the cooked breakfast as well as some fresh pastries and fruit with yoghurt.
All in all, I can’t recommend the experience we had at Restaurant 56 and Suite 57 highly enough. Not something you could do every weekend (unless you were very lucky) but if you have a special event coming up and you’re in any way interested in food, this definitely needs to be on your radar to experience.
My new wife and I would like to thank everyone at Sudbury House and Restaurant 56 for their consistent friendliness, helpfulness and for continuing to provide the best experiences for us both. Here are a few Sudbury House wedding photos, courtesy of Kate Hateley Photography, to give you some inspiration to have your big the day there!