Today, with morning lessons in human resources and the foundations of management concluded, and with projects now well underway and proceeding nicely, the second half of the students at Merton –those studying EFL, Politics, Public Speaking and Psychology— had the chance to attend Le Manoir.
There are few dining experiences in the world that compare with Le Manoir. It is a restaurant whose kitchen garden was described by one critic as ‘a Narnia’; it has trained twenty-five Michelin-starred chefs who have gone on to set up some of the world’s most famous restaurants; it currently has two Michelin stars of its own, as indeed it has now for many years. The restaurant itself is set in a manor house surrounded by a bucolic scene of manicured lawns, rustically inclined trees and wisteria climbing in heaps up stone walls towards a red-tiled roof: Le Manoir is already distinguished by the immense quality of the food it serves, but it is in its excellence set apart still further by the beauty within which the gastronomical jewel is cased. After such an introduction, it need hardly be said that the students enjoyed the experience. Eating at Le Manoir is, after all, more than a merely culinary affair: it is also a cultural one.
Upon arrival the students were met by a champagne reception, with an array of canapes waiting on artisanal slate trays. The students were then treated to a 4-course tasting menu: ricotta agnolotti tastefully drenched with light honey; wasabi, unusually paired with essence of tomato and then cucumber; braised turbot from Cornwall, on the south coast, with scallop; lamb from the famous Rhug estate in Wales; tomatoes from the Isle of Wight; goats cheese with roasted cocoa beans— and finally a dessert, ‘A theme on one flavour: “Strawberry”’. A wonderful time was had, and none would deny that this is a dining experience par excellence.