Restaurant review - AG's at Alexander House Hotel, Turners Hill
PUBLISHED: 15:45 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:47 16 January 2014
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Exquisite food served by charming, knowledgable staff...it's hard not to be effusive about AG's at Alexander House
It may have been the festive season, but the car park at Alexander House Hotel in Turners Hill was still surprisingly full for a Thursday evening. Porsches and Range Rovers lined the aisles, suggesting that upon stepping inside I’d be greeted with a gaggle of well-heeled diners. Not one for crowds, I tried not to be perturbed, but whilst being welcomed at reception I was pleasantly surprised.
All that greeted us within was a roaring log fire, a peaceful lounge area and a charming sommelier. The latter was eager to show me their veritable arboretum of Christmas trees (ok, truth be told I asked him to – I love a yule sprig), and was both knowledgeable and positively charming. This was a tone that continued throughout the evening, as both our maitre’d and waitress were equally eloquent and engaging.
The menu was pleasingly local-centric and seasonal, and we were hard-pushed to choose, but in the end I plumped for lobster to start, (below) which was deliciously succulent. My companion went for the partridge, which he was extremely pleased with, remarking that it was packed with flavour.
Before this was brought to us, we were treated to a fantastic selection of canapés, a diminutive homemade loaf of bread that threatened to spoil my appetite, such was its appeal, and an unexpectedly pleasing amuse bouche – the thought of a cheese panna cotta with a beer foam adorned with parmesan shavings sounded quite adventurous, but was moreish to say the least – I could have eaten a lot more of it and been extremely happy.
Our sommelier, it should be mentioned, chose wines that did exactly what wines are supposed to, really bringing out the flavour and complementing each dish. The surprise addition to the drinks menu was the sparkling cider from Chapel Down vineyard in Tenterden, Kent. With the light texture of a Champagne but all the taste of a cider, this was the perfect accompaniment to my roast pork, (above) which was – as everything was – beautifully presented, and tasted wonderfully rich, with just the right texture to it. The second main course to be brought to our table was the grouse, which had a great colour to it, and I am told tasted just as good as it looked.
Plump scallops accompanied by cockles and a seaweed cracker were a welcome surprise from the chef before dessert – the third AA rosette that AG’s was recently awarded is richly deserved.
Lemon curd and some intriguingly thinly-sliced meringues finished off my gastronomic tour of the menu, and they didn’t disappoint – bursting with zesty flavour and lighter than air. A banana soufflé that defied gravity and had the sort of texture throughout that would make Mary Berry proud was our other dessert – I am told that the miniature jug of toffee sauce that it came with was a triumph.
The restaurant itself was discreet in style, classic in design with modern touches. And despite the obviously busy evening that the hotel was enjoying, (ascertained only from the amount of cars parked outside), the bars, lounges and second restaurant that we passed by were all very similar in atmosphere to our own – calm, discreet service made for happy diners. A triumph nestled away in Turners Hill, that you can rest assured comes highly recommended.
01342 714914 www.alexanderhotels.co.uk