Number 24: Eat at a Michelin star restaurant
Well who’d have thought a wee weegie could be posh enough to go to a Michelin star restaurant eh?
In fact to be totally honest, I picked one that wasn’t too snooty, although my pink hair and Nike trainers did get some funny looks from the ladies that lunch!
The restaurant I went to was The Royal Oak Whatcote. (https://www.theroyaloakwhatcote.co.uk/) It's just like a wee country pub, but proper posh!
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit petrified, I love my food but I get confused at Masterchef when they start talking about emulsions (isn’t that paint for your walls!) and what’s an amuse bouche while we're at it?!
Anyway, the restaurant we went to offered a 7 course tasting menu or you could pick 3 courses from the 7 and have like a normal lunch. It was £60 per head, which for a Michelin star is very reasonable. They also offered wine to go with the courses, but I was driving and quite frankly I didn’t want to make a tit of myself so decided to stay away from alcohol.
Before I get onto the food, I just wanna say the service was IMPECCABLE. I worked in hospitality for years and then I went on to train people to work in the industry and they were just - goals. No heirs and graces, just good people who love what they do and want you to love what they do too.
So our food was this:
Wholemeal brioche, Tamworth dripping & farmhouse butter. I’ve never been a dripping fan but you could have dripped me in it - so good!
We ate the bread before anything else came as we thought that was the done thing, but on reflection I think we should have probably saved it to scoop up some of the sauce with some of the other things. Not sure if that would have been frowned upon or not, actually!
Mackerel, cucumber, curry & dill - now I’m not a fishy person (like a finger is as far as my fish pallet goes) but this was tasty not too fishy and the other stuff went with it so well, you didn’t really notice the fishy-ness.
Quite possibly my favourite course - an open lasagne of Paddock Farm egg, chestnut mushrooms, Westcombe cheddar and fresh summer truffle. Give me a bucket of the stuff -DIVINE.
Halibut, courgette and crab sauce - this was a step too far on the fishy scale for me. I could totally appreciate the effort, skill and thought that went into it - but not for me.
Red stag, heritage carrot, elderberry and Voatsiperifery (don’t ask me to say that) pepper sauce. This was nice, a bit posh for me, I’d have happily swapped for another lasagne but not sure the chef would have appreciated that. Plus chefs’ love their meat barely cooked and I’m a well done kinda girl. But tasty all the same!
Pre Dessert - Blackcurrant yarrow ice cream. This was more than just ice cream, there was jelly, coulis and ah just amazing!
Can I just say Pre- Dessert needs to be an everyday occurrence, like why can’t people have 2 desserts? I mean cake can turn a shit day around for me, so why not?!
Dessert - the more I think about it, this is tied with the lasagne for first. It was, to use a technical term, BANGING. Cherries, Jivara ‘Grand Cru’ chocolate and yoghurt ice cream. Aerated chocolate, rich cherries, a chocolate twile thingy … Omg I’m salivating thinking about it.
In all honesty, I’m glad I went, even though 2 courses were too fishy for me (that’s a personal preference thing, nothing to do with the food itself). It was nice to see how the other half live for just a few hours and realise that for me luxury is best enjoyed when it’s infrequent.
If you’re a bit of a foody - I’d recommend you do a michelin star place too. I’d also recommend The Royal Oak Whatcote, if you’re a bit worried about the pomp and fanfare that could come with Michelin stars.
I don’t know if I’ll be rushing to another one but so glad I did it!
My top tips for visiting a Michelin star place:
Be open minded when it comes to food. I’m not fussy, but I do have some weird preferences and if I'd let them take over I wouldn’t have eaten a thing.
Wear something with stretch! I mean the portions aren’t massive but it’s still 7 courses of highly rich food!
Don’t worry about if you fit in or not. You’re a paying customer and the owner will appreciate you whether you’re rough as a badgers like me or if you’re an Etonian!
Ask questions about the food, if you’re particularly worried/interested about something the staff are so highly trained they’ll explain everything to you!
Find one that suits you! There are so many across the country there is bound to be one that you will like more than another, so go with that one!