The setting of Stoke Place is not immediately promising. I was invited to stay at the boutique hotel only to discover it is located on the edge of Slough, better known as the location for The Office. Driving past Slough Kebab shop and through “The Heart of Slough”, which appeared to be a giant roundabout, was not the most inspiring approach to a weekend get away. However, the high walls that surround Stoke Place offered an instant sanctuary.
The main house at Stoke Place
The walls were built back in 1820 to keep out “marauders and vagabonds” and they are still going strong protecting the historic 17th century William and Mary manor house that is Stoke Place. The house itself is gorgeous with a very clever modern makeover which pairs bright, graphic wallpaper with modern furniture in the historic setting. Unfortunately our room was not in the main house but was instead in a little bungalow next to the gate.
The beautiful claw foot bath in our room
The room had all the features you could want from a hotel like a four poster bed, claw foot bath, Aveda toiletries and flat screen television however it lacked atmosphere and suffered from traffic noise from the busy road that runs past the gate. If you are planning a stay at Stoke Place I would recommend a room in the main building.
Our room at Stoke Place
We wandered back over to the main house for dinner which was a pretty lavish affair as we tried out the six course tasting menu. Chef Craig Van Der Meer’s menu is modern British with some inventive twists. It was a relative bargain compared to London prices at £55 for six courses and there were some real highlights such as the clever icy ball of gin and tonic as a platate cleanser.
Gin and tonic palate cleanser
A thin beetroot consommé flecked with squares of potato and leek and some Bosworth ash goats cheese also impressed. However there were also some misses. While the pan seared fillet of beef was tender and paired well with a tightly packed disc of shreds of tongue and cheek the accompanying swede was undercooked and too hard to eat. The matching wines worked well for £35 but it has to be said our favourite was the rosé champagne which had a lovely sweetness and was from De Castellane in France.
Beef with tounge and cheek
In the morning the breakfast menu featured a buffet of cereals, fruit and pastries along with a selection of hot breakfasts. The Eggs Royale was very generous featuring a double decker of poached eggs, muffins and hollondaise sauce. However the hollondaise was lumpy rather than smooth. Although I was not a fan of the Stoke Place’s hollondaise I did enjoy the Jing Teas that were stocked in each room and served over breakfast. The lapsang in particular had a fantastic smoky flavour.
Eggs Royale for breakfast
For a weekend country house experience Stoke Place offers a more reasonably priced alternative in comparison to the big names so it is a bit unfair of me to compare it to somewhere like Babington House. However despite the slick design I felt the location on the edge of Slough meant the feeling of escape from the City was lacking.
Details: Stoke Place, Stoke Green, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire SL2 4HT (Ph 01753 534 790)
Damage: Pricey. A three course dinner and accomodation starts at £195 a night. However, on this occasion I did not pay.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Stoke Place