Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons is a 15th century quaint manor house found in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside.
Synonymous with the finest in dining and hospitality it offers its guests an exclusive, informal location to enjoy outstanding cuisine in magnificient surroundings. An hours drive from London by car, the drive leading upto Le Manoir is beautiful.
Raymond Blanc OBE, is the Chef Patron of this two Michelin starred restaurant with rooms which is a part of the Belmond Group, a collection of 45 distinct, iconic hotels around the world. Providing the ultimate travel experiences in exceptional destinations and committed to responsible tourism, it is quite apt that Raymond’s Le Manoir is a part of this elite group.
Dining at Le Manoir is an incomparable experience. The efforts made to produce an exquisite menu are unsurpassed and to truly enjoy the experience the set menus of five or seven courses are highly recommended. The dishes on offer on these menus gives the diner a true reflection of what Le Manoir is all about as these menus, although set monthly, evolve on a daily basis as it is paramount that the freshest ingredients are used.
Raymond and his Chefs visit the gardens regularly to seek out their ingredients and with their creative imagination are able to provide the finest seasonal food at all times by tweaking the set menus. Diners at Le Manoir can be rest assured that the cuisine is consistently excellent. There is extensive A La Carte menu with exclusive dishes to select from. When you are welcomed, you are first taken to the intimate lounge area where you can have a drink before dining and decide upon which menu you will be having. The meal is served in the exquisite Orangery overlooking the manicured gardens. After dining, weather permitting, tea and coffee can be served outside in the gardens. The laid back atmosphere at Le Manoir allows you to soak in the atmosphere and be relaxed and enjoy the whole experience. All guests can roam around the gardens at their pleasure either before their meal or after.
There is the option to add a ‘wine flight’ to the menu where each course is professionally paired with the appropriate wine to enhance the flavours of the meal. The Chef Sommelier has unique suggestions which any wine enthusiast will appreciate. Raymond has a remarkable wine cellar with a variety of over 1,000 world wines which complement his cuisine. Regardless of where their origin is, wines from both new and established vineyards are stocked.
In honour of Le Manoir's 30th Anniversary, Anomalous London visited in April 2014 and had the April five course set menu. This slide show presents what was on the set menu. The waiters were impressively knowledgeable about each dish, its ingredients and how it was cooked. This imparted an even greater satisfaction when savouring the delights on the plate. Click through the picture icons at your leisure.
The Manoir estate is over 25 acres with 2 acres being devoted to the vegetable and herb garden. Raymond was one of the pioneers of the organic movement in the UK. The source of all his food is highly important to him, he even promotes his suppliers in his menu at Le Manoir.
He has cultivated his own beds of herbs of which there are over 70 traditional and exotic varieties and his vegetable gardens has over 90 types of vegetable. Belmond Le Manoir also has a unique wild mushroom valley where over 20 edible species are grown. This is the first of its kind in the U.K. There are plans to develop the 20 acre grass fields into an orchard where beautiful apples, pears, apricots and cherries will be plentiful. His head gardener, Anne-Marie Owens, has worked alongside him for over 15 years and the estate is run by only six other gardeners.The main garden has specific colour schemes which are very soothing to the eye. The grass field, vegetable and herb gardens are all certified as organic. No herbicides, nor insecticides are used thus the crops are rotated to prevent any build up of pests. No produce is ever frozen or stored, it is literally picked fresh from the garden and cooked immediately. Plans are made in the winter as to what is to be grown the following year. There is an Asian garden where these varieties add to the dimension of Le Manoir’s cuisine. Micro leaves are also available on a daily basis from the green houses.
The Heritage Garden showcases organic gardening methods and the huge importance of preserving knowledge and use of heritage plants through its Heritage Seed Library.The gardens at Le Manoir are renowned worldwide and are the envy of many botanists. Walking around the gardens is an amazing experience and there are many fine sculptures to keep you amused including a scarecrow! The artist Lloyd Le Blanc (no relation to Raymond) has created remarkable bespoke works of art for Raymond.Croquet and bowls are also available to the guests which can be played on the main lawn.
Raymond is regarded as one of the finest chefs in the world. His exquisite cooking has been appreciated by many and as a result he is the recipient of tributes from various national and international guides to culinary excellence. He has personally received 43 awards. Raymond is truly passionate about his cooking and keen to encourage others to be able to cook simple, delicious food.
He has written nine best sellers, most recently‘100 recipes for entertaining,’ and also created eighteen prime time TV shows for the BBC. He was appointed Eurostar’s Culinary Director in October 2012. Raymond doesn’t believe in standing still and is always on the lookout on how to grow and keep on progressing. He has a very talented team working alongside him who he encourages to experiment in all that they do so as to keep on providing their guests with something exceptional.
Championing an ethical approach to cooking he is devoted to energy efficiency and recycling. Regarded by many in the catering industry as the model to aspire to, Le Manoir is at the forefront for many. The restaurant kitchen has trained 28 Michelin starred chefs up to now. The basic training programs lasts approximately 2.5 years where each chef spends 6 months in each kitchen section. Many notable chefs and restaurateurs were mentored by or worked for Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir, including, Heston Blumenthal, David Goodridge and Marco Piere White.
Raymond is currently working with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (renowned as the world’s centre of botanical expertise) to restore what was once Queen Victoria’s royal kitchen garden. This year long project will see Raymond explore the history and heritage of the various fruits and vegetables he will grow over the four seasons and in a TV Series ‘Kew on a Plate,’ he will share his passion and inspiration for British heritage by creating and cooking delicious recipes using the seasonal produce grown. This fascinating series will bring together history, science, horticulture and cookery set in the delightful Kew Gardens.
Having come to the UK as a waiter, it was Raymond’s dream to open up his own restaurant which he finally fulfilled in 1977 when he and his wife Jenny opened Les Quat’Saisons in Summertown, Oxford at the age of only 28. Despite never being formally trained and only been a waiter for 5 years, his venue was an overnight success and the restaurant earned its first Michelin star in 1979 and the second star was achieved in 1983.
In 1984, he purchased the 15th century stone house after the previous owner, Lord Cromwell died in 1982 and created the hotel ‘Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ which was the fulfilment of a personal vision, that one day he would create a hotel and restaurant, where his guests could find perfection in food, comfort and service.
Belmond Le Manoir has achieved two Michelin stars which have been held for an impressive 29 years and this is a result of Raymond’s passion of offering only the best in produce for his fine cuisine. To date Belmond Le Manoir has received a total of 90 awards.
Le Manoir has a total of 90 and Raymond Blanc a total of 43
A selection is listed below: