Our hotel for the night was the recently refurbished ‘Feathers‘ in central Woodstock. The Feathers’ re-design was completed in May this year, encompassing all of the bedrooms, en-suites and communal areas. The 17th century town hotel has been converted from three buildings, and now boasts a Bistro (complete with a gorgeous courtyard), a well-renowned restaurant, 16 beautiful bedrooms and five suites. The piece de resistance for us, however, was the UK’s first ‘Gin Bar‘. Situated within the hotel, it stocks well over 50 different types of gin. We were brought a couple of Hendricks gin and tonics up to our room upon arrival, (pictured above) which went down an absolute treat…
The fact that the hotel is privately owned is resonant in the subtley attentive service and wide ranging knowledge of the friendly staff. What Chris, the sommelier, can’t tell you about the fine dining menu, the specially selected local ingredients or which wine to have with which course might well not be worth knowing.
We chose to eat from the a la carte menu and were recommended a glass of wine to match each course. We were also treated to a glass of the legendary ‘Chateau de Beaulon’ desert wine (to compliment our cheese board selection). Head chef Marc Hardiman takes pride in sourcing local and fresh ingredients; such as scallops which are caught and cooked within 24 hours and the Cotswold specialty blue cheese which is matured for only four months, bought from a farm only 25 miles away. The menu changes seasonally and (as all printing is done ‘in-house’) updated as per what is fresh and available to the kitchen at the time.
Marc describes his cooking style as ‘femenine’; which translates to the plate as portions that are delicate enough to leave you feeling contentedly full – not bloated. There is always a welcome range of textures on the plate. For example, I had the scallops as a starter which were served with pureed, sliced, grated and tempura cauliflower. Marc also likes to inject a little fun into the silver service proceedings; our palate cleansers included a tomato tonic and a yogurt with crackling candy on top (a real blast from the past). I sceptically chose the adventurous ‘porridge ice cream’ with chocolate pudding for desert, but was surprised when I was left wanting for more ice cream and couldn’t manage all of the chocolate – magic indeed.