Quite a few years ago, when Coworth Park was a newly opened addition to The Dorchester Collection, we were lucky enough to stay there for a superbly memorable dinner in the main restaurant, plus B&B, staying in one of the fabulous bedrooms. 

If anything, the only slightly disappointing element of our stay, I recall, was breakfast, served in what was then a rather soulless attempt at a more rustic building called The Barn.  That breakfast memory was totally revised/obliterated recently when we returned to The Barn to check out its new menu, created by executive chef Adam Smith.

We arrived in the dark, and once parked, strolled over a fairytale bridge to a terrace twinkling with fairy lights to go for dinner. 

And what a dinner it was: style and relaxation combined with superb food in a magical setting

The front part of the restaurant is in an adaptable structure that can be opened up in more clement weather for an al fresco atmosphere.  Tweed covered seats, draped with cosy blankets, pine tables all add to the informal, yet stylish setting. 

Being part of the Dorchester Collection, one does, of course, expect a top level of service – and that’s certainly delivered, by a friendly, relaxed, yet highly professional front of house team. 

I enjoyed a Negroni while my husband chose an alcohol-free beer.

The Menu

The main part of the menu is divided into various sections: From the Land; From the Water and From the Field.  There is also a section with Barn Classics, including the ubiquitous burger.

To start, I chose Scallop Crudo  with lemon and estate elderflower, while he chose Smokin’ Brothers Smoked Salmon with fennel and dill crème fraîche. 

My starter was not only beautifully presented, but it tasted exquisite –  fresh and citrus, but while I really enjoyed it, I did feel that the depth of flavour of the lovely sauce rather overwhelmed the delicate flavour of the scallops.

My husband’s smoked salmon was a generous tranche and declared excellent. He particularly liked the creme fraiche which had been very well seasoned.

Having started with scallops, I stayed with ‘the water’ and chose grilled Cornish turbot, with warm tartare sauce, as suggested by our server. 

A Waterford Farm beef fillet tempted my husband and a number of sides were suggested to pair with our mains: Crushed Sweet Potato Mash with Old Winchester and sage; BBQ Broccoli * with pumpkin seed satay; Courgettes * with smoked aubergine, tomato and basil and, of course, some Triple cooked chips to accompany the steak.  

The main courses were both really excellent – top quality and cooked perfectly.

My husband said his steak was one of the most tender and flavoursome he’d ever had, and my turbot was sensational.

But the surprise stars of the show were the amazing side dishes – I’d happily enjoy just a selection of them on another visit.

Everything was meticulously presented (as you can see from our photos) but also perfectly seasoned. 

I usually ask for some black pepper when eating out (but never salt).  This was one occasion when neither was needed.

The courgettes were arranged on top of a rich tomato and aubergine base, and the purple sprouting broccoli served with satay sauce was a revelation to me. 

It had a light smokiness from the barbecue and was scattered with pumpkin seeds to add texture: vegetable perfection.  

The sweet potato with cheese and sage was also fabulous.  If any vegetarians are reading this, I’d urge them to visit.

A glass of Chablis was the ideal pairing with my food and not surprisingly, despite the lightness of my starter, I was feeling pretty replete. 

I eschewed a dessert, but was interested to see the Baked Cheesecake with Yorkshire Rhubarb that my husband chose…it was indeed a ‘proper’ cheesecake and again, absolutely beautifully presented.

After a double espresso of my favourite Musetti coffee, we made our way home, already planning another visit for a summer’s day, so that we can also enjoy the gorgeous parkland that the hotel is set amid. 

The Barn is near Ascot, and only a short drive away.   To use the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’, it isn’t cheap, but it is, after all, part of the Dorchester Collection, and very special. 

You will certainly enjoy exemplary service and top-notch food and drink.