An overnight stay at Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant and hotel in Great Milton, Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire, gives Vicky Mayer food for thought

It’s a late summer evening and I am sitting on the terrace at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. With a Kir Royale in hand and the sun casting long shadows on the perfectly manicured walled garden, there are few places I would rather be. Canapés are served with our aperitifs and are gone in an instant. Such is the excellence of the food, there are audible gasps of ‘ooh, delicious’ every few minutes from the well heeled patrons surrounding us.

Casual style dining may be fashionable these days but Raymond Blanc understands that there’s nothing better than five star service on a big night out and at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons there’s nothing as vulgar as queuing up for your table. Instead the delightful staff ease you gently from your seat into the restaurant where your evening begins.

In Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons’ beautifully decorated dining room guests are offered a choice of five course or seven course menus, with accompanying flutes of wine.

Grilled Cornish mackerel, pickled mouli, honey and soy dressing

Grilled Cornish mackerel, pickled mouli, honey and soy dressing

With food of this calibre it’s actually a joy to hand over the choice, knowing you’re in expert hands. The provenance of the food is really important and no wonder.  Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons is surrounded by a two-acre garden so Raymond and his team have a garden larder on their doorstep and the seasonality and flavour of the produce is apparent in every mouthful. Stand out dishes included starters of beetroot with horseradish sorbet and melt-in-your mouth goats’ cheese, honey, artichoke agnolotti.

Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons’ knowledgeable staff are on hand to explain each dish in depth and as you would expect the wine menu veers artfully towards the French.

The promise of a perfectly cooked steak hit the mark for my boyfriend and midway through our meal we both agreed that should a culinary bucket list exist, a meal here would be our number one choice.

The Snow Queen suite

Treat yourself to a stay in the Snow Queen suite

We were lucky enough to be staying overnight in Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons’ magical Snow Queen garden suite, a quiet stroll across the courtyard from the restaurant and the main house. Roomy and elegant, the suite is just as sophisticated as the restaurant and boasts a perfect Princess And The Pea bed. If you want to treat someone you love to a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this is the place to go.

Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons; 01844 278881;