Last month I got to visit the beautiful Sopwell House for the first time to try Chef André Jaeger’s 3-night gourmet encounter event series. Sopwell House is located in St Albans, just a 20-minute Thames Link journey from London. As we got to the station we took a 5-minute Uber ride and arrived at this stunning property in no time.
My sister and I were greeted by the welcoming man at reception. We stayed in a studio called The Ivy Suite which was situated in a cosy and secure little mews. The mews studios are separate from the main hotel area and each studio offers its own unique design.
Our studio was so comfortable and warm. We loved the modern design and soft king size bed. Sopwell house offers a communal spa area where all guests have access to a swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna. My favourite part was the hydropool in the mews which we used before the dinner and the next morning before we checked out.
After our little relaxation session at the spa, it was time for dinner. Having just come back from my travels around Asia, I was so pleasantly surprised by the menu and all its Asian influences. First up was the amuse bouche, served bento style. The box included tuna with Thai vinaigrette, Atlantic shrimp with Gloucester old spot bacon and coriander, and tea smoked quail. Each appetiser was full of Asian flavours and set the bar very high for the rest of the meal.
For the starter we had Onsen egg in dash jelly with sesame cream and Oscietra caviar. I absolutely loved this dish but can imagine that this is an acquired taste. My sister found it slightly strange because of the texture. Onsen eggs are slow cooked, traditionally in hot spring water, and the result is soft silk egg whites and custard-like yolk. Combined with the jelly, caviar and oyster leaf, this dish was so experimental and one to remember.
Next up was the fish course – lemon sole with Scottish scallops, Kwan Tung spices, edamame, pumpkin and cherry tomato. The preparation of the fish was excellent and was nicely paired with a glass of Villa Maria, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, NZ 2016.
The main course was hoisin duck with orange, red cabbage, Granny Smith apple and truffle potato mash. The combination of the tender duck meat, crispy skin and fresh orange taste was amazing. This time it was paired with a red Cotes Du Rhone, Vin Gourmand, Dauvergne Ranvier, France, 2016.
By the time the desserts came we were extremely full but there’s always space, right? Last but not least we had a chocolate opera with pistachio, kirsch, stewed pineapple and cherry ice cream. The chocolate opera was paired with a sweet and delicious dessert wine – Torres, Moscatel Oro Floralis.
In summary the meal was amazing. Thank you Sopwell House and André Jaeger for a wonderful experience. I’ll definitely be back!
Cottonmill Lane, St Albans,
Hertfordshire AL1 2HQ
Telephone: 01727 864477
I was invited to review