Visit Auberge du Lac For Perfect Countryside Escapism

By Olivia Emily

2 months ago

Lakeside dining? Yes please


Londoners are always seeking some country escapism, and we’ve found the next spot to tick off your list: Auberge du Lac, a cosy 2 AA Rosette fine dining restaurant tucked away in the vast, bucolic grounds of Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire. Whether you’re visiting for lunch, dinner, or an easy weekend escape, it’s the perfect breath of fresh air.

Restaurant Review: Auberge du Lac, Hertfordshire

A table set for dinner at Auberge du Lac

The phrases ‘fine dining’ and (God forbid) ‘tasting menu’ often evokes fears of stuffiness, feeling underdressed and uncomfortable, and awkward, somehow too-accommodating waitstaff. But Auberge du Lac finds the sweet spot: the finest ingredients cooked to perfection and served with elegance in cosy surroundings with a cultivated calmness (hailing from prestigious kitchens such as The Belfry Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, this relaxed approach to fine-dining – without compromising on quality – is part of head chef John Barber’s entire ethos).

Families clink glasses over celebratory meals, couples tuck into carefully crafted dishes while gazing across the gently swaying lake just beyond the panoramic windows, and easy chatter drifts across the room while knives slice easily through vegetables plucked from the earth a stone’s throw away. It’s indulgent and a splurge, but – escaping London’s ever-changing competitive food scene, where to gush in awe about eating fine food is to betray your own innocence – that’s part of the thrill: everyone is here to celebrate, and we’re doing it over food.

Two plates of food

The food is something to celebrate, too. A rotating seasonal menu championing the best of British features the likes of Orkney scallops, fallow deer loin, and house made ravioli, with a tasting menu boasting beef tartare crafted with aged beef fillet, a sea bass fillet served with Cornish mussels, stuffed Welsh lamb saddle – and four more mouth-watering courses.

Tipping it all over the edge from excellent to exquisite is the freshness of the vegetables. I am always enamoured with a kitchen garden, but Lucy Hawkins’ acre of fresh produce takes the crown, boasting bountiful beetroot, brussels, purple sprouting broccoli, radicchio, chicory, garden greens and more, cultivated with sustainable no-dig methods and whipped into marvellous creations by head chef John just metres away. And we’re not the only animals to benefit: Lucy recently won a Woodland Trust grant to plant around 230 metres of native hedgerow in her Kitchen Garden to help the plot remain a biodiverse and natural habitat for all the wildlife which surround and wander within it. Lucky guests wandering through the grounds before or after their meal will spot the deer, rabbits and birds that call Brocket Park home; either way, make sure you stick your nose into the garden.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Auberge (@aubergebrocket)

Wash it all down with a glass (or two, or three) of hand-selected wine matched to your taste by the waiter – or opt for the wine pairing for a real celebration.

Make A Night Of It

As easy as it is to travel to Auberge du Lac in a day, it’s tempting to slow down a bit and stay the night on the idyllic, 540-acre estate. After sipping the last of your wine and deciding it’s time to turn in, simply womble across the estate and up to Melbourne Lodge, Brocket Hall’s old stables which have been converted into a well-appointed guest house. Flop into your king-sized bed for a perfect night’s sleep, and revitalise yourself come morning with a refreshing power shower in the huge bathroom, followed by a morning walk around the gorgeous estate and a delicious breakfast in the Melbourne Club just down the hill from Melbourne Lodge. A perfect, pocket-sized holiday.

BOOK IT

A one-night stay at Melbourne Lodge costs from £195 for two sharing, including breakfast. The ‘Auberge Experience’ package starts from £420 for two sharing, including half a bottle of Champagne in room upon arrival with chocolates, a seven-course tasting menu at Auberge du Lac, overnight stay in the Melbourne Lodge plus Full English Breakfast served at the Melbourne Club. brocket-hall.co.uk

Brocket Park, Marford Rd, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City AL8 7XG