I’ve been browsing the menus for all the restaurants at The Grove for years now, in the hope of visiting someday, however, I wanted to save it for a special occasion. I finally visited for the first time a few weeks ago when I decided to surprise Jass with a meal at The Glasshouse for his birthday!
Driving along the long winding driveway and over a tiny bridge towards the Grade II-listed building is a wonderful experience. On arrival, you can immediately tell that this country estate attracts a rather well-heeled clientele; with the multiple car parks full of Jaguars, Bentleys, Rolls Royces and even a Lamborghini that was parked near our rather humble BMW. I’ve even heard that some guests arrive here by helicopter – I mean, they clearly have the space to land here an’ all, but that just doesn’t seem like real life to me. It’s the sort of thing you only see in movies. Ahh how the other half live!
I’d seen a dress code online for some of the restaurants, but we weren’t sure whether that was a requirement for The Glasshouse and not one to just ‘play it cool’, we got dressed up! On this occasion, we definitely made the right decision as, while a handful of people were pretty casually, most were dressy and after all, we were there to celebrate a special occasion!
The Glasshouse had actually been closed for renovation for a while and was due to re-open a couple of days after Jass’s birthday so we’d timed it well and were one of the first people to see the new look restaurant!
This restaurant is described as a lavish theatrical feast; eight bountiful live food stations with chefs constantly preparing the freshest, tastiest International food. Essentially though, it’s a buffet with open kitchen stations that allow you to watch the chefs in action as they prepare your meals for you to order.
From sushi to yorkshire pudding, pho to tandoori tiger prawns and everything in between, there is something for everybody. Vegetarians, vegans and those with other food allergies are also very well catered for.
I was particularly impressed with the salad station; the majority of the salad were vegan/vegetarian and clearly marked. I have honestly never seen so many vegan cheese offerings in my life – the board was the same size as the regular cheeses, with just as many options!
There were endless varieties of crackers, bread, pickles and chutneys to accompany these. On the other side of the salad bar was the Crustacean station which was complete with a few varieties of vegan sushi.
The grill was very popular on the night, and often there’d be a queue of people all waiting for the roast beef in particular. Speaking of which, Jass described that as incredibly tender and full of flavour – he said it was drool worthy, and the best beef he’s ever eaten! I obviously skipped this part and made a beeline for the roast veg, yorkshire puds and red wine jus – it was simply divine!
Yes, surprisingly, for a vegetarian, I adore roast dinners sans meat and again, I’ve never had one to rival this one before!
At this point, we were feeling pretty stuffed after two platefuls of food, but also disappointed with our poor effort. I’d have loved to sample a little of everything, but with so many offerings, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
I went over to check out the live Asian noodle soup station. The chef makes all the soup to order and you can choose from a base of miso, vegetable broth, pho or thai coconut to start before selecting your meat/veg and type of noodles. I can’t remember what soup I ordered, but I asked the chef to make me half a portion, which he did and it was delicious!
We had to skip the live pasta station and stone oven as we felt as though we were going to burst, however Jass managed to squeeze in a trip to the live tandoor oven. He really enjoyed the chicken and fish and wished he had room for seconds.
After indulging in all that food, we had to take a break before dessert and our waiter recommended going out onto the terrace with our cocktails to have peek before the sun went down. The gardens are beautifully designed; with two ponds, a central lawn, a long water feature with cascading falls and an incredible tree that has been pruned into a perfect square shape.
Reluctantly, we made our way back for dessert, which again, didn’t disappoint! I’m not usually a fan of cake as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, though I was keen to try the vegan desserts and have a taste of the bits Jass picked up. I must admit, I wasn’t keen on the vegan offerings, but the mint choc chip ice cream, pineapple and berries hit the spot nicely.
We left feeling very satisfied and discussing if we can justify making this a regular occurrence! I mean, this is certainly a luxury restaurant, so that’s probably stretching it, but we may have to start a new tradition of coming here for more celebrations, and not just birthdays!
Aside from the glorious meal, my favourite thing was the ambience; it’s fancy but not pretentious which is exactly what I adore. The staff were all incredibly warm and friendly and the service throughout was absolute perfection; friendly, relaxed and attentive.
It’s always a great feeling when a place you’ve wanted to visit for a long time exceeds your expectations, and The Glasshouse did just that.
Jass and I love taking a weekend break away from the hustle and bustle of London every so often and The Grove seems like the idyllic place for a this.
While golf isn’t really my thing, they boast an 18 hole championship golf course which has played host to the likes of Tiger Woods! Personally, however, I’m more interested in their popular luxury spa; Sequoia. I’ve seen photos on their Instagram account and that outdoor heated pool is calling my name! Outdoor pools on warm days are my happy place – I’m such a water baby!
If you missed my vlog over on my YouTube channel or want a closer look at the live cooking action, you can watch it below.