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AD – This meal was complimentary in return for a review.

One of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday is getting out and about and exploring the local area. I am very lucky that there are plenty of beautiful places on my doorstep, including the lovely Waddesdon Manor which is one of my favourite National Trust properties in Buckinghamshire. In the heart of the village of Waddesdon and at the gates of the manor, is a beautiful grade II listed building which stands on the site of an old coaching inn. The Five Arrows is a boutique hotel and restaurant which originally houses the architects and craftsman working on the Manor. The name comes from the Rothschild family emblem of a shield surrounded by five arrows.

I was invited to sample the new menu at The Five Arrows following its refurbishment towards the start of the year. The interior has been totally refreshed, with a swanky new bar and snug area for cosying up by the fire. The building itself is absolutely stunning: it is almost castle-like and you cannot miss it as you drive past. We planned our lunch at The Five Arrows on Easter Saturday so we were very blessed with the weather! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky so on arrival, we decided to order a Hendricks G&T and sit in the beautiful garden to soak up the midday sun. This gave us a leisurely half hour to peruse the menus and decide what we fancied!

We were swiftly offered a jug of iced tap water, a very welcome touch on such a warm day. It seemed a shame to sit inside on such a beautiful day, but The Five Arrows offers a slightly smaller bar menu for outside diners. We were there to sample the full delights of their lunch and dinner menus so we had to make a small sacrifice!

The menu is concise but nearly everything appealed to mine and Dan’s tastes, so we had a tough time making a decision! The way it is set out is quite ‘fine dining’, with the main ingredient and accompanying ingredients listed. I quite enjoy this as it means you don’t always know how the dish will be presented! To start, I decided on the crispy lamb belly on a bed of baby gem lettuce, cucumber, mint and yoghurt (£8). I absolutely love lamb and this dish met all of my expectations. The flavours were fresh and light making for the perfect accompaniment to the succulent lamb which had a perfectly crispy skin.

Dan opted for the mushroom tart which was encased in a crisp parmesan pastry, full of crispy onions and mushrooms and topped with a cooked egg yolk (£7.50). This was such a tasty starter. The pastry was so crisp – no soggy bottoms here – and the mushrooms packed with flavour. It also looked pretty as a picture so this went down a treat.

Despite eyeing up the fish finger sandwich on the bar menu, I opted for something a little more refined! The poached cod loin with asparagus, peas, grelot onion and jersey royals (£18.50) was the perfect spring dish. Melt in the mouth fish on a bed of fresh, crispy vegetables – dreamy! It was swimming in a buttery, parsley sauce which was just delicious. It was the perfect light dish for a warm day.

After much deliberation, Dan chose the Five Arrows fish pie (£16.50). This mash-topped pie was packed with smoked haddock, king prawns and salmon and was served with spring greens. Dan found it pretty difficult to dive into straight away as it was such a hot little pot! However, once it cooled off he enjoyed it. He did find that because it was so hot, the prawns continued to cook so ended up a little on the rubbery side. This was a very good home comforts dish!

Satisfied but not too full, it was time to ponder over the dessert menu… I was drawn to the spiced caramelised pineapple (£7.50) which was served with a scoop of coconut sorbet and lime curd. Oh my goodness this was GOOD. I would have liked the pineapple to be a little softer and perhaps a little more spiced, but the coconut sorbet and lime curd totally stole the show! So much tropical goodness on a plate. Thumbs up from me.

Following on from home comforts, Dan chose the rhubarb and custard bakewell (£7.50) which was served with a scoop of stem ginger ice cream and a drizzle of rhubarb syrup. The ice cream, however, was definitely not stem ginger – oops! It was vanilla which we didn’t actually clock until we’d finished the plate! The bakewell tart was sweet with the rhubarb adding tartness to the palate. Another winner on the dessert front!

Our lunch at The Five Arrows was absolutely delightful! I had heard mixed reviews about the restaurant so was very pleased that it exceeded expectations. It’s a lovely stop for a bite to eat before exploring Waddesdon Manor. The service was warm and friendly and the food tasted as good as it looked. I definitely need to find out where they got their crockery from…

To view menus and make a booking, visit: www.fivearrows.co.uk

DISCLAIMER: This meal was complimentary in return for a review. This doesn’t affect my opinion – it will always be honest!

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Milton Keynes based blogger who likes to eat and explore.