Paris House is not an everyday dining destination, but it’s somewhere I think every Milton Keynes foodie should pay a visit to! It seems it has become a bit of an annual tradition for Dan and I (and one I am totally on board with continuing…) We visited back in 2018 where we experienced the chef’s table for Dan’s birthday present – and what an experience it was! Our next visit was in February 2019 with some friends who were keen to dip their toe in fine-dining, and this month we returned with Dan’s parents for their Christmas present.
I wrote a blog post about our experience of the Chef’s Table but I wanted to do an updated review because I think it’s really improved since our first visit, cementing itself firmly in the local food scene.
Phil Fanning is the owner of Paris House and has transformed the restaurant into a relaxed yet refined venue that makes great food accessible to everyone. He joined Paris House as Head Chef in 2010 and gained a Michelin Star at aged 29. He and his wife, Claire, fell in love with Paris House and took ownership of the business in 2014.
I think there is a perception with fine dining that it’s overly fancy and a bit pompous, but Paris House couldn’t be far from that. Sure, the location is incredibly grand and the drive through the gates of the Woburn Estate and into the 22-acre deer park sort of makes you feel like you’re in an episode of The Crown, but inside, the vibe is relaxed and the service warm and friendly.
We were welcomed on arrival and our coats were taken away by the friendly staff. They had very kindly provided us with a complimentary bottle of champagne to enjoy before our meal which was greatly appreciated. The Sommelier immediately impressed us with his knowledge of the producer of the champagne!
Paris House offers tasting menus, something which is few and far between in this area. The menus change with the seasons and use the best local produce available. You can choose from six, eight or ten courses. There is also a Sentaku Menu which is an A La Carte menu if you want to make a choice. However, this isn’t as cost-effective as doing a tasting menu, plus, I feel that the whole enjoyment of a tasting menu is exploring and experiencing flavours that you haven’t before.
We went for the six-course tasting menu which is £55 per head. You can also add a paired wine flight for £53 per person if you really want to push the boat out! (This is well worth doing – I love pairing wines!)
We didn’t opt for the wine flight but instead asked for a recommendation for a bottle of red wine that would go seamlessly with most of the dishes. The Sommelier recommended a gorgeous bottle of Shiraz (£38) which was beautiful. Very full-bodied in aroma, but quite light on the palate with a delicate fruitiness. This went down an absolute treat.
Now it’s time for the food!
We were served some bar snacks on a little wooden board to whet our appetites. These included a deliciously fresh bloody mary bubble, salmon cracker and a crisp with mango pureé. All were so delicious with a powerful hit of flavour. I loved the mango pureé crisp to finish, it was so refreshing.
The bread and butter at Paris House is next level. We were served a bowl of bread with two whipped butters – one marmite and one balsamic and olive oil. My god, they were tasty! They were light and airy, with the flavours delicately coming through. So delicious.
Now for the main event! The first course had was Ponzu cured Mackerel with Kohlrabi and cucumber sesame relish. It’s worth saying now that Phil garners lots of inspiration from Asian flavours in his dishes, which is right up my street! The mackerel was slightly smokey so contrasted really well with the bitterness of the Kohlrabi and the freshness of the cucumber relish. Overall, a really delicious, well-balanced dish.
The next course was a work of genius – it was a real celebration of mushrooms! It featured a glazed Abalone mushroom, Crosne Artichoke, a mushroom bonbon and mushroom ketchup. The bonbon was absolutely delicious – it had the texture of confit meat. Everyone also loved the mushroom ketchup, which was rich and nutty. A complete winner in my eyes and a real demonstration of what can be produced with just one ingredient!
Don’t worry – if you are not a fan of mushrooms, you can swap this out for a scallop dish for a supplement!
Course three was something a little different – KFV! Or, Kentucky Fried Veal sweetbread. Seasoned and deep-fried with that classic seasoning, this was served with BBQ Roscoff onion and mustard relish. The dish was quite sharp and salty thanks to the onion, but the deep-fried sweetbread was really moorish!
The final main course was duck which is one of my favourite meats, so I loved this. It featured a duck breast as well as confit duck, both of which were deliciously rich. It was served with red cabbage, Pain d’epice and Port Pickled Quince. The quince paired beautifully with the charred cabbage and the duck. A great celebration of winter flavours.
The first dessert was inspired by a Snowball cocktail. A meringue ‘snowball’ filled with a yuzu custard sat atop zesty ice with a coconut fudge at the bottom of the dish. This was a great palette cleanser. The yuzu was fresh, smooth and sweet. We weren’t sure about the coconut element, but as it was Snowball inspired, it is an essential flavour.
The final dessert was a complete winner for me. Heston Blumenthal always said that taste is enhanced by your emotions and this dish definitely rang true to that. A cannoli filled with rhubarb and custard mousse served with a ginger rice pudding took me back to memories of eating rhubarb and custard sweets out of a paper bag when I was on holiday with my grandparents in the Peak District. It was so delicious and the perfect course to finish a delicious meal.
Well done if you made it to the end of this review – I know it was a meaty post, but I just get SO excited about great tasting food!
I think this visit to Paris House might have been my favourite – I loved every single dish, everything had it’s own little wow factor. If you’re looking for a fine-dining destination, I really recommend Paris House. I think the six-course lunch menu is great value at £55 and the service is really excellent. It’s the perfect place to dip your toes into fine dining!
We are very lucky to have Paris House on our doorstep in Milton Keynes – I am already looking forward to my next visit!
Paris House changes its tasting menus seasonally. The six-course menu is served at lunch time only and is £55 per person. To book a table and view the other menus, visit www.parishouse.co.uk
Have you been to Paris House?
If you like to eat, explore and want to discover new places to eat in Milton Keynes, come and connect with local food lovers in my Eat & Explore MK community group on Facebook!
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- Returning to The Wilderness, Birmingham
- Lunch at The Five Arrows, Waddesdon
- Dinner at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac