The Glasshouse innovates fine dining at The Grove hotel

All good restaurants adapt their menus to the changing tastes of the seasons; some refresh their offering weekly or add a splash of specials to pique the taste buds – at The Glasshouse restaurant in Hertfordshire, we’re taking choice and creativity to another level. Put simply, you’d have to eat at The Glasshouse every day for eight weeks before you’d see the same dish twice, and even then, it would come with a deliciously fresh twist.

At The Grove, we’ve already earned our reputation as one of the leading venues for fine dining in Hertfordshire. In addition to putting Colette’s on the map, we’re also blazing a trail in menu innovation at The Glasshouse, and transforming the concept of buffet-style for today’s discerning diners who seek experiences that are as exciting as the food.

Our inspiration behind The Glasshouse was to create a genuinely one-of-a-kind dining experience. We’re proud to be able to consistently offer an impressive smorgasbord of premium quality dishes in a style and setting that makes sampling the finest flavours from around the world a truly memorable occasion.  Adding to the wow factor is the fact that you can watch our talented chefs prepare each dish from scratch – theatre-style dining at its very best.

Our Head Chef and his vision

Our Head Chef, Andrew Parkinson, whose previous roles include executive chef at Brasserie Zedel and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in London, is on a mission to serve foods that appeal to and delight all our guests, catering for all tastes and dietary needs.

“We’re passionate about consistently refreshing and innovating our menu selection and it’s exciting to be able to offer guests a completely new dining experience every time they visit. It’s wonderful for guests and inspiring for us. The buffet-style offering is not just about filling your boots, although guests can certainly do that, it’s about generosity of choice and the thought that has gone into making it a talking point every single day.”

On the buffet

At The Glasshouse, we make every day of the week a special event, unveiling an array of menu options for lunch and dinner, designed to surprise and delight. The buffet comprises three vast ‘themed’ spreads: fine meats, fish and an Asian selection – these menus change daily.

Feeling peckish? Let us transport you to Madrid, Paris or Rome, with authentic tapas and antipasti, premium cured meats and fish from artisan producers, along with seven different deliciously creative salads that can be served as a starter or main course.

Ready for the main event? Rib-eye beef, sourced from Donald Russell farms in Scotland – purveyors to The Queen – is Parkinson’s signature dish and the star attraction for meat lovers. Slow-cooked with garlic, rosemary and thyme, it’s so tender that it falls off the bone and melts in the mouth. We make sure this premium cut of meat is served with the very best of traditional trimmings: home-made Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, root vegetables and leafy greens complete the medley of flavours that makes this a ‘roast’ that can only be described as sublime. The gravy is gluten-free and there’s a vegetable option to choose from, too.

What’s the catch of the day? The fish station presents diners with a sumptuous catch of fresh, oak-smoked fish and succulent shellfish, including seabass, lobster, whole salmon, giant scallops and the juiciest king prawns, langoustines, and calamari.

Who wants more spice? The Asian station comprises a myriad of Far Eastern and Oriental delicacies and speciality dishes, alternately showcasing the finest taste sensations of Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese cuisines. Creamy yet light chicken green curries with fragrant jasmine rice, Thai noodle dishes with fried seabass, pork or beef infused with the heady aroma of lemongrass, sweet and spicy dim sum, and rich and delicately spiced lamb masala to name but a few.

Dreaming of a sweet finale? Dessert is a veritable artform: you’ll be treated to a mesmerising choice of 11 glorious sweet sensations, including fine patisserie with intricate spun sugar, decadently rich chocolate soufflé, tangy lemon mouse, sumptuous cheesecakes and delicate fruit sorbets. For serious chocolate lovers of all ages, the stunning chocolate fountain which joins the repertoire on Fridays-Sundays adds to the ‘theatre’ and delight.

From kitchen garden to fork

When it comes to sourcing fresh produce, it doesn’t get more local. Our chefs pluck fresh vegetables and herbs direct from our very own kitchen garden, in which an abundance of produce is grown. In fact, when the crops begin to sprout and bloom in April, we are able to provide 60% of the restaurant’s needs. This delightful kitchen garden is just one of the features of our stunning and unique walled garden, situated in the grounds of our countryside estate.

Having a piece of nature’s larder on tap is also a source of inspiration for our menu design.

“I get some of my best ideas for dishes when I’m just walking around the garden. It’s magical to watch the ingredients grow before we work with them in the kitchen”, says Parkinson. “I look closely to see what’s coming along and then create dishes and garnishes to time with when they are at their finest. When I show people around, it gives me enormous pride as it really is such a special space to visit, as well as an incredible resource for chefs like me who are passionate about quality and provenance of ingredients. When I worked in London restaurants, we’d have to dash to Tesco’s if we ran out of rosemary, so this is another world.“

Vegetarian and vegan dining

In response to growing demand, Parkinson is also devising a wealth of new dishes for vegetarians. Currently, all seven salads are meat-free and there are two new vegetarian dishes such as chickpea casserole or aubergine parmigiana featured every day. Vegan dishes will be more prominent soon and we have a selection of delicious dishes planned for spring.

Parkinson is committed to ensuring the kitchen also has the additional flexibility to create bespoke dishes: “When we know we have a guest who is vegetarian or vegan, one of our chefs will always go and speak with them in person so that we can ensure we prepare something special for them,” he says. “We understand that they may have questions about ingredients and we make sure that they feel well taken care of.”

Dining al fresco

In the summer months, or as soon as the sun comes out and the temperatures rise, we open The Terrace, where guests at The Glasshouse are welcome to dine and enjoy views of our beautiful landscaped gardens. Whilst we are located just 19 miles from London, in this tranquil spot surrounded by some of England’s peachiest countryside, you’ll feel a very long way from the hurly burly of the city. Fine wine, English roses and birdsong – this is modern dining with the very best of old world charm.

Parties and celebrations

If you would like to book for a group of more than seven people or you would like to enquire about booking for bigger parties and special celebrations, our team is on hand to assist with all arrangements.

Price guide

Given that a main meal of this quality alone would costs around £20 in comparable restaurants of this calibre, this three-course buffet also impresses when it comes to receiving the bill.

Lunch costs just £39pp Monday to Friday, £43pp on Saturdays and £56pp on Sundays. From Sunday to Thursday, dinner costs £46pp and £56pp on Fridays and Saturdays.

For further information or to book a table online, contact our reservations team on 01923 296010 or email reservations@thegrove.co.uk

Stays at our luxury five-star hotel, spa and golf resort start from £265 per night. Check out our latest limited edition special offers for Spring 2018.