Whatley manor restaurant

Easton Grey, Malmesbury SN16 0RB

The announcement that this luxurious country house hotel would be appointing 25-year-old Niall Keating as its executive chef was met with surprise here at Food and Travel. He had big shoes to  ll: his predecessor Martin Burge garnered two Michelin stars during his 13-year tenure. However, Whatley Manor’s gamble has more than paid off. This Staffordshire-born chef’s experience belies his years and his dishes showcase elements from all the restaurants where he has worked, as well as his own precocious talent. Keating’s cooking doesn’t lend itself to quick bites. A 12-course tasting menu is the order of the day and there’s no à la carte option. Oysters with mignonette sauce nod to his time with Sat Bains, yet the use of seaweed ensures they taste like a kiss from the ocean. Whimsical presentation tells the story of his stint in Copenhagen, while Korean and Japanese in uences honed at San Francisco’s Benu are woven into dishes such as salted rhubarb with umeshu liqueur, a gloriously well-balanced plate. Arrive hungry and prepared to set aside an entire evening and you’ll be delighted. 

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