Restaurant review: Paris House, Woburn

The extraordinary Paris House is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant, set in 22 acres of parkland on the beautiful Woburn estate.  Built as part of the Paris Exhibition in 1878, the Renaissance half-timber structure was dismantled and rebuilt in Woburn at the behest of the 9th Duke of Bedford.  Among its many incarnations, the building has been accommodation for staff of Woburn Abbey, a ‘tonsil hospital’ and also played host to generals and royals during WWII.  At the end of the kitchen garden is a bunker, rumoured to have been built for Winston Churchill as a bolt-hole from his work at nearby Bletchley Park.

The unique (and a bit bonkers) building stands alone amidst the parkland at the end of an incredibly imposing, sweeping driveway. If you’re looking to impress someone, this is the place to take them!

Owner and executive chef, Phil Fanning and his wife Clare have recently overseen a refurbishment of the dining areas, creating a modern and relaxed atmosphere. “It reflects our style and personality,” said Phil.  “We’ve created a private dining room on the ground floor which can also be opened up to become part of the main restaurant. The rooms are now much more versatile.”

Team Clanger’s lunch was in association with England’s leading wine producer Chapel Down. The six course tasting menu was a feast for the eyes and the taste-buds. While the food was the star of the show, a highlight was definitely a demonstration of sabrage – the technique of opening a bottle of sparkling wine with a sword.  Following a flawless demonstration by James McLean of Chapel Down, the sabre was offered to a member of the gathered guests to have a go.  Imagine our relief when a fellow diner stepped up to the plate. We valued our thumbs (and doubted our prowess) too much to volunteer!

Our menu featured:

Salt baked, pickled and spaghetti of heirloom carrot with a cold pressing of carrot, dill seed and green carrot top.

Cured trout with a quinine sorbet served with crispy ginger and compressed cucamelons evokes botanicals of gin with the essence of tonic.

‘KFV’ – our Kentucky Fried Veal Sweetbreads are smoky and rich with sun dried tomato, smoked onion and chipotle chillies

Duck brined in fenugreek then marinated in yoghurt and cooked in the style of tandoori.

Paris House’s take on a traditional Japanese confection: Apricot Mochi

Green apple with angelica and buttermilk

Paris House has many charms: its unique setting, the beautiful building, the relaxed atmosphere, a super-talented chef, passionate team and incredible food – all paired with amazing wines.  While we can’t guarantee that you’ll witness a man slicing the cork off a wine bottle we can confirm that you’ll have a unique and memorable dining experience and one that we’d highly recommend.

parishouse.co.uk  tel: 01525 290692  chapeldown.com


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