Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Stables, Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe

There comes a time in the life of every Warwickshire lass when the sight of another thatched roof is too much to bear. When one more guide speaking in a cod-rural accent will just make you want to kick his teeth in. What you long for is red bricks and overstuffed rooms with heavy, dark curtains. Actual soft furnishings instead of yet another stupid hardwood 'settle'.

Such environments bring a different class of tea room, too. Gone are the Tudorbethan possets and thick crusty breads. More like 'all our foods are sourced from within the grounds' stuff, so jams and honeys and fruit pies. This establishment is in the old stables of Disraeli's manor with a big picnic area in the central courtyard. Lots of big, refectory-style wooden benches and tables.
Access was absolutely fine, although the ground is a little bit uneven.

This is a National Trust place so the food was good quality. A limited menu of sandwiches and light lunches with the specials which, as with all National Trust eateries, invariably involves quiche. We had the bread and butter pudding and the shortbread. The former was lovely. Smooth, not too chewy with a sugary crunch on the top. There didn't seem to be much dried fruit or raisins; but then I was hungry and the thing barely saw daylight. The shortbread was heavily sugared, broke with a satisfying snap, lots of crumbs that stick to your lips and end up mulched around your gums. Coffee was a latte but a little disappointing. Served in a small white mug, it was more of a 'flat white' with no foam or creaminess to speak of, and a tendency for the milk to start forming a skin, if you left it too long between sips. Still, for all that it was drinkable.

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