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Muddy Eats: Paris House – Bedford

Elegance, class, sophistication...no, we're not talking about ourselves! Paris House oozes beauty through its impressive food and location.

 

THE LOWDOWN

It’s been a while since I had to look up a dress code for a restaurant, so it probably gives you some indication of where Paris House sits in restaurant circles. Some of the blurb says that elegance, class and sophistication all go hand-in-hand with Paris House, and on this occasion, I have to agree. It’s owned by Phil and Claire Fanning (Phil was formerly head chef when the restaurant re-opened in 2010), who have brought their expertise, passion and creative flair together since they took over ownership back in 2014. It’s Michelin recommended so you know this isn’t any ordinary grub, and trust us, it’s something rather special with a specific focus on its unique tasting menu. Phil and his team have a huge passion for craftsmanship, incredible ingredients and impeccable service, so you really can expect innovative and modern food at its finest. In the heart of Woburn Park, it’s also quite the setting to enjoy this kind of food, and of course there’s a fabulous wine selection too!

Parish House cheesecake (I know, right)!

Phil gained a Michelin star at the age of 29 – he’s got other awards too (gah, must step up my game) so he really knows his stuff when it comes to food, and Claire has worked Front of House for some of the country’s finest restaurants and industry bods (including Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin Starred Hand and Flowers). Their commitment to Paris House is absolute, they truly love the place, and it’s become so much part of their family even the kids regularly pop in and help out on the pass or testing out the latest dishes (why oh why was my Dad a welder?)!

 

THE VIBE

The colour scheme is both classic and modern, and the attention to detail is spot on (Muddy Towers lounge has just been painted teal so I heartily approve of the colour scheme). Phil and Claire’s hard work really has paid off because this place is super elegant whilst not feeling overly stuffy (don’t get me wrong though, it’s probably not the restaurant you go to with your mates to belt out karaoke classics after a bottle or two)! The staff are all trained to a super high standard and they seem rather happy to be there. You’re very much a guest at Paris House and and the staff take great care of you which is probably why the clientele ranged from young couples to octogenarians and group business lunches to parents (I took the Mudlet; she hoovered up every course plus two bread baskets; can’t take her anywhere)!

 

SCOFF & QUAFF

Paris House Venison

This is posh nosh and each seasonal menu is expertly crafted to produce a high impact and ‘sensational dining adventure’, sounds exciting doesn’t it? The seasonality and quality of ingredients used are at the heart of everything created at Paris House. Phil’s love of refined Japanese cooking techniques is pivotal in getting the best out of each ingredient and achieving maximum flavour in every dish. He’s hugely passionate on craftsmanship and will spend a whole day with the team each week on development; did you think this place could get any better?

Phil Fanning showing us how it’s done (we met him, he was lovely AND talented)!

I had the Sentaku Choice menu which is their version of an a la carte menu designed for those who have less time or a smaller appetite (to be honest, I could have eaten the tasting menu but I wasn’t sure if Mudlet could have kept off her phone for that long)! I went vegetarian for both courses and the Bao Bun (steamed dumpling with kimchi and tofu – £28) was a taste sensation!

Mudlet the meat eater went venison (roast loin, black pudding, chicory & hazelnut – £33) and said it was very, very tasty and superbly cooked. I think she may have been put off a little about the roaming deer in the park, but she’d eaten her plate up by that point – phew! The Bauble pudding (blackberry, spiced orange and ruby chocolate), was a fantastic festive spectacle; and tasted as good as it looked!

OUT & ABOUT

The restaurant’s USP (unique selling point ; ) is its location. It’s set in the stunning 22-acre deer park of the Woburn Estate in Bedfordshire, so you can enjoy a stroll around the park after indulging. The Estate has plenty to do so you can easily fill a day, there’s the Woburn Safari Park with over 1000 animals. Paris House is only 10-15 minutes south of Milton Keynes, and in the Estate itself, it’s 1.7 miles from the Woburn Hotel. It’s pretty easy to spot with its large gates and long driveway, and of course the extremely pretty exterior.

MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Calling all foodies who like fine dining, tasting menus and trying out innovative food; this is the perfect place for you! Also for anyone who fancies a special treat really; it’s very elegant and the staff make you feel super special as soon as you step in. Worth a note that there were several vegetarian and vegan options, even on the tasting menu!

Not for: Toddlers and ravers – we don’t think the littlies (or party animals) would have the attention span for a tasting menu (although you can pick individual dishes if you’re short on time, why would you in a gorgeous place like this); this one’s a treat for those who can sit still for longer than a few minutes!

The damage: Fine dining isn’t cheap as chips, but Paris House comes in at a rather reasonable £54 for 6 courses, £96 for 8, and £115 for 10 (wine pairings available). You really get what you pay for though, this food is true art.

HAVE A PEAK AT THEIR TASTING MENUS

6 Course Winter Lunch

Brandade

Herb Crusted Sea Bass, Yukon Gold Soup & Dill Oil

Berton Vineyard, Foundstone, Australia, 2017

Beetroot

Quince Vinegar & Jasmine

Ollifantsberg, Chenin Blanc, South Africa, 2015

Rabbit

Quince Vinegar & Jasmine

Ollifantsberg, Chenin Blanc, South Africa, 2015

Black Pig

Cavolo Nero, Salsify, Sauerkraut & Bacon

Echeverria, Carmenere Reserva, Chile, 2016

Artisan Cheese

Artisan Cheeses & Garnishes

Individually or to Share £12/£18 Supplement

Rhubarb

Ginger, Orange & Rum

Monsoon Valley, Late Harvest, Hua Hin Hills, Thailand, 2017

Devil’s Food Cake

Hazelnut & Coffee

Elysium, Andrew Quady, California, 2016

Paris House

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