This was my birthday lunch treat. Firstly, the Brasserie is lovely architecturally; bright, modern, with huge windows looking out onto lawn and trees. But when we walked in, nobody greeted us or made us feel welcome; we were just shown to our table by a very young and distracted member of staff. This is not a cheap lunch option, so I expected a little more attention. We started with a glass of bubbly (£10!) and the bread board. I was impressed by the wild garlic and parmesan swirl, although it was oddly called focaccia on the menu. My smoked mackerel starter was gorgeous fish-wise, although the billed 'pickled samphire' was more like raw samphire, and a little too 'green' tasting. The crab cakes were nice for what they were, particularly the sweet corn 'veloute' they sat on, but they were more like potato croquettes with a tiny bit of crab hiding underneath. The waiter assured me there was also crab inside the croquettes (sorry, 'cakes') but I couldn't see or taste any. This starter of 3 small 'crab cakes' cost £12, so I expected a little more crab. For dessert, 'tarragon creme brulee with raspberry salad' sounded too intriguing to pass up. The balance of tarragon was just right; but 'raspberry salad'? Please - it was 4 macerated raspberries on top of the brulee with a bit of chopped tarragon. My husband's Eton Mess was apparently not 'messy' enough. The wine list is very expensive. Our wine was served by a very nervous and non-communicative waiter who fumbled unsmilingly with where to put the bottle, and reached right in front of me to pour wine into my husband's glass. Not impressed. While we were there the sun came out, and I hoped they would open the huge patio doors (as did our neighbours who were similarly hot and bothered) but they merely turned the heating off/down, and did not give a satisfactory explanation for why they wouldn't open the patio doors. When we left, after spending over £100, nobody acknowledged our leaving or said goodbye. I felt quite disappointed. With apologies to my husband who treated me, but will no doubt read this, I have to say that the Lucknam Park Brasserie promises more than it delivers.
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