Kerry Allan visits a new pop-up restaurant at The Grove with a focus on classic food with a modern twist.

Located in the heart of this five-star hotel , a new pop-up restaurant at Colette’s at The Grove is the latest dining experience for foodies keen to banish the winter blues.

Less quirky than The Grove’s successful summer pop-up, this newest restaurant is situated in Colette’s, at the heart of The Grove’s elegant 18th century mansion, and offers a unique dining experience in relaxed surroundings.

The sharing dishes will alter as the weeks go by to reflect the changing seasons and demonstrate the culinary flair of imaginative head chef Ross Bott and his team, who are dedicated to making the most of the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in The Grove’s kitchen garden, just a stone’s throw from the mansion.

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There are 30 dishes divided into Fish, Meat, Garden and Dessert categories – but you can enjoy as many of them in whichever order you choose. The menu includes classics with a modern twist, such as succulent roast rack of lamb with feta and oat crumb, (£22), a compact pavé of mushroom with exotic black truffle, (£5), a tender Jerusalem artichoke paired with aromatic caraway gnocchi (£8), and the best baked ratatouille I’ve ever tasted, served with burnt cauliflower purée (£8).

Colette’s recommends three to five small plates per person, which you are told will be brought to the table as soon as they are ready in the kitchen - so it’s a good idea to have an aperitif and take your time to peruse the menu and reach a happy consensus with your fellow diner(s).

My husband tickled his tastebuds with a glass of The Grove’s bespoke beer, made from hops grown in the kitchen garden, while I prepared my palate for the gastronomic adventure ahead with a perfectly pink and tart rhubarb Cosmopolitan.

As you’d expect, the usual impeccable service at The Grove means nothing is too much trouble for the courteous and attentive waiters, who are happy to guide you through the menu, while patiently waiting for orders to be placed and graciously explaining for the umpteenth time that the absence of a bread basket is a deliberate decision to allow the food to shine through.

As promised, the dishes come out at regular intervals, so it’s never long before your mounting excitement is satisfied by the next course under the spotlight.

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My husband’s standout favourite was the magnificently tasty turbot “en papillote” with brown shrimp beurre noisette and charred leeks, (£15) – as delicious as it sounds – while I loved the flaked salmon rillettes (£8) with pickled cucumber, dill and wasabi gazpacho that gave an added complexity to this creamy, but light dish.

The fish dishes are exceptional and we both recommend the wonderfully flavoured seared mullet with chicory, langoustine sauce and sea herbs (£14), and chef Ross’ tasty and sophisticated take on our national favourite – poached cod fillet with salt and vinegar scraps and split pea pure (£12) – guaranteed to convert even the most ardent fish & chips critic.

The orzo pasta with winter truffle (£8) was perfect for the cold February night and I didn’t regret taking the chance to try pigeon for the first time. Served with lentils and lardo (£9), it was succulent with a subtle gamey flavour.

We refrained from ordering dessert while we relaxed and admired the charming décor, but when the time came to make our choice from six classic options, treacle tart with Earl Grey ice cream (£7.50) and apple tarte tartin with salted caramel ice cream (£7.50) provided the perfect end to a delicious meal.

Throughout our meal, we paired our small plates with glasses of a flexible white Burgundy and a smooth red Rioca, which perfectly complimented our fish and lamb choices.

Colette’s pop-up restaurant is the ideal dining experience to share with a significant other, or group of friends and family – enjoying the fun of seeing which small plates you like the best and showing that variety truly is the spice of life! Just remember, you really don’t need to fill up on that bread basket when culinary treats are only a few mouthfuls away.

Colette’s pop-up restaurant at The Grove is open until April 2019. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday, from 6pm to 9pm.

For more details and to book call 01923 296010 or visit

The Grove, Chandler’s Cross, Watford, WD3 4TG