Skinny Prosecco launches at Colette’s
Skinny + Prosecco were destined to be together. And when you add Colette's to the mix, with its warm autumnal interiors and stunning food, well, you're in for a bit of a treat!
The Grove has always known how to create fizz and a buzz. Earlier this year I enjoyed a delicious lunch in The Stables, but the only time I’ve ever been here for a special event was once, long ago, before The Grove opened as a hotel (together with Sequoia spa, restaurants, walled garden, you name it). It was a press trip, and all these London journos arrived on a coach and everyone was very excited to be out of London and in the country, and had the journey really only taken 20 minutes? We ate lunch at a big table in the kitchen and the chef was there to tell us how it was all made, and all I can remember is how delicious the food was. It was a mere hint of the delights to come when The Grove opened for visitors. And of course, we drank lots of champagne.
Last week, I was invited to Colette’s, at The Grove. There was much excitement, and it was all quite glam. (Although, before you start to think about dress code, there isn’t really a dress code, so…relax!) Colette’s is split into two dining rooms, and one flows into the other, and the atmosphere was both ambrosial and autumnal. The occasion? The launch of Skinny Prosecco at The Grove. Never heard of Skinny Prosecco? It’s virtuous without being smug, and it’s organic, vegan and low in sugar. I’ve just interviewed Amanda Thomson, who invented the Skinny range, and has just brought her Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco to Hertfordshire.
As you can imagine, it’s hard to not feel in a party mood when you’re handed one of these cocktails. This was the start of our 5-course autumn menu, specially created by Colette’s chef Russell Bateman to match the 3 versions of Skinny we’d be invited to sample. It’s worth pointing out that The Grove has a wonderfully restored and flourishing walled garden, and there were many leaves and berries that found their way onto our plates from the rich soil of Chandler’s Cross.
There was a veggie menu and my dining companions were making lots of ooh! and aah! sounds around me, while I was on a different path. First up was this little number. It looks innocent, and it was devilishly unctuous but I still could have eaten the whole lot again. It was intensely savoury and our eyes did that Kerpow! stretchy thing when your tastebuds are doing a samba. I love celeriac, and the Tunworth cheese was melty in the way cheese goes when you bake a whole one in a box. The crunchy topping was the sourdough; a perfect contrast. It tasted of autumn. Oh, and how can I forget? This was my first introduction to Skinny Prosecco, in its purest form. We did a lot of nodding and frowning while we tasted it and pronounced it light, tasty, far too easy to drink, and likely not to give anyone a hangover regardless of the amount taken. It was less sweet than other prosecco (a good thing, in my books), and it had a definite taste, rather than sugar being the overpowering flavour. We gave it a big thumbs up.
The fish course was sensational, and actually I would like to eat it all over again, right now. It was time to taste Champagne Brut, and again, we liked the flavour, and the dryness. The ravioli floated on a kind of bisque which was another treat for the senses. Thank you, Russell Bateman!
Oh, hello. It’s the main course. And hello again, because we were presented with a glass of Skinny Champagne Rosé. By this time we were accumulating an impressive array of glasses. I liked the rosé. Again, noticeably unsweet, and all the better for it. And as we sipped and slurped, there was much glee at the thought that we were consuming half the calories (this may not be mathematically accurate, but definitely fewer calories), and that despite the fact that it was looking likely that we’d finish every last drop, the thought of being clear headed the morning after was most pleasing. The pheasant was light and refreshing and what a wonderful blend of flavours. The kale won a lot of admirers. I think it was from the walled garden.
Nearly there! Colette’s, just in case you hadn’t noticed, is seriously creative, and in a fun way. When I read ‘poached autumn fruits’ on a menu, I wasn’t expecting a slice. Not a terrine, as such, but a slab of seasonal goodness (and yes, I think someone had been back to the garden for the ingredients). Fruit always feels like the healthy option, and we were feeling healthy overall given our vegan and low sugar drinks. I loved the caramelised walnut and walnut ice cream. A kind of autumn nod to the summer pudding. And look: a Skinny Prosecco cocktail to finish, with the plumpest blackberries and perhaps a blackberry cordial mixed in. It definitely wasn’t Ribena. Colette’s is far too sophisticated for that. I had a great time, and so did everyone else. We were incredibly well looked after, and if you’d like to enjoy the 5-star, 5-course experience at Colette’s, there’s another cork-popping dinner coming up, this time with Bollinger.