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WINING & DINING -HAMPTON MANOR


Guests were seated on long trestle tables in a U-shape to set the stage for the theatrical and interactive segments of the party. And set in the heart of the U tables was The Butcher’s Block table, initially laden with Hendrick’s (cucumber, rose), Monkey 47 (cranberries), and Copperhead (grapefruit) gins. Nicki’s a proper gin lover (who isn’t?!); “I tried a grapefruit gin over Christmas which I loved. I also like Stratford Mulberry Gin and Fever Tree tonic.”


When it comes to wine, she hands the reins over to her husband. Paul is a bit of a wine buff, and a big fan of the Manor’s Wine Director, Sam Olive, enjoying his youthful approach to wines. On the night, he talked to Nicky’s guests about the wine pairings that he’d put together for her bespoke tasting dinner.


But Nicki’s a self-proclaimed foodie! I ask her where she goes for a treat dinner. The key for Nicki is fresh, seasonal produce which, conveniently, is perfectly aligned with the menu at Peel’s. Canapés included Berkswell mushroom with marmite, duck tartare orange with pain d’epices, and crab with lobster. Homemade bread and wagyu fat butter led the way to heritage tomato, elderflower, burrata, and then lamb, baby gem, lovage.


Time for the ultimate question: starter or pudding? “Both, if I can! I have a sweet tooth but do enjoy starters.” After dinner the Butcher’s Block was laid with strawberry, cream, shortbread, and chocolate, mint, cookie crumb desserts. To add a bit of theatre, these nitro desserts were served


by the Peel’s Restaurant chefs in front of Nicki’s guests. A show- stopping tower of cheeses then took the guests through to the early hours.


You may recognise one of these guests. Comedian and Celebrity Masterchef finalist Hardeep Singh Kohl hosted the evening, keeping the laughter-levels high with his refreshingly edgy comedy. “He came to Paul’s birthday gathering to cook for us all and became a family friend. He’s just a great big personality, with a funny, fantastic presence in a big room.”


The question is, how do you end the perfect evening? That’s easy when you’ve got a whole Manor house to play with. By tumbling upstairs to Arts and Crafts inspired bedrooms, and reminiscing on the evening with your nearest and dearest over a full English in Peel’s the following morning. And the verdict: “Hampton Manor delivered in every way! The guests were blown away and talked about it for a long time after.”


I asked what she took away from the night. “I had the most fantastic night of my life. When I think about it, it makes me feel emotional and so overwhelmingly happy at how well it went. The way the room looked, with the flowers, the hanging lights, the graffiti numbers and name cards, to the gin selections, the delicious food, the MC, the DJ, and the stunning dessert table. Everything I’d planned with the Hampton Manor team exceeded my expectations. It was perfect.”


hamptonmanor.com Tel: 01675 446080 / 77


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