Venue: Peels, Hampton Manor, Hampton-In-Arden, B92 0EN; website
Choice: Wagyu beef brisket (£60, part of tasting) Chooser: James Hill
It takes a minimum of five days to prepare the wagyu beef brisket — three days of brining, followed by a barbecue charring, two days in a 60°C bath, a crucial caramelising moment in a pan, then the Suffolk reared, marbley goodness is brushed with soy butter. That's at least 120 hours of nurture for one element, of one dish. Peels received a Michelin star this year, and it's really rather easy to see why. From the kitchen's clever beetroot and goat's cheese beginnings to the moment we drank the sauce accompanying the mallard main direct from the jug, this is a menu of hits, with no patience for misses. And despite its location at the end of a winding drive behind a classical facade, drinking sauce from a jug is entirely acceptable — encouraged in fact. For this is not a manor house of yesteryear but a beautiful boutique hotel fifteen minutes on the train from Brum, with a young husband-wife team surely in some way endorsed by Duracell, working continually to ensure that Hampton Manor — and its dining room — is synonymous with a good time in real life, as well as on paper in a guide. Menus
Imagery: Fjona Hill
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