There are five Thursdays this June, last night was the first, the restaurant was full and The Grove was doing what it was built to do. Throwing its doors open wide and welcoming guests inside to relax, enjoy and spend a bit of time delighting in each others’ company.
Guests started arriving promptly at six, full of lovelies and this is nices, lots of thank yous and that sounds temptings.
Richard was in fine form fielding questions about the house’s history, its various extensions and reincarnations, the menu; why we have chosen certain dishes and how they have been paired with certain wines.
Meanwhile Stewart and Louise were on front of house duty, and in their own relaxed manners, were making everyone comfortable with pre-dinner drinks, giving extra information about where the cows that produced the cheese were grazed and tending to their every need. (The guests not the cows, that is).
The service bell echoed up the stairs of that once lead “downstairs” bringing memories of 200 years ago – The Gurneys and Barclays discussing their latest plans to take over the banking world, before withdrawing to the (with)drawing room.
At the end of the night, Michael, our head chef, was explaining to one of our guests how our wild garlic was harvested and which parts of the plant we used and why.
John Graveling, whose constant presence at The Grove over the last 40 years has been largely responsible for making the business what it is today, popped in to say hello and “check the pool was alright”.
Wine was sipped, tastes were savoured, belts were loosened, compliments were delivered. It wasn’t an exciting night full of dancing, raucous laughter and wild behaviour. It was relaxed, it was passive; it was quite unremarkable, really, it was just a Thursday in June.