within walking distance
Customised for the customer
Nowhere is the Sheraton's desire to make its guests feel at home more evident than in the Orchard Restaurant. Chef Lee Heaton is all about pleasing the customer. Coming up with a menu himself might be what most chefs would have done, but not him; he went to the trouble of giving customers a questionnaire asking them what their favourite meals were and what they'd like to eat when they came to the Sheraton, and drew up his menu in response to their answers. And he didn't stop there; guests tested the dishes before the recipes were finalised, and adjustments were made accordingly. The gorgeous apple crumble, for example, was made sweeter after initial feedback that it was too tart.
The menu features salads, soups, pasta dishes, meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, and the hotel prides itself on its sublime steaks of Hereford beef, and its Wagyu Kobe burger, made from what is considered to be the finest beef in the world. And it's not only home-cooked food but home-grown too - the hotel grows its own herbs and fruit, gets its vegetables from the farm over the road, and bakes its own olive oil and oregano bread every morning. Most of the rest of the produce comes from within a hundred-mile radius.
- Breakfast: 6am to 10.30am (11am at weekends)
- Lunch: Noon to 2.30pm
- Dinner: 6.30pm to 10pm
- Link Cafe:
- 6am to 3pm
- Orchard Lounge:
- Snacks: From 5pm
For lunch, we started with a loaf of the very moreish aforementioned bread, before moving on to the famous burger - which was served with slightly seasoned, perfectly chunky, carry-on-eating-them-no-matter-how-full-you-are chips. And despite being full of chips, we also found room for a mountainous portion of apple crumble with custard, which we think was the best we've ever eaten.
For dinner, we tucked into a superb plate of cumberland sausages, served with a sweet, caramelised onion gravy and of course, a healthy dollop of mash - you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of its mashed potato - then somehow found room for a tasty chocolate fondant with pieces of honeycomb and honeycomb ice cream. Yes, we had to be rolled home the next day.
Not to be overlooked, however, are the astonishingly good Hereford beef steaks. With four of us slicing into succulent sirloins and fillets, we think we had a pretty good bearing of the quality - we barely spoke through the entire course, they were so good! And there are even accompanying wine recommendations for you to try. My medium fillet was simply and delicately seasoned, served only with grilled tomato slices and large, flat mushrooms, but this cut of lean, red meat was almost as thick and as soft as the pillows in my bedroom. Definitely. try. the. steak.
Snacks are also available in the Link Café and the Orange Lounge
Home comforts and hospitality
Such is the Sheraton's desire to please that even if something's not on the menu, they'll make it for you if they can.
Breakfast is a huge expanse of continental and hot items: smoked salmon, cheeses, cold meats, salad, hard-boiled eggs, brioche, pastries, croissants, cereals, yogurt and fresh and dried fruit. There's a further cooked menu too, which includes treats such as French toast with cinnamon and American-style pancakes. To spread on your toast there's chocolate spread, marmite, honey and jam; to drink there are smoothies, fruit juice, tea, coffee and mineral water. The cost is £16.50 for English breakfast, and £15 for continental breakfast.