The Mandolay Hotel Head Chef, Mark Lawton (pictured above) was awarded his 2nd AA Rosette earlier this year after receiving his first last march; only a month into working at the Hotel. Mark has worked profusely on improving his menu each season and it seems as though the hard work has paid off, with rumours of the restaurant ‘heading in the right direction’ for a third AA Rosette next year. We have been lucky enough to sit down with Head Chef Mark, for an exclusive look into the Mandolay.
The 2 AA Rosette restaurant is the only restaurant in the area to receive such recognition, making it a very special edition to the area. Situated just outside Guildford town on London Road, The Mandolay offers a perfect location for visitors to stay, with a combined bonus of experiencing the best restaurant in town.
As soon as you walk into the elegant and sophisticated dining room, expect to feel pampered with delicious complimentary canapes to awaken your taste buds whilst settling in to a relaxed and casual dining experience. The décor is very clean cut and refined to match the seasonal menu on offer.
What makes this gorgeous restaurant stand out from the rest, is that you can enjoy a high quality food and dining, without breaking the bank. Locals have the best of both worlds at its doorstep; a fine dining experience, with an affordable price range. Head Chef, Mark encourages the public that would normally choose big branded chains to try the Mandolay, “many people are afraid to go to a fine dining restaurant as they expect it to be upper class restricted, but we ensure that our simplistic menu has a varied price bracket, so that it can be just as affordable as a standard restaurant you go to regularly, but you will experience another level of cooking with the freshest produce”
If someone asked you what they should choose off your new menu, what dishes would you recommend to them? – “I would recommend them all! I always recommend people to choose contrasting dishes, so if you were to choose a fish starter, then choose a meat main course and vice versa; by doing so you can really experience the difference between the flavours and style of cooking”
“If I had to choose out of the new menu I would definitely recommend the Scallops served with Wild Sorrel Veloute & Pickled Wet Walnuts or the Roasted Quail served with Faggot, Pumpkin Veloute, Quince Gel & Mousseron for Starter. For Main I would definitely say Chicken in the Woods or the Lamb. We have been working very hard on our lamb dish for a while now and it’s certainly evolved beautifully”
How would you describe your style of cooking? – “My philosophy of food is seasonal, fresh and local produce. I use simple but high quality ingredients to elevate them into a more refined dish without all the fuss. I love to show off the fact that we do only use local British produce, and that we support our local butchers by using the two oldest butchers in the country… you can’t get any more British than that.
I have a classic French style of cooking, as I was trained as a core classic chef when I first started out in the kitchen, so I love to keep these techniques in my dishes. For example, you’ll find that I still poach the fish in a classic stock called ‘court bouillon'”
The new autumn menu really reflects how Mark describes his style of cooking, with his classical French techniques combined with a modern twist on the plating. We have a sneak preview of some of the dishes you can expect to be seeing below.
For more information on The Mandolay, please visit their website: https://www.guildford.com/