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The Brasserie at Lucknam Park, Calne

The rule-breaking little brother to Lucknam Park’s Michelin starred restaurant, The Brasserie proves that au courant cooking can work in a classic setting, writes Kathryn Lewis

There aren’t many five-star country house hotels where, if you’re not up for the tasting menu that evening, you can feast on wood-fired pizza or a bloody good burger with all the thrills.

However, at Lucknam Park, diners of all persuasions – vegans, carnivores, laid-back lunchers and distinguished foodies – can eschew the smart dining of the Michelin starred restaurant to agonise over an innovative menu of informal and easygoing finds.

VISIT for a relaxed rendition of Lucknam Park Hotel’s star offering. Seasonal and local are still buzzwords in this kitchen, and dishes such as wood-roast Cornish cod with gently spiced Bombay potato, silky cauli velouté and curry-spiked raisins could easily go undercover on Restaurant Hywel Jones’ à la carte line-up. Yet revised classics at The Brasserie share menu space with crowd pleasers like truffled mac ‘n’ cheese and hand-raised venison pie.

The options for plant-based foodies are particularly interesting. Instead of ticking the box with the standard single vegan listing, there’s an entire menu of creative veg-led compilations which would seduce even die-hard meat eaters. A starter of tempura purple sprouting broccoli with Keralan spices, punchy mango puree and cucumber and mint yogurt made the case succinctly.

DON’T VISIT freshly robed after a dip in the pool. While The Brasserie shares a roof with the uber-swanky spa and is relaxed about its dress code, rocking up to dinner in sliders and swimwear is a definite no-no.

WE LIKED watching the brigade of chefs – led by Great British Menu competitor Thomas Westerland and overseen by executive chef Hywel – caramelise planks of juicy pineapple in the wood-fired oven, plate up Asian-style Portland crab salad at the pass and exchange friendly banter in the open-theatre kitchen.

Insider's tip

Visit in summer when the bi-fold windows are open and diners spill out into the gorgeous walled garden.

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