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RATINGS
Food
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CUISINES
European, British
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Drinks
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meals, features, about
Reviews (169)
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84
46
13
16
7
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LanguageEnglish
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Traveller rating
84
46
13
16
7
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All reviews three course meal chicken steak chilston park great restaurant excellent surroundings nice dining room wine list original features plaster grounds ceiling suits rooms
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Reviewed 1 August 2021

We stayed overnight and our package included a 5 course tasting menu. It was a very unimaginative menu, no accompanying wine flight and with the exception of one very good waitress, the rest of the staff were inexperienced children. The starters of carrot soup and...tiger prawns were tasteless. The second course of parma ham was served with jarred pickled onions. Then came what was supposed to be sorbet. In my view that's not a course, it's a palate cleanser. And more disturbingly it clearly had dairy in it and was actually ice cream! Then came the main course. The broccoli and mash were fine but the duck was hideously overcooked, to the point that it was impossible to cut without a steak knife. The pudding of sticky toffee pudding was like a school dinner - a massive slab of dry, over microwaved sponge. If this tasting menu was designed to showcase the chefs' best dishes, he should seriously consider a change of career. The portions were huge and it was basically 3 courses, with a weird little cup of soup at the start and a scoop of bad ice cream between starter and main. With such poor cooking, it's no surprise that on a Saturday night in the height of summer, there were only 10 diners in total in the restaurant. The highlight was the bread and butter. Enough said.More

Date of visit: August 2021
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Reviewed 23 July 2021 via mobile

My husband and I had a breakfast last Saturday as he had an appointment nearby.. excellent service, the waiters are very helpful.. my husband had full English and I had continental, and you can have as much as you want. We walked around the surroundings...after breakfast, there’s a lake or pond which is very relaxing, there is ample outdoor parking too.More

Date of visit: June 2021
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Reviewed 22 June 2021

I think anybody would find it hard to argue with the fact that the hospitality industry has had it extremely tough over the past year, and I think most people have the greatest sympathy for those trying to run a business in this environment. However,...I also think that most realise need for anyone in that industry to ‘up their game’ now that restaurant visits are allowed again following a lengthy lockdown. I rarely write reviews, but I tend to do so when something is either outstandingly good, or outstandingly bad. Unfortunately, today’s experience was very much the latter. I decided to take my mother to Chilston Manor Hotel in Lenham for a birthday lunch. Both of my sisters were married and held receptions there, so I knew it to be a lovely place. The surroundings were still as beautiful as they always had been despite the recent lockdowns and the day’s disappointing weather. Unfortunately, the dining experience was one that I would be happy to forget. As we were seated at our table, we were asked what we wanted to drink without being offered a drinks menu, so we ordered a bottle of sparkling water and said that we would order more drinks with our meal once we had seen the wine list (which was not provided, even then). We were presented with a menu that clearly, had had little thought and frankly, made no sense at all. It may have been trying to be eclectic, but if so, failed miserably, to the point of being a below-par pub menu with a few easy-to-cook extra items thrown in from the a la carte menu. I understand that menu-planning is somewhat difficult in these strange times, and has to be planned around what will be available, but this menu was more confused than confusing. Our orders were taken, and the waitress disappeared before we had a chance to ask for the wine list again. It was extremely difficult to grab any server’s attention because they were rarely in the room, and when they were, they didn’t look at the customers. It wasn’t like the restaurant was busy – far from it – it was practically empty. Of the twenty or so tables, only three others were occupied, each with only two customers. The serving staff weren’t deliberately ignoring us, but they did do just that. They were pleasant when we spoke to them, but they didn’t seem trained to look out for customers. When I eventually managed to grab someone’s attention by raising my hand like a schoolchild, I asked to order some drinks, the waitress asked what we wanted, but I had to ask again for the wine list. Our drinks orders were taken just before the starters arrived. I had two oysters, that were perfectly acceptable. My partner had devilled eggs and my mother was given a bland cauliflower soup, with was presented without a spoon, and some bread without butter. My partner had to go and search for a spoon for my mother from the cutlery drawer because there were no staff available. When a waitress did eventually appear, we asked for butter. She reappeared with a dish just as my mother finished her soup. The butter was a lump floating in melted butter where it had clearly just been microwaved. Then came the mains. Oh dear. The mains… My partner had ordered the cold meat platter, which was three tiny morsels of charcuterie, some olives from the jar that had gone dry from being left out too long and a couple of small rolls that had been served straight from the microwave – the price of £13 seemed a bit steep for no culinary preparation and a very small amount of cold meat. My mother ordered fish and chips. Fine. They were just about passable in a ‘low-budget motel’ kind of way, but I can’t say there was anything particularly good or bad about them. I ordered a lobster roll in a brioche bun. The measly portion of over-cooked, tasteless lobster was strung out as much as possible to present itself as a thin line of meat on top of some straggly lettuce served in a solid brioche bun. When I say solid, the bun was like a brick. I so rarely send anything back to the kitchen in a restaurant but this was inedible and I felt somewhat offended that a chef could care so little about sending what was clearly an incredibly stale brioche roll out to a paying customer. So I did just that. I sent it back and explained why I was sending it back. Some time later, I was presented with a slightly less stale brioche bun and the same contents from the previous roll that had been scraped out (possibly reheated because it was so unbelievably rubbery) and slapped into the new bun. It was disgusting and I just couldn’t eat it. I did eat the tiny amount of lobster, but to be perfectly honest, I wish I hadn’t. It was the worst lobster I have ever experienced. Now, to be fair to the staff, when they asked how the food was, I did tell them that I couldn’t say that I had enjoyed it and they asked me to explain this to the manager and the head chef who both appeared separately to apologise and were perfectly pleasant. They did offer me a drink on the house, which I refused, and anything else I wanted from the menu, but my appetite had subsided by that time. I should also mention that they removed the lobster from the bill. We ordered coffee – one americano and one filter - which was delivered with one cup and we had to ask for the second. I don’t need to say any more about that. So, in summary, the experience was poor, the service was poor, the food was abysmal, and the ambience was non-existent. It is such a shame because the setting is stunning, as is the building itself. The staff we saw were polite and pleasant, but had no knowledge of the items on the menu, clearly had very little experience of serving, and also presumably little or no instruction. Just a few tweaks and this place could be amazing. A bit of staff training on service (and common sense), and an overhaul of the lunchtime kitchen staff (I do hope they are not the same team in the evening!) with a chef-designed intelligent and focused menu, and it would be a totally different experience. Perhaps even a little light background classical music to help the ambience in a quiet service? I sincerely hope that they can make some changes and pull through because if they continue in the manner I experienced today, I cannot see that they will attract favour in what is likely to be a tough time going forward for all in hospitality. It would be a true shame for such a beautiful place to fall from its previous heights.More

Date of visit: June 2021
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Reviewed 14 February 2021

Wow! We have just enjoyed a truly sumptuous meal! The scallops and bacon, with cauliflower purée and lobster sauce were exquisite. The chateaubriand, melt in the mouth. Ordering and pick up were effortless. Thank you, it has made our night! I would heavily recommend that...you try the takeaway menus on offer. We have had a few now and they have all been excellent quality and value for money. Also excellent bacon baps to take on a walk. A very contented Vic and Simon.More

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Reviewed 11 October 2020

We dined here twice when staying for a weekend - the dining room is beautiful, formally laid out but that fits the style of the building. Having said that there is nothing pretentious about it at all, the staff are knowledgeable, helpful and very friendly...and the service first class. The food is a delight, beautifully presented and very tasty, you are able to choose from a very varied menu which is both creative and pretty.More

Date of visit: October 2020
Helpful?1  
Reviewed 3 September 2020

We ate here on two consecutive nights, whilst staying for a mini break in the hotel. The dining room is lovely - very elegant and with many original features, such as the plaster work ceiling and antique musical instruments in the adjacent reading room. The...menu is a bit of an oddity - some haute cuisine flourishes, such as the slow cooked beef cheek - other dishes more at home in an upmarket pub, such as burgers and fish and chips. Everything we selected was very nicely cooked, well presented, piping hot and with good quality ingredients. We thought the appetisers were the highlight, including scallops with a broad bean hummus and a very good goats cheese souffle. Service was generally good, although with a skeleton crew it could be slow, especially when the waitress spent time engaging with other diners. Good wine selection. Expect to pay £40-50 pp with wine for a three course meal. Staff wore face masks all the time, tables were well spaced, lots of sanitiser evident.More

Date of visit: September 2020
Helpful?3  
Reviewed 20 July 2020

Myself and my partner have visited this restaurant twice now, we love it. We were served by Marc (Desseux) on our last visit and the service was outstanding. We felt very safe & the food was delicious. We even got to enjoy a glass of...wine outside before our meal. Marc had a lot of knowledge on the menu and the wine list, he was very helpful. We will be coming back! Thanks Marc!More

Date of visit: July 2020
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Reviewed 4 December 2019 via mobile

Chilston Park offers a variety of dining experiences and rooms to dine in. The main dining area is large and nicely laid out with white tablecloths and silverware which suits the character of the building. (It can sometimes be cooler but was lovely and warm...the last time we went). The food is always well presented but isn’t always up to the same standard. The serving staff are very pleasant. If you eat too much you could always have a pleasant walk around the grounds afterwards.More

Date of visit: December 2019
Helpful?1  
Reviewed 3 December 2019

This is a nice dining room, with an elegant feel. The staff are bright and friendly and are very willing to help. However, given that they have a fix menu, they had run out of the lamb, steak, etc., by 8.15pm on a Saturday night....I ended up with Chicken and my partner had the risotto; mine was fine but his was undercooked. The deserts were also poor, the custard was very thin, and the cake was gritty. We overlooked these issues as the wait staff were very good, however two tables beside us were really unhappy. In a middle-aged couple beside us, the man cried. I have never seen that in a dining room! He cried tears of distress, in front of his wife, saying to the duty manager, that that was the worst meal he had ever had. I think that that was overstating it a bit but…Oh dear, really need to do a lot better.More

Date of visit: November 2019
Helpful?1  
Reviewed 25 October 2019 via mobile

We stayed in a suite in the hotel so booked a table in the restaurant. The standard of food was not as expected and proved expensive for the food we received. Lovely hotel but we would not eat here again. Lamb was ordered pink but...when it arrived it was well done. We returned it but it was brought straight back and we were told it was braised so would not be pink. If my husband was told that when ordering he would have chosen another main. I ordered cheese as dessert which arrived icy cold rather than room temperature which meant it was tasteless so I left half of it.More

Date of visit: October 2019
Helpful?1  
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Questions & Answers
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kirben12
5 July 2016|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from ange55 | Reviewed this property |
I would say smart casual , some people very dressed up but others casual , hope this isn't too late, sorry haven't been on here for a while , great place , you will love it .
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kate H
18 May 2016|
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Response from gill_durkin | Reviewed this property |
Available on their website.
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Kevin D
12 April 2015|
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Response from Rhinefield-GM | Property representative |
Dear Guest Thank you for your query. The dress code is smart casual with no shorts or training shoes. Best wishes Gareth
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Frequently Asked Questions about Culpeper's Restaurant @ Chilston Park Hotel

Culpeper's Restaurant @ Chilston Park Hotel is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 3.5
  • Atmosphere: 4