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Delicious Auberge du Lac. Hertfordshire

16/08/2023 by .
Auberge du Lac

Natasha Blair samples Auberge du Lac, a restaurant set in magical surroundings and a chef with aspirations of a Michelin star.

Auberge du Lac, the fine dining restaurant in the grounds of Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire reopened in April with Chef John Barber at its helm.

Originally the Hunting Lodge, Auberge du Lac is the sort of restaurant you might choose if looking for a romantic meal. Surrounded by grounds created with inspiration from 18th century landscape designer, Capability Brown, as the name suggests, the restaurant overlooks a lake surrounded by manicured parkland.

Weather permitting the tables on the terrace are covered with white linen so diners can sit outside and get the full benefit of the beautiful vista. While I was there, Canadian geese relaxed on the grassy verge, a few feet from the restaurant’s terrace, perhaps hoping for the odd titbit!

Auberge du Lac

John specialises in sustainable, seasonal food to enhance his modern British style of cooking and is able to do this with the assistance of kitchen gardener Lucy Hawkins. Still in its embryonic stage, Lucy has transformed a one-acre site near the lodge into a fertile vegetable and flower garden with the aim of supplying the Auberge with fresh produce year-round.

As well as the à la carte, there are also Tasting, Set, and Specials menus, the latter allowing John to introduce additional seasonal dishes.

Alongside my seven-course tasting menu (£85) there was a wine suggestion to go with each course, an extra £45. It may be worthwhile considering not driving, although there is a carpark!

Auberge du Lac

All diners, which-ever menu they choose, start with an Amuse Bouche or here called a Welcome Snack. Ours included diced fresh salmon decorated with edible flowers, and served in a tartlet, and goat’s cheese on a crispbread topped with beetroot, and decorated with a tiny green leaf.

Where-ever possible, everything is made on site including the bread and butter. The type of bread varies, ours was potato and rosemary, served warm in a little pan. While deliciously moreish, it wasn’t needed as my starter of duck liver parfait with peach chutney came with a mini brioche.

Auberge du Lac

From the à la carte, my dining partner chose the Orkney scallop which was worth ordering just for its picturesque presentation (£18). Cut in half, the scallop was served with an XO kohlrabi sauce and fermented chili. John’s training as a chef included many years in every section of the kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel which is reflected in some of the dishes pan-Asian touches as with this dish.


Fillet of brill, crispy skin side up arrived cooked in a chicken infused butter sauce with a lemon confit in which were baby clams, and tiny Scottish girolles.

lamb canon

My main dish cannon of lamb in a basil jus came as ordered, not too well done but neither to rare. It was accompanied by a tomato confit, black olive tapenade and courgette puree with a crispy, potato rosti on the side.

My companion’s steak, three slices of seared aged sirloin cooked with carrot and black garlic in a bordelaise sauce was accompanied with balls of crispy mashed potatoes topped with a wasabi mayonnaise (£34).

ice cream sandwich

There were two desserts on my tasting menu. The first, a palate cleanser, replacing the traditional sorbet – an ice-cream sandwich made up of two almond tuille biscuits encasing lemon ice cream on a white chocolate base that was topped with lemon curd. The actual dessert was a caramel tart or rather a wedge of soft caramel which when tasted brought back memories of eating a toffee. The tart, topped with crispy honey coated puffed rice, was served with hazelnut milk ice-cream surrounded by dark crunchie chocolate crumbs.

Fortunately, the sun came out as we finished our delicious meal, and a selection of petit fours and coffee was served on the outside terrace. Definitely, the sort of meal to be lingered over.

Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall e1691427837252

If choosing the tasting menu, John assured me that if a course doesn’t appeal, it can be changed.

Roasts, with all the trimmings, are served for Sunday lunch which tends to be a family day. The starters and desserts remain the same as on the other days sometimes with the addition of a Baked Alaska. £65 for three courses and a Welcome Snack.

John has great plans for the Auberge since its relaunch in mid-April and is already looking forward to extending the number of opening days. He intends for the restaurant to become a ‘must visit’ destination, with plans to introduce a Chef’s Table in the kitchen, and high hopes of a Michelin Star in the future.

John is an Ambassador for “The Burnt Chef’ project which helps people in the hospitality industry with mental health issues. To support this, an optional discretionary £1 donation is added to the bill.

.Brocket Hall

Within the grounds, Brocket Hall has two eighteen-hole golf courses, and on the raised bank on the far side of the lake golfers can often be seen on the 18th hole of the par 72 Melbourne Course.

The hunting lodge is built on a slope so that diners when entering the lodge need to walk down a level. The room has a cosy feel as sectioned in two. Floors above have rooms of varying size which are used for private parties.

Tell Me More About Auberge Du Lac

 Auberge Du Lac at Brocket Hall, Welwyn, Hertfordshire AL8 7XG

T: 01707 368700  Reservations via the website

Open Thursday to Saturday for lunch from noon to 2.30pm last orders, and dinner from 6pm to 9pm last orders with a choice of menus – a 7-course Tasting £85 + wine flight £45, à la carte, Set £39, and Specials.

Open Sunday lunch for a 3 course Roast from noon to 3pm last orders £65.


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