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Chiltern Firehouse… to Hartwell Café!

Hartwell House café has upped its game, with a Chiltern Firehouse chef joining the team and brunch, lunch and afteroon tea all on the menu.


Just outside Aylesbury in mid Bucks you find the stunning National-Trust owned hotel Hartwell House (useless fact – I had an incredibly 40th birthday here!), the Jacobean mansion that King Louis XVIII, the exiled King of France made his home for five years between 1808 and 1814.

In the stable block is the spa (accessed in the right corner where the sign is), plus the newly revamped cafe on the first floor, where ex Chiltern Firehouse chef Alexandra is busy creating masterful eggs benedicts, pancakes (mmmm, pancakes), salads, sliders, meaty mains and afternoon teas, not only for hotel and gym guests and also members of the gen-pub. Result!


It’s quiet and refined – you ain’t coming here for the bustling vibe and hip music, you’re here to unwind off the beaten track, and have some peace and quiet (*sobs quietly*). There are lovely views of the palladian pool below or there’s a very pretty balcony overlooking the stables courtyard that would be perfect in summer.


This cafe has been around for eons, but it has definitely upped its remit, and is now open for brunch, lunch and afternoon teas, not only for hotel guests and gym members but the great unwashed (by which I mean me), and lovely chef Alexandra has been drafted in to give the food a bit of a zsuzh. I’m very fussy about my eggs benedict – it has been my go-to treat brunch since the 90s (what can I say, I’m a creature of habit), but it hit the spot perfectly. There’s an alcohol license if you want to fizz it too, plus pastries on the bar.


You can wander around Hartwell House if you have dined at the café, and whilst the delights of Aylesbury are, shall we say, um, limited, there is Aylesbury Waterside about 10 minutes away and Wendover Woods (pictured) another 15 mins on top of that.

The cafe verandah


The view down onto the swimming pool

Good for: A classy alternative to the chain cafés that proliferate Aylesbury. Also perfect for meetings, as it’s a sedate, grown-up atmosphere and service is discreet, or as a gastro treat before or after a spa treatment.

Not for: Anyone wanting a trendy, buzzy, bustling space, that’s not the remit here. Anyone under 6 years old, they’re not on the guest list!

££: Reasonable for a posh hotel. Eggs benedict and most brekky bits £8; mains £10-13 , salads £8-13 and desserts a bit more pricy at £7.

Hartwell House, Hartwell, Vale of Aylesbury, Bucks, HP17 8NR. Tel: 01296 747444.



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