Nestled into the 543 acre country estate that makes up Brocket Hall’s former hunting lodge, we sat gazing over the lake distractedly, rather than choosing from the new table d’hôte menu.

Thankfully Auberge du Lac kick-started our evening of elegance with an amuse-bouche, one with avocado on fine crisp crackers and the other a small serving of circular ham flavoured with drops of rich sauce.

The restaurant recently had a complete relaunch, all led by Paul Hackett, Auberge du Lac’s original executive chef from 1996. This role has seen him hand-pick a brand-new team for the restaurant, including head chef Matthew Edmonds, and restaurant manager Guillaume Pages.

The table d’hôte menu has individually selected wine pairing (£39 without) and so moments before our first course came we were presented our individual white wines. To start I had the saddle back pork fritter with apple, primrose and Douglas fir pine. The fritters were heavy for their small size, but this was beautifully balanced with slithers of sweet apple. My wine, crisp and boasting hints of apple, matched spectacularly, giving way to a sumptuous concoction of both flavour and texture.

My partner went for the torched back mackerel with pickled belly, lemon, radish and dill – however he asked for the mackerel to be cooked through as he is a little fussy about his fish. His was a much smaller and lighter starter, but he assured me it was delicious nonetheless and simply asked for more of their sour dough bread. By this point I have to reveal he had eaten a lot of bread but, unknowingly to either of us, this would turn out to be a smart choice.

We were then brought a palate cleanser, mine was salmon based and his was cauliflower in response to his previous requests over the fish in the starter, a nice touch for the restaurant to take notice of independently.

For the main we were both poured our wines, red this time, which again turned out to be impeccably paired. I was then presented with my guinea fowl and red cabbage, marmalade, puffed barley and bread sauce. The guinea fowl was served two ways to give a more varied texture to the dish. It was wonderfully cooked, lavishly soft.

My other half went for the vegetarian option of roasted artichoke with watercress, pickled mustard seed and brioche crumb. After trying a little myself we were in agreement that it was the best dish of the night. Unfortunately, mine was more than I could finish and his could have been twice the size. “It is a good thing I ate all that bread,” he muttered to me after wolfing his food down in a few easy bites.

We then returned to the menu to choose our final course, at which time we were brought a fruity palate cleanser with a lemon base and meringue topping to prepare us for the sweet to come. As a lover of lemon desserts I was delighted with the choice.

I then chose the spiced pineapple with frangipane, coconut ice-cream and lime, while he chose the beurre noisette parfait with blood orange and chocolate. Mine was light with the spiced pineapple offering a deep sweetness, while his was rich but succulent – much needed after his light main course.

The only other option would have been a selection of French and British cheeses which are brought to you to choose from along with all the usual trimmings.

This was not accompanied with wine, nor were we offered another drink. We were of, course, offered coffee at the end.

Still not yet done, we are then presented with macarons and swirled chocolate balls.

I have struggled to make up my mind on Auberge du Lac, despite many a restaurant review under my belt. Where the food was light the serving was small and were the food was heavy the serving followed suit.

The staff were attentive and dutiful but the evening lacked any atmosphere, perhaps due to limited seating and it being a quiet Wednesday night.

I am left feeling that many aspects of our evening, despite being unmistakeably elegant, failed to hit the spot and so I will air on the side of positivity with three stars…

Auberge du Lac, Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, AL8 7XG. Details: 01707 368888

By Mattie Lacey-Davidson