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“An oasis of charm in Bedford”
Review of St Helena

St Helena
Ranked #2 of 440 Restaurants in Bedford
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$62 - US$62
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, After-hours, Dinner, Delivery, Reservations
Description: Ideal For romantic dinner,Special Occasions,Bussiness lunches or just a Night out. £45 is for a 5 course fine dining dinner menu
Reviewed 25 June 2014

I always liked to eat at restaurants that were in the good food guide as it was always a true guide to finding 'good food'. Never used the michelin guide as I was searching for 'good food' not stars.
So despite hearing good things about St Helena from many people in Bedford I never went as it wasn't in the guide.
Well to be frank that is a missed opportunity for anyone who reads those guides.
I came here for my wedding anniversary on a warm saturday night. On arriving it reminded me of Le Manoir. I know it is not as grand but maybe this is Le petit Manoir a Bedford ! excuse my french. I think Raff et al are Italian but La Picola Casa doesn't have the same feel.
Had originally booked an early table but changed to later which was a pity as the gardens which befall you when you arrive were quite beautiful and it would have been nice to enjoy them.
The food:
A chef's appetiser of pea and elderflower was very good as it refreshed the taste buds followed by some excellent little home made breads.
I had a starter of scallops with a curry emulsion. The scallops were cooked perfectly, melting in the middle but with a lovely caramelised crust. She had a smoked salmon scotch egg with beetroot texture which was very good.
My main was turbot with courgettes and a vanilla sauce, forgetting the later made for an interesting meal as it took a while to work out the flavour, however the mix of all the ingredients together was superb. She had a beautifully cooked piece of beef fillet with some excellent triple cooked chips on the side.
The desserts were sublime. A refreshing, cooling zingy gooseberry ensemble for her while I had a chocolate delice with coffee ice cream and toasted hazlenuts that was just brilliant.
Followed by good coffee and petit fours. Had a superb prosecco with the meal.

All in all an excellent place. Pricey but worth it: just a shame they don't do a cheaper lunch menu.
My only small negatives would be that the service could be a bit more polished, though Raff is an effortlessly charming host. I prefer to have one person looking after you. At one point four people wanted to top up our wine in as few minutes. And give the conservatory roof a little polish.
Almost forgot and to top it all a very cute Maltese dog almost came home with us.

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3  Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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426 - 430 of 768 reviews

Reviewed 20 June 2014 via mobile

...unfortunately we're only managing every few months

But what a treat is served up everytime we dine here

Last night was no exception

The food and service was as sensational as ever, we ate: a goats cheese mousse, smoked salmon scotch egg, fillet steak and luxurious puds

We drank lovely gin and tonics with elder flower, a 2003 bottle of haut medoc, espresso martinis and brandys

Raf then plied us with prosecco and his homemade plum liqueur

To say we were merry on the way home would be an understatement!

Recently ate at Petrus in London which is 1* Michelin and was nice - St Helenas beats it on every level

2  Thank MJH1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

The moment you walk through the gates at St. Helena's you are made to feel special. Browsing the delights on the menu whilst sipping Champagne in the beautifully secluded garden starts off the evening perfectly. The Staff are very attentive and Raff and Frank are the perfect hosts. When it finally comes to the food well what can I say, simply stunning. A truly exquisite experience with wonderful flavour combinations. The sheer elegance of each dish presented to you shows the outstanding quality and the taste is just sublime. This was my first visit and I shall definitely be back. I'm kicking myself for not visiting before..clearly my loss! An absolutely amazing dining experience made special by Great Hosts and a brilliant Chef. Thank you. Debs

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2  Thank DWToggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

I have a confession to make. I have lived in Bedford and surrounding area for nearly 40 years, but have never visited this restaurant. I always thought it was too pretentious and the staff were obsequious. Well maybe they can be if people want that, but we were treated as we wanted to be - politely but with no fawning. Oh, and while we are talking about staff, getting them to fold peoples' napkins when they leave them on the table to nip to the loo - that is not very hygienic for the staff, is it? Minus a point there. I digress. I booked a table for five on a Thursday evening to celebrate a Special Birthday. I had mentioned it when booking, but forgot to say on arrival. Someone had remembered though, because one of the many members of staff who looked after us asked some subtle questions (bit too subtle - she was treated to quite a discourse about the day's events...) to ascertain whose birthday it was and what age they were. I have to admit that I was attracted by the whole "Professional Masterchef Finalist" thing, because the food on the show always looks like the sort of stuff I would like to eat, but not to cook. Apart from foam. I do not like the look of foam. Anyway, we ordered and then the waitress brought us freshly baked bread (wild garlic) and rolls. Then the Chef's appetiser, which was tomato, but not as you know it. Then we had the courses we had ordered (and unlike my expectations, they were a decent size), then tea/coffee and petit fours. Complete with a "happy **th birthday" iced one for my husband. So all in all a great experience. We were in the conservatory which was lovely, on a round table. For what it was I thought it was good value for money, and a really lovely experience. I would have emailed the restaurant direct, but cannot find an email address on their website. So - if you are listening St Helena - keep up the good work, and thanks!

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1  Thank sootysmith13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014

From start to finish the atmosphere was warm and friendly with a family run feeling. This is a very high class restaurant but with an ambience that put us at our ease. Posh but not pretentious. The food is highly recommended and we were feeling nicely full at the end of the meal. We were made to feel that our visit was a personal thing for the restaurateur and the arreverderci seemed genuine.

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1  Thank andyayres8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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