Niall Keating cooks edgy, Asian influenced food in one of the Cotswolds’ most vaunted country house hotels
Niall Keating took on this Cotswolds country house hotel aged 25, taking over from two Michelin-star chef Martin Burge. That’s very young indeed for such a high profile position, but Keating has a world class cooking CV that includes time with Sat Bains, and with Korean-American chef Corey Lee at Benu in San Francisco.
Shortly after taking over he was named European Chef of the Year by the Michelin Guide, cementing his status as a young chef to watch. Keating oversees a number of restaurants at Whatley but the flagship is The Dining Room, which offers a single £120 tasting menu (vegetarian and vegan options are available).
The meal is heavily influenced by Asia and starts in Keating’s top-of-the-line and rather space age-looking kitchen with a selection of snacks, including pomelo marinated in chilli and lime; tempura eel with perilla; and a melon fresca dotted with caviar oil.
Dishes served in The Dining Room itself include Perigord truffle custard garnished with gold leaf (a take on chawanmushi); risotto laced with a powerful chorizo purée that’s topped with raw scallop; a xiaolongbao-like tortellini dish in pork fat sauce; and salmon paired with yeast buerre blanc.
The space has a traditional feel that’s somewhat at odds with Keating’s modern approach, but young, clued-up staff and a wine list that balances the classic with the hip gives the restaurant an extra bit of edge.