Page 28 - Enjoy the South 2016
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AN EXCEPTIONAL HOTEL WITH EXCEPTIONAL DINING
This 11-bedroom boutique hotel is on the edge of the New Forest, literally five minutes from the M27, and access from south London can be as easy as it is from Poole.
As the varied bookings suggest, guests include wine enthusiasts after a close encounter with the world’s most eminent sommelier and hotel owner Gerard Basset, couples in need of some much needed R and R, as well as foodies after a gastro-stay under the culinary care
of head chef Gavin Barnes, and most recently those interested in learning more about wines and indeed cookery skills. Gavin has opened his kitchens up to those who want to know how to make a sublime soufflé – a stunning starter or a delicate dessert, more of that later.
As a repeat guest, one will recognise many of the faces in the TerraVina ‘extended family’. There are some new faces too – as you can imagine staff of this calibre are in high demand industry-wide so some inevitably are lured away, but they do like to come back and Gavin says of his team of eight: “We are back to the original kitchen complement of three years ago – a couple of my team went travelling and exploring other restaurants and are back with us again, the grass isn’t always greener, and it’s an interesting time for hospitality businesses, costs are going up as a lot of UK meat is being exported thanks to the exchange rate, and we have to continue to keep our costs competitive and provide the highest standard of dining that we can.
“We are going more and more organic these days, and as the base menu stays constant I will buy creatively as my by butcher, fishmonger and the markets dictate.”
The menu in the California Wine Country Restaurant is, as ever, really exciting; roasted quail, carrot, and carrot purée with natural yoghurt and flamed gem lettuce – a tactile dish bursting with gamey and earthy flavours. Another starter, bursting with colour this time, is the salad of Hampshire beetroot with local goat’s cheese, walnuts, eight-year aged balsamic and a horseradish sorbet – quite a picture and again earthy and hinting at that organic stance.
The roasted lamb comes with sweet breads, onion soubise, spring vegetables, and spinach – pink and tender – just stunning.
The black ink risotto with clams, keta, and roasted baby onions, one of the base dishes, will be served with the ‘meaty’ fish of the day and on our visit that was wing of skate.
Portions are generous and the menu also lends itself to
a tasting menu thanks to its variety. A great choice when paired with a wine flight.
Meanwhile, it would be foolish to hear of Gavin’s ‘Soufflé School’ without a taste – a blueberry soufflé and lemon sorbet, light, airy, and short lived for two reasons: 1/ dig in before it collapses and 2/ ...irresistible! Paired with Garnatxa Negra, Equinox, Batea, Terra Alta, Catalonia 2013 – just bliss!
Where does Gavin get his inspiration from – he says he makes himself aware of what’s going on ‘out there’. He
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