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, New Milton,
Over the years, Chewton Glen has evolved and expanded from a traditional country house retreat into a small resort – and the food side of things is showing signs of a full-strength comeback after a period in the doldrums. Done out like a swanky conservatory with pale furniture, big windows and splashes of greenery, The Dining Room exudes confidence and casual excellence, helped along by “fabulous attentive staff”. The menu brings together influences from far and wide, although everything depends on impeccable ingredients (many from the hotel’s kitchen garden): tuna tataki with avocado purée, Thai lobster curry and Cornish turbot with chicken wings, aubergine and miso dressing share the bill with slow-cooked ox cheek or Quantock duck breast accompanied by sweet potato, sprouting broccoli and heritage carrots. Oysters, salads, grills and roasts from the trolley also feature, while dessert might offer chocolate fondant with Calvados ice cream or pineapple and black pepper tarte Tatin – all backed by a truly monumental wine list. Meanwhile, a casual restaurant/cookery school, The Kitchen, is helping to raise Chewton Glen’s foodie profile even higher.
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, New Milton
New Milton Station 1km
Hinton Admiral Station 2km
Hoburne Park 3km
Hoburne Bashley 3km
Mon-Sun 12N-2pm 6-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
The Chewton Glen makes a fine first impression, with first glimpses through the large and exceptional grounds and an impeccably manicured precinct. The walk through the hotel to the dining room is classy and raises expectations- it probably beats anything I've seen apart from Fera at Claridges and the Ritz at Christmas time. It was our first visit, accompanying friends and we were given a warm welcome and shown to a comfortable table in a restaurant that was possibly 80% empty at 1pm.
We all chose variations on their 3 course set lunch, and the only difficulty we had was for me trying to manage, read and digest a wine list of well over a thousand entries in a volume that made me think of choosing wallpaper. Its not really necessary to have a list so numerous, and indeed for me it was counter productive, for after ten minutes of ignoring our fellow guests we eventually settled for wines by the glass for the simple reason that the selection was manageable.
Our first course were delivered very quickly and were praised by all of us. The mains were a different story for me at least , though I should say that our colleague, never one to complain, was given a steak, ordered medium, which seemed to display no pink at all. My sea-trout , with a lobster bisque and seafood risotto, was an odd affair with the pink fish covered by an orange foam, all sitting on a risotto that I felt was stodgy. This dish was edible though not particularly tasty or pleasant. Both ladies enjoyed their pork belly and cheeks. At this point it had become clear that whilst this kitchen is able to produce good dishes, it also seems capable of sending out food that doesn't meet the highest standards. 75 minutes after the main courses were delivered, our desserts had not made an appearance and the restaurant was now busy with parties. There was an extended period before our mains were cleared and then nothing till I chased. The desserts were not complex- pretty much simple assembly tasks rather than complex cooking. In each of my three courses there was a flavour- maybe a herb- that seemed to jar with the essential flavours of the dish.
We had coffee in a sitting room and when the bill arrived it was clear that all our food had not been included, leaving the bill about £120 short. Naturally we had this put right.
There was much about Chewton Glen that we liked, though quite a lot of that was "hotel" things rather than "restaurant" things. The food I had today was not top class and I might feel tempted to stay there but, on this evidence, to eat somewhere else, and competition in this area is I'd say, as tough as anywhere outside central London. It's a pity that a restaurant that is capable of sending out 8/10 food fails to hit that level consistently and at the same time allowed service to fall from good to verging on unacceptable. Was it, I wondered whether they were simply unable to cope with a late influx of customers? And if so then why were they not suitably prepared? Its not like parties of a dozen or so walk in off the street.
Food + drink: 4
Firstly I need to get this out of the way – Chewton Glen did let us down slightly in that they had extensive work happening at the time of our visit and did not really take pains to cover this up (even telling us it was pretty much finished when it very much was not)… initially I was met with a rather sniffy response when I pointed out that I didn't want to have a view of a half complete room full of sawdust and nails but I was speaking to the wrong person (the sniffy person was responsible for showing guests to their table but fortunately we didn't encounter her again). Ludo, the restauarant manager, took over the reigns and from then on it all went perfectly, My review is based on this…
Chewton Glen is very expensive, there is not really any getting away from it but I do think you get value for money. The restaurant (usually) is light and airy and a very comfortable place to sit and put the world to rights. The food is exceptional but I take the point of a previous reviewer who noted that they had lost their star. They will need to work to get this back, particularly if they want to continue to charge premium prices.
A note on the cheeseboard, we spent hours over this..all were British cheese and a delight. Ludo took the time to introduce every single cheese and his knowledge seemed extremely thorough, although we were told by Drew, one of the sommeliers, that there was another even more knowledgable member of staff. Personally I love cheese and love learning about cheese…just my little thing but I was impressed.
The wine list was extensive and there were some decent wines that weren't too overpriced, but they are few and the wine list does hike significantly, so take your platinum Amex…!!!
I still love Chewton Glen, despite my absolute mirth at the horrific state I initially found the restaurant in, I was able to see the funny side and free glasses of champagne aided my composure! All should be back to normal and I do encourage a visit…
I had the pleasure of dining at the hotel this summer; it was an absolute delight the service was fantastic, the attention to deal is incredible and the food delicious. It is no wonder this is one of the finest hotels in the country.
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