Pleasant and snug village restaurant serving 5, 7 or 8 course modern tasting menus at lunch or dinner
As I was travelling nearby at lunchtime, this was the perfect stop off to jump in to try and is virtually equadistant to Swindon, Tidworth, Andover and Upavon if you happen to have work stations near these locations. It is a refurbished Inn and caters very well for notable lunches and dinners alike for the surrounding villages and areas but the chances are you will need either a generous friend to drive or an advance-booked taxi, owing to its slightly out of the way location. Once there, I found this to be a very hospitable venue with warm service and with some perfectly sastisfying food; it’s forté was perhaps not over-complicating and I enjoyed elements of its presentation. A very safe bet location and well worth dropping by if near.
Little nibbles at the start of the meal came in the form of olives in a mini jar and these were as one would expect, nice and fresh albeit simplistic. More interestingly was what appeared to be a ration pack of spam or dried corned beef – something I am very used to seeing and otherwise known as Menu ‘B'(!) when in the field. Thankfully this was not the usual splat of dried out meat that has the added bonus of giving 100% guarantee of constipation; this was a piece of Tuna Nicoise with black olives which was fresh and with pleasantly warmed sour bread but was just a little awkward to eat in the shape of the tin, fun as it was to see.
Next up as the main was red mullet with carrot purée, pea purée and sea salt peniwort leaves, the latter being bitter sea leaves which balanced the sweet and absolutely lovely, fresh fish. I also loved the way the carrot puree was slightly curried to make more interesting and yet all the surrounding components didn’t overshadow the straight forward beauty of the fish. This was also actually more pleasant to eat than the red mullet had in 3 Michelin starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester as the former wasn’t trying to be too modern and forgetting the final flavour.
Quail was next and this was served with a wonderfully soft and creamy celeriac purée and plenty of quail which was cracking to see with a rich, game jus. Some very good doses of just what you want here but personally I prefer the skin on game like this to be to be crunchier than how it inevitably has to be when pot roasted, but the dish in itself was a pleasant combination nonetheless.
This was followed by what I can only guess is a chef’s favourite and long-standing design of the ‘egg and soldier’. It was obviously not that and was a smooth meringe as the egg white with mango curd inside to replicate the yolk. I was worried at first that the mango yolk was going to be too sickly sweet, but thankfully this was toned down sufficiently. Petit fours of rum cake coffee cream, chocolate mouse praline, fudge, clementine parfait and white chocolate and passion fruit mousse with pink macaroon. All these were of relative satisfaction but the alcoholic cherries were far too drenched making the sour tones overpower the mousse.
All in all, this was a pleasant meal and in a homely setting that had simple and neat presentation.
Food Grade: 74%
Location (Click google logo for directions)