Chewton Glen, New Forest
For the last couple of years, BW has had a non-human work schedule that consisted of 14-hour days (7:30am-9:30pm), and a superfood diet of cigarettes and coffee. Naturally, this lifestyle would be the root of many arguments between the two of us. I would complain that he never takes me out anywhere (apart from the all the blogging that we do hahaha), and he would justify it by saying he’s doing all of this for me (and no doubt, that supercar he’s always wanted). A sweet thought, but not viable in the long term.
After months of nagging, he has been making more of an effort to cut back on the work and spend more time with his lovely little wife. A couple of weekends ago, for example, we headed down to New Forest for the weekend and naturally made some time to check out some halal eateries on the way. After a very quick stopover for burgers in Southampton, we drove just a little bit further and settled into our hotel.
I had called Chewton Glen a week prior to our visit to find out about their halal options, and was delighted to hear that they were able to accommodate our request. You could pre-order (48 hours in advance) halal for both the lamb and the beef options on the menu (the chicken is always halal), and so I opted for the lamb loin, whilst BW stuck to a classic steak. When we were seated, the waiter informed us that although they were not a halal kitchen, they would ensure that there would be no cross contamination with non-halal items.
Once seated, I gave the room a quick scan and noticed that the crowd were generally those of an older generation, plus a few young couples (us included). It was exactly the kind of place I was looking for for our weekend getaway: quiet, romantic, and pretty!
Bright green asparagus stalks that had been blanched, topped with a small, fried duck egg, and sprinkled with sourdough truffle breadcrumbs. The bright orange and creamy egg yolk deliciously burst all over the asparagus, and contrasted great with the truffle breadcrumbs.
I was instantly jealous when BW ordered this, and when it came, it looked so rich and truffle-y. However, it seemed to be quite watery and it was hard to detect any truffle, which was a shame. It did taste good but I would have preferred the soup to have more body (think cream of mushroom soup) with a strong essence of that familiar truffle pungency.
A medium cooked lamb loin that lay upon a bed of polenta, and was served with a rich black garlic jus and sweet shallots. The lamb was a little more cooked than I had ordered, but it was still soft and delightfully tender, and had a simple but tasty flavour. The polenta was creamy, rich, and buttery, adding a nice sense of comfort to the overall dish, and the vegetables were fresh and crisp.
I have to say that although this steak looked promising, I was disappointed at what had been served. I’m not sure if it was because BW asked for medium-well, but I was slightly surprised at the quality of the steak. It was slightly tough, wasn’t tender in the slightest, and the accompanying peppercorn sauce did not add much to the steak either. The chips were decent as was the stuffed mushroom.
One of the best and most indulgent desserts I’ve had in a long time. A creamy, golden honeycomb parfait (a combination of cream, sugar, and eggs) that lay on a chocolate splodge, and was served with crunchy honeycomb pieces. Each bite of the silky, sweet parfait just melted in my mouth (and went straight to my thighs) and complemented the toffee honeycomb well, with the slightly bitter chocolate sauce helping to cut through all the sweetness. Even BW (an avid dessert hater) enjoyed more than his fair share of this iced parfait.
The total bill amounted to approximately £120, including drinks and service, so £60 each. It was on the expensive side of what you would usually pay for dinner, and would be reserved for a special occasion or just a splurge. Was it worth the price tag? Well, the food was good (that parfait) but was not incredible and some dishes were a miss (the steak!). Having said that, the service was fantastic and attentive, and the atmosphere was intimate and romantic.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay a night at the hotel as they did not have availability that evening (we tried to book a night before), but have heard great reviews regarding their super romantic Tree Houses, so if you are planning a nice anniversary for the wife, this would be the ideal weekend away!