Many would regard Hotel TerraVina as a chic restaurant with luxury rooms in the New Forest. Since it was featured in The Times and won the Rémy Martin Restaurant Award 2009 for the South East of England, we were very excited to get the opportunity to eat there while staying at the hotel. Located on the ground floor one side of the restaurant opens out onto a wonderful veranda for al fresco breakfast, lunch or early dinners when the weather is warm. They use fresh, free-range and organic produce from local New Forest suppliers, wherever possible, cooked with distinctive flavours. As you might expect, wine is always a key element of dining at Hotel TerraVina and their sommeliers will advise on the most appropriate wines to compliment your food choices.
On our visit to the restaurant, General Manager Chris introduced us to Tanguy who was a font of knowledge where wine is concerned. After an aperitif of Cuvée Intense Brut, Cotes des Blanc, in the intimate bar area, we were escorted by Chris to the open kitchen dining room. This is a relatively new fine dining restaurant and you can choose from “a le carte” or, on certain days, a nine or twelve course tasting menu – which has to be pre-booked in advance and make sure you have a healthy appetite on that day!
Our eyes glanced over the choices on the menu and I chose for my first course the Lyonnaise tart, topped with caramelised onions, glazed walnuts, Rosary goats cheese and frisée. This was an extremely tasty starter and very light. His Lordship decide on an unusual pumpkin veloute which consisted of Crown Prince pumpkin veloute, mushroom arancini, marinated mushrooms and toasted pumpkin seed, being a velvety winter comfort food. With this, Tanguy recommended Gros Manseng, Domaine des Cassagnole, Cote de Gascognes 2012, which is a dry wine with an appealing floral aroma, high acidity and spiced apricot fruit flavour. One could tell from the taste of the food with the excellent wine Tanguy was going make this an extremely pleasurable experienced, enhanced by the wines he was about to select.
We then had queen scallops cooked with pine nuts, garlic, coriander, chilli, breadcrumbs and crimson radish which was tantalizing on the palate, this surprise dish having been selected for us by the Chef. To accompany this was a Riesling, Rudesheimer, Berg Schlossberg, Leitz Weingut, Rheingau 2012. The bouquet is a fusion of apple aromas with elderflowers and grated lemon rind. There is also a touch of cinnamon, some jasmine and pear, peach scent and slightly nutty accents. With its elegant taste and dry, herbal accents, this smooth wine lingers on the palate and is excellent with the scallops.
For the main course, I chose partridge; roasted breast and confit leg of Hampshire partridge with pancetta, pomme Anna, crushed celeriac and quince. This had complex flavours and was so enjoyable to eat. With this, a Pinot Noir, Anton Bauer, Wagram 2011 which had rich and full-bodied white wines with a characteristic creamy texture and complemented the partridge beautifully. His Lordship went for braised shoulder of venison, seared loin and faggot, chestnut purée with confit red cabbage with creamy mash potatoes. This was a succulent combination with a delicate quality. The wine to accompany this was Sangiovese, Cellar Reserve, Barossa Valley 2007, being rather forward and meaty with an authentic, evolved nose, spicy and savoury palate with excellent intensity, flavour and style.
Did we have room for desserts? Yes we did! It would have been a real shame to finish the excellent fare without doing justice to the selection on offer. I decided on the blackcurrant soufflé which takes up to 15 minutes cooking time and this gave a period to rest and digest before the desserts arrived. It was worth every second that one waited for the blackcurrant soufflé accompanied with apple ice-cream melted on one’s tongue. Tanguy arrived with a Licor de Tannat, Familia Deicas, Canelones 2010, a fortified wine from Uruguay which is very rich, deep, dry, dark, complex and rustic taste.
A selection of Hampshire cheese was more to His Lordship’s taste. Instead of his usual port, he was brought two Madeiras to try, one medium dry, five year old Madeira from D’Oliveiras, known for caramelised, rich, lemony, medium to high acidity wines with their fascinating complexity and incredibly long finishes like liquid sunshine. His Lordship also tried the D’Oliveiras, Malvasia, Colheita 1990 Madeira which was a dark tawny colour and which was wonderful stuff – extraordinarily rich and intense. The very different Madeiras completed the distinct tastes of the cheeses.
All the produce is freshly sourced from Hampshire and Dorset region then lovingly prepared in the open kitchen by chef Chris and his dedicated team, you could not ask for fresher food. You could not fault Tanguy the sommelier’s choice of well matched wines which made our dining experience most enjoyable. Asking Tanguy lots of questions, it was obvious not only was his knowledge of wines amazing it was also a passion, a passion which one felt compelled to indulge in.
After dinner, Tanguy took us on a tour of the wine cellars which has rows of cool brick arches with shelves housing numerous wines from every country one could possibly think of. If one wanted a special meal with an amazing abundance of unique wine choices hidden away in the New Forest, this is a restaurant not to be missed. Hotel Terravina is renowned for its extensive and comprehensive wine cellar, just for this it’s worth the journey into the New Forest, believe me.
174 Woodlands Road
Southhampton SO40 7GL